Greatest Recipes Ever: Hazelnut meringue cake

Thomasina Miers reveals one of her favourite cake recipes.

‘This is a fun, gooey pudding to make for a big party, whether you’re opting for a winter chestnut version with blackberries and marron purée, or a summer one with fresh raspberries and lemon curd. It’s not the most sophisticated cake in the world, but it tastes incredible and looks good enough to dive into’

Winter hazelnut meringue cake with chestnut-brandy cream (feeds 10 happily)
An extract from Thomasina Miers’s Cook (published by Collins)

8 egg whites
Pinch of salt
500g unrefined caster sugar
4tsp cornflour
2tsp white-wine vinegar
½tsp vanilla extract
150g hazelnuts, toasted and roughly chopped

For the filling
2 x 435g tins marron purée
4tbsp brandy
100g caster sugar
900ml double cream, softly whipped
250g blackberries
Marrons glacés (optional)

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Preheat the oven to 180˚C/350˚F/Gas 4.Whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they form stiff peaks. Gradually add the sugar, a third at a time, letting the egg whites form smooth, satiny peaks between each addition. Sprinkle over the cornflour, white-wine vinegar and vanilla extract, and beat in slowly. Fold in the cooled hazelnuts.

Line two baking sheets with greaseproof paper. Spread the meringue mixture into a circle or oblong on each sheet, making one slightly larger than the other, which will become the bottom of your meringue cake. Put in the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 130˚C/265˚F/Gas 1. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until crisp, then turn the oven off, letting the meringue cool completely in the oven
(this is brilliant to do just before going to bed if you’re planning to eat the cake the next day, and ensures a squidgy middle to the meringue).

When you’re ready for pudding, turn out the marron purée into a bowl and whisk vigorously to a smooth paste. Whisk in the brandy and sugar, and, when you have a smooth purée, fold in one third of the cream.

Place the larger meringue on a plate and spread with the double cream and half the marron brandy cream. Scatter with half the blackberries. Place the second meringue on top and spread with the remaining marron brandy cream. Decorate with the remaining blackberries and slices of marron glacé, if you like.