Ingredients (serves 10): 8 large egg whites 16oz/450g caster sugar 3oz/75g toasted crushed hazelnuts 1 teaspoon of cornflour 1 teaspoon of vinegar ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract
To garnish: Lemon Curd Freshly whipped cream 10-12 strawberries
Method: -Preheat the oven to 130C/250F/Gas Mark ½ -Choose a large spotlessly clean mixing bowl. -Put the egg whites into the mixing bowl and beat them vigorously until they are stiffly beaten. If you were to turn the bowl upside down the eggs would not come out of the bowl and this is a good indication of the different stages that can be achieved. Be careful if case they do come out of the bowl!! -Reduce the speed of the mixer and add the sugar bit by bit until it is all incorporated. It is important to beat well between each addition of sugar. -At this stage you need to turn off the mixer and add in the vanilla extract, cornflour and vinegar and then return the mixer to full speed for 50-60 seconds. Quickly add in the hazelnuts at the end. -Using a piping bag pipe the meringue mixture into 6 or 8 shells onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Place in the oven and after 15 minutes reduce the heat to 110C/225F/Gas Mark ¼ for a further 45 minutes or until the edge of the meringue feels crisp to the touch but the centre will still be quite soft. -Allow to cool completely (preferably overnight) and then decorate with freshly whipped cream mixed with lemon curd and halved strawberries
Notes: -For those who are calorie conscious, Edward says this has a lower quantity of fat than many other deserts (once you go easy on the cream). -Leftover meringue nests can be mashed up into a bowl with some whipped cream and sliced strawberries and piled into a fancy glass and served as the quintessentially English "Eton Mess". -Instead of piping this mixture out into meringues you could also just spread it into a circular shape and make one large pavlova. No need to vary the cooking time.