The finished product looks so glamorous but the elements are very easy to prepare in advance. Enjoy putting the finishing touches on your masterpiece and wait for the oohs and aahs!
- 5 egg whites
- ½ tsp cream of tartar
- 1½ cups caster sugar
- ½ cup chopped roasted hazelnuts
- 1 tsp vanilla paste
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- 250ml cream
- ½ cup crème fraîche
- 2 tbsp icing sugar
- 1 cup frozen berries
- 425g tin pitted cherries in syrup
- ½ cup caster sugar
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 1 tbsp cornflour mixed with 2 tbsp water
- Fresh strawberries, berries or seasonal fruits
- Preheat the oven to 125ºC. Line three baking trays with paper and draw a 21cm circle on each. Using an electric beater, whip the egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and beat on medium speed until white, and soft peaks are forming. While still beating, gradually add the first measure of sugar in a slow, steady stream over 6-8 minutes until the meringue is thick, white and glossy. Fold in the hazelnuts, vanilla and spice.
- Divide mixture between trays and spread meringue out to fit the circles. Bake for 1 hour until meringue layers are dry and crisp to the touch. Turn oven off and let them cool inside. When cold, store in an airtight container until ready to use.
- Whip the cream to soft peaks, then fold in the crème fraîche and icing sugar until the mixture is spreadable.
- For the sauce, simmer the berries and cherries with the remaining caster sugar and cinnamon stick for 5 minutes. Add the combined cornflour and water. Simmer for 1-2 minutes more until thickened and glossy. Cool before using.
- To assemble stack, place one meringue layer on a serving plate, spread over half the cream and spoon over a little sauce. Continue with the second layer of meringue, cream and sauce. Finish with the final top layer of meringue. Decorate with fruit and serve with remaining sauce.