Apple and blackberry meringue

Soft-baked meringues make a gorgeous pudding in the early autumn, especially when topped with cider-poached fruit and apple brandy cream.  The following extract comes from my book National Trust Simply Baking (see Books).

Serves 6

6 medium egg whites

250g/9oz caster sugar

1˝ tablespoons white wine vinegar

1˝ teaspoons cornflour

Icing sugar, sifted, for dusting

Apple topping

150ml/5fl oz dry cider

85g/3oz unrefined caster sugar

4 strips finely pared lemon zest

4 dessert apples, such as Cox’s Orange Pippin or Braeburn

250g/9oz blackberries

Apple brandy cream

285ml/10fl oz double cream

4 tablespoons apple brandy or Calvados


1  Preheat the oven to fan 140˚C/gas 2.  Line a baking sheet with baking parchment.  In a large, dry bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks, then gradually whisk in the caster sugar until the mixture is thick and glossy.  Using a flat metal spoon, fold in the vinegar and cornflour.  Spread the mixture evenly over the baking parchment in a 20 x 30cm/8 x 12in rectangle.  Bake for 20 minutes or until soft and marshmallow-like. 

2  Leave to rest on the baking sheet for a few minutes.  Liberally dust a sheet of baking parchment with icing sugar.  Gently tip the meringue on to the sugar-dusted parchment, peel away the baking paper and leave to cool.

3  To make the apple topping, put the cider, sugar and lemon zest in a non-corrosive saucepan.  Set the pan over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved and simmer gently while you peel, core and idce or slice the apples.  Add these to the cider syrup and simmer gently for 4 minutes or until just tender.  Mix in the blackberries, return to a simmer, then remove from the heat.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fruit to a bowl.  Simmer the syrup for a few minutes until it thickens slightly, remove the lemon zest and pour over the fruit.  Leave until cold.

4  To make the apple brandy cream, put the cream and apple brandy in a large bowl and whisk until the cream forms soft peaks.  Chill until needed.

5  To serve, cut the meringue into six squares and place one on each serving plate.  Top with some of the apple brandy cream, then spoon on the fruit so that it spills over the meringue. 

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