A dead simple delicious dessert for all festive occasions that is always a crowd pleaser and easier to make than a Pavlova: Make the meringues a day or so beforehand or you can use store purchased meringues if you want.
- 6 large egg whites
- 275 g sugar plus 1 sachet of vanilla sugar
- 500 g mixed fresh or frozen berries, such as strawberries, raspberries, blackcurrants and blackberries
- 500 ml whipping cream (as thick as possible – In England they use Double Cream)
- 1 tablespoon icing sugar
PREPARATION IN ADVANCE
Preheat oven to 150°C
Measure out sugar into a bowl or jug. In a very clean mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks and hold their shape when you tip the bowl over.
Add the sugar, tablespoon at a time, whisking the mixture after each addition.
Line a baking sheet with baking paper and spoon the meringue onto the sheet in rows forming round circles. Turn the oven down a bit (to 140°C) and let the meringues cook for about an hour, checking occasionally. Once cooked (the meringues will be firm and lightly coloured), turn the oven off and let them dry completely until the oven is cold.
AT THE LAST MINUTE
When you are ready to assemble the dessert, take half of the berries and put in a blender with the icing sugar. Blend until they are puréed. Pass through a sieve (if you have time.)
Whisk the cream until it is thick and chop the rest of the fruit in another bowl.
Break up the meringues into large pieces (2-3 cms) and place into a large bowl. Add the chopped berries. Gently fold the whipped cream around the fruit and meringues and then the fruit purée so that the cream becomes coloured or “marbled” by the dark berry coulis. You can transfer the “mess” into individual dessert bowls or glasses or leave in the large bowl. Decorate with the remaining coulis, some fresh berries and a few chopped walnuts to add a festive touch.