Looking for a new summer dessert? If you have the courage and patience to attempt a meringue roulade, this combination of flavours is sure to delight the palette. Thank Melanie Johnson.
For the meringue:
- 5 egg whites
- 250g caster sugar
- 50g chopped and toasted
For the hazelnut praline:
- 50g caster sugar
- 25g whole hazelnuts
For the filling:
- 600ml double cream
- 1tspn vanilla-bean paste
- 500g strawberries, chopped, plus a few extra to garnish
- Preheat your oven to 200˚C/400˚F/gas mark 6 and line a sheet with baking parchment.
- Beat the egg whites until stiff in a stand mixer. Add the sugar a spoonful at a time while continuing to beat the whites until glossy, then use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides. Gently fold the chopped and toasted hazelnuts through the meringue, reserving some for the next step.
- Spoon the meringue onto the baking sheet and spread it out to a level rectangle, roughly 1cm (half an inch) thick and 30cm by 20cm (12in by 8in). Scatter the reserved hazelnut pieces over it and then place the sheet in the oven, keeping an eye on it. As soon as it starts to brown (after about 10 minutes), reduce the oven temperature to 160˚C (320˚F/gas mark 3) and bake for a further 10–12 minutes.
- Remove the meringue from the oven and turn it out onto a board. Peel back the baking parchment and leave to cool.
- Heat the caster sugar and hazelnuts with a tablespoon of water in a non-stick frying pan. Heat vigorously until the sugar turns a light amber. Immediately, pour it onto baking parchment and leave to cool. Roll up the paper and bash the praline into crumbs with a rolling pin. Set aside until you’re ready to assemble the roulade.
- Whip the double cream until it’s still a little soft, then gently stir in the vanilla-bean paste. Put a third of it into a separate bowl. Fold the chopped strawberries through the larger portion of whipped cream and spoon this evenly over the meringue. Roll up the meringue to form the roulade, leaving the seam at the base. Use a piping bag to pipe cream over the top and decorate with a few halved strawberries. Sprinkle with the hazelnut praline and serve. This is best eaten immediately, but will hold together longer if refrigerated.
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