Hazelnut Meringue

DessertServes 6

# Butter and flour the sides of the 2 size 8 sandwich tins and line the bottoms with a disc of baking parchment. # Set the oven at 375°F/190°C/Gas Mark 5. # Whisk the egg whites until stiff with a rotary or electric beater, add the sugar 1tbsp at a time and continue beating until the mixture is very stiff and stands in peaks. # Lightly whisk in the vanilla essence and vinegar, then fold in the prepared hazelnuts. # Divide the mixture between the 2 prepared tins and smooth the top with a palette knife. # Bake for approx 30-40 minutes but no longer at 375°F/190°C/Gas Mark 5. The top of meringue should be crisp but the underside soft and gooey. # Turn out on wire racks to cool. The meringue can be made the day before using, which gives it time to set and makes it easier to cut into portions without breaking up. # Fill them about 3 hours before eating. # To fill, whisk the cream until fairly stiff, sweeten with a little extra sugar and vanilla and use about 2/3 to fill the meringue. # Cover the cream layer with the raspberries and then the second meringue. # Decorate the top with the rest of cream and dust with icing sugar.

To make the melba sauce:

# Pick over the raspberries and rub through a nylon strainer, then beat in the icing sugar, 1tbsp at a time. Frozen raspberries can be used, but thaw them out first in the fridge. # Serve the sauce separately. # The sauce is also delicious served with ice cream or to make a peach melba.


# The best way to brown hazelnuts evenly is to bake them in a really hot oven for 5-6 minutes. (Watch carefully as they scorch easily). # Turn onto a clean tea towel or oven cloth. Rub briskly in the cloth to remove dry skins. Chop very finely or blend in a mixer.

Flambéed Local Strawberries and Alaska Topping

DessertServes 6

# Heat a pan then toss in the strawberries, half of the sugar and the pinch of pepper. # After 30 seconds, add most of the liqueur. # Flambé until the flames die down (watch your eyebrows!), place in the fridge and save for later. # Whisk the egg whites with the other half of the sugar until they form a stiff peak, transfer to a piping bag. # Place the cold strawberries around a plate in a circular shape. # Pipe the meringue over the top and use a blow torch to colour the meringue. # Drizzle some fruit liqueur over the top, and serve.