Lemon and Blueberry Meringue Cake
I have called this a Meringue cake but it is in fact a sublime dessert that is a real showstopper. Beautiful alternative to a standard pavlova and is also gluten free. You will need 2 x 7inch loose bottomed cake tins fully paper lined (bottom and sides)
Start by toasting the flaked almonds. I heat a dry frying pan then lay the nuts on in a single layer then just as they start to colour give them a shake before transferring them to a cold plate. Do not be tempted to let them cool in the pan as they will carry on toasting and may burn. When the nuts have cooled blitz them briefly to a rough ground mix. You can alternatively use ground almonds but I think more flavour is gained from the method explained.
To make the meringue cake – whisk the egg whites in a clean, grease free bowl until they have formed stiff peaks. Start to add the sugar little by little, about a tablespoon at a time. Don’t rush this the mixing took me 15 minutes. When all of the sugar has been added the meringue will be stiff and shiny. With the final spoon of sugar add the cornflour. Finally, fold in the crushed toasted almonds.
Divide the stiff mixture between the two tins and smooth it out as best you can. Air pockets in the meringue can cause holes in the finished cake. This is not a problem at all but if you want to avoid them then pipe the mixture into the tins.
Place the two tins in a preheated oven at 120 degrees c (fan) and bake for one and a half hours. At the end of the cooking time turn off the oven and open the oven door very slightly but leave the cakes to cool completely in the oven. I leave them overnight. Wedge the oven door ajar with a wooden spoon.
When cold carefully remove from the tins and remove the papers. If you want to get ahead the meringue cakes will freeze perfectly and you can fill and decorate later. Alternatively place them in a tin and they will keep for 4 days.
To make the lemon curd. Place the egg yolks in a small saucepan (off the heat) and beat them well, Add then the sugar, lemon zest and juice and mix well then finally add the butter. Place over a low heat and stir continually until the butter has melted. The curd will then thicken and when small bubbles appear, take off the heat, give it a good beating then transfer to a cold bowl to cool down.
To assemble the cake.
In a large mixing bowl whisk the double cream to soft peaks. Loosen the cold lemon curd with a little cream, give it a good mix then pour the lemon curd mix into the whipped cream – folding just enough to incorporate but leaving some lemon ripples. Divide the mixture – use one half to sandwich the cake together along with a few berries then pile the rest onto the top and decorate with the rest of the fruits and a decoration of fresh lemon zests and a few left over almonds.
To make this dessert even easier use half a jar of quality lemon curd. Once assembled the dessert can be kept in the fridge for a day or two.
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