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Diana Henry's hazelnut meringue with apples, blackberries & cider brandy cream
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You need good tart apples here to cut the sweetness of the meringue. Late-season raspberries can be used instead of blackberries. This looks pretty stunning but if it seems too much of a hassle, make an autumnal Eton mess using broken up bought meringues, the cream below and fresh blackberries and raspberries instead.
2 small, tart eating apples (such as Cox), quartered and cored
30g unsalted butter
1 tbsp caster sugar
15g blanched hazelnuts, halved and toasted
FOR THE PAVLOVA
5 Waitrose British Blacktail Large Free Range Egg whites, at room temperature
250g golden or white caster sugar
85g blanched hazelnuts, lightly toasted and roughly chopped
1 tsp cornflour
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
300ml tub double cream
3½ tbsp Somerset cider brandy or French Calvados
2 tbsp icing sugar (or to taste)
1 Preheat the oven to 140°C, gas mark 1. Make the pavlova: whisk the egg whites until stiff. Gradually add the sugar, a few tablespoons at a time, beating between each addition until the mixture is stiff and glossy. Fold in the chopped hazelnuts, cornflour, vinegar and vanilla.
2 Line a baking sheet with baking parchment (stick it down using small daubs of the meringue mixture). Spoon the meringue onto this forming a 24cm circle. Bake for 60-75 minutes. It’s ready when it’s firm to the touch and a very pale biscuit colour. Leave to cool a little then carefully peel off the paper and transfer to a serving plate.
3 Meanwhile, cut the apple into wedges, about 5mm at the thickest part. Melt the butter in a frying pan then sauté the apple slices on both sides (don’t crowd the pan otherwise the apples will steam instead of frying) until they’re pale gold in colour. Sprinkle with the sugar and cook, over a medium heat, until the apples are a little darker and soft on the outside but still a little firm in the middle. Remove from the heat and lay the apples on a plate in a single layer to cool.
4 Whip the cream and, once it’s softly holding its shape, beat in the alcohol and the icing sugar. Spread the cream over the pavlova then spoon the apples and blackberries on top. Sprinkle on the halved and toasted hazelnuts.
Typical values per serving:
This recipe was first published in October 2017.