Hazelnut Meringue Cake

imageThis recipe comes from Cordon Bleu Cookery by Rosemary Hume and Muriel Downes. The original recipe serves the raspberries alongside the cake, rather than sandwiched inside and I have upped the quantity of cream a bit from the original ¼ pint.

Serving it with the coulis, aka Melba sauce, is definitely worth the small extra trouble. Making the sauce with frozen raspberries is cheaper unless you have a glut of your own, or can buy very ripe ones at a good price. You can prepare the meringue and coulis ahead of time, keeping the two hazelnut meringues in an airtight tin or carefully wrapped in cling film and the coulis in the fridge, so that you only have to whip cream and arrange raspberries on the day.

It is the official Roele birthday cake, and is utterly delicious.

4 egg whites
250g/9oz caster sugar
Vanilla essence
1/2 tsp vinegar
125g/41/2 oz toasted ground hazelnuts
170ml/6 fl oz double cream
Icing sugar
200g/7 oz Raspberries

Coulis:
400g/12oz frozen raspberries, defrosted
Approx 2-3 tbsp icing sugar

Prepare two 20cm/8-inch sandwich tins by rubbing the sides with butter, lining the bottom with baking paper and coating with flour. Heat the oven to 190º C/375º F/Gas 5.

Whisk the egg whites until very stiff, then whisk in the caster sugar a spoonful at a time, adding the vanilla and vinegar when all the sugar has been added. The mixture should be very bulky and have a ‘satiny sheen’ (as Jane Grigson says in her version of this recipe). Lastly fold in the prepared nuts. Divide between the two prepared tins and bake for about 30-40 minutes. Take out of the oven and cool before attempting to take the meringues out of their tins.

Meanwhile make the coulis: rub the raspberries through a nylon sieve (you can put them through the blender first if you wish) and beat in the icing sugar to taste, to sweeten and thicken the purée.

When the meringues are cool, fill the two halves with whipped cream and raspberries, and dust the top with icing sugar. Turning the second meringue upside down gives a professionally smooth top. Serve with the raspberry coulis.

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