Hazelnut meringue wreath with roasted plums
Silvana Franco makes a beautiful Christmas centrepiece dessert.
Recipe - Serves: 6 - 8
5 medium Waitrose British Blacktail Free Range Egg whites
250g golden caster sugar
100g roasted chopped hazelnuts
6 plums, halved and stoned
½ tsp mixed spice
2 tbsp light brown muscovado sugar
Juice 1 orange
250ml pot Waitrose Spiced Plum with Rum Cream or 250ml double cream, lightly whipped
1. Preheat the oven to 140°C, gas mark 1. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment and, using a plate or pan lid as a template, draw a 28–30cm circle on the parchment with a pencil. Turn the paper pencil-side down.
2. In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites with an electric mixer until stiff, then add the caster sugar a teaspoonful at a time, mixing well between each addition, until really stiff and glossy. Fold in the chopped hazelnuts.
3. Using the pencil circle as a guide, spoon the meringue onto the baking sheet in 12 spoonfuls that just touch to create the wreath shape. Make a shallow hollow in the top of each one with the back of a spoon. Bake for 1¾–2 hours until pale golden and crisp. Turn off the oven and leave the meringue inside to cool completely, then remove.
4. Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4. Place the plum halves in a shallow dish or roasting tin. Scatter with the mixed spice and muscovado sugar and drizzle with the orange juice. Cook in the oven for 15–20 minutes until the plums are tender. Leave to cool.
5. Transfer the meringue wreath to a board or flat plate, or prop up as a centrepiece. Serve topped with the whipped cream and plums.
Typical values per serving: