For a really special dessert option for your next dinner party that’s ready in just 40 minutes, try this deliciously sweet and impressive looking meringue tower.
- 4 large free-range egg whites, at room temperature
- 250g caster sugar
- a little pink gel food colouring
- 800g strawberries, hulled
- 250ml whipping cream
- 1tbsp icing sugar
- ½tsp vanilla extract
- You will need:
- a piping bag fitted with a 1.5cm nozzle
- 2 baking trays lined with baking parchment
Heat the oven to 150C, gas 2. In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites and a pinch of salt on a medium speed with an electric whisk until frothy. Increase the speed to high and whisk until stiff peaks form. Continue to whisk, adding 1tbsp of the sugar at a time, and mix well after each addition. Make sure you add the sugar slowly or you’ll bash out all the air and have a fat meringue!
Dip a skewer lightly in the food colouring and run it along the inside of the piping bag to create 3-4 evenly spaced vertical stripes. Fill with the meringue mix. Pipe into 3.5cm dots, lifting the bag away slowly while still piping to create the “kisses”, then stop the flow of the meringue and pull the bag away to make a pointy tip. Space them evenly apart on the baking trays.
Turn down the oven temperature to 140C, gas 1. Cook the meringues for 15 minutes. Turn off the oven, keeping the meringues inside with the door shut for at least 3 hours.
Very finely chop 125g of the strawberries and set aside. Whip the cream, icing sugar and vanilla until just beginning to thicken, add the chopped strawberries and stir, as the acidity in the strawberries will make it thicken further. It’s better to under-whip than over – you can always whip a bit more if you need to.
Using a palette knife, spread a little cream mixture on to the fat side of a meringue and sandwich with another. Repeat with the remaining meringues. Stack them in a tower, like a croquembouche, alternating the meringues with strawberries.
The meringues will keep for 3 days in an airtight container and you can fill them 2 hours ahead