This dessert is a heavenly combination of crisp yet chewy pistachio meringue and sweet apricot compôte
- 5 large free-range egg whites
- 275g (9½oz) caster sugar
- 200g (7oz) coarsely ground pistachio nuts
- ½tsp green food colouring (optional)
- 500g (1lb 2oz) mascarpone cheese
- 50-75g (2-3oz) icing sugar, sieved
- 400g (14oz) apricot compôte
- 3 x 20cm (8in) circles baking parchment (not greaseproof, which sticks)
- 2 or 3 baking sheets
Heat the oven to 130 C, 110 C fan, 250 F, gas ½. Whisk the egg whites in a very clean bowl until stiff. Whisk in half the sugar, a tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition until the meringue is stiff and glossy.
Fold in the rest of the sugar, the food colouring, if using, and the pistachios, reserving 3 tablespoons. Spread the meringue onto the circles, keeping 2.5cm (1in) inside the edges. Bake for 1 hour 10 minutes - if the meringues are on different oven shelves, rotate them once or twice during cooking. When the time is up, turn the oven off and leave the meringues inside for half an hour, before removing them and allowing them to cool completely on the baking parchment.
Mix the mascarpone with the sieved icing sugar to taste and reserve a couple of tablespoons for the top of the meringue.
To assemble, carefully peel the meringues off the baking parchment. Put one onto a cake platter, spread with half the mascarpone and then with half the apricot compôte. Place the second meringue on top, repeat, keeping a tablespoon of apricot compôte back, and top with the final meringue. Spread the reserved mascarpone in the centre, top with a dollop of compôte and scatter with the reserved ground pistachios. Serve within 1 hour of assembling.
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