With a crispy outside, soft light centre and adorned with fruit jewels of the season this meringue crown is my elevated pavlova !
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees c (fan)
Make sure your bowl and whisk are completely grease free otherwise your egg whites will not whisk up to their full potential.
In a large roomy mixing bowl or the bowl of a table top mixer – place the egg whites.
In a separate bowl place the caster sugar and mix with the cornflour. If you have the time pass the two through a sieve to ensure you have no lumps.
Whisk the egg whites until they are white and foamy and starting to form into soft peaks then add the sugar/cornflour mix one tablespoon at a time and whisk for about one minute between each spoonful. Finally, you will have a stiff, shiny, thick and luscious meringue.
Take the baking sheet and piece of baking parchment and with a marker pen or dark pencil draw a 20cm circle onto the paper. I use the loose bottom from a cake tin as a template. Turn the paper over so that the ink/pencil is not in contact with the meringue then start to stack the meringue. You may find it useful to secure the paper onto the sheet with a blob of meringue before you start.
Keeping within the line of your circle start to smooth the meringue top and sides. I found this meringue bakes without cracks if the meringue is piped onto the paper in circles. There are then fewer air pockets. Use an angled palette knife or bench scraper to smooth the top and sides then you can use the back of a teaspoon or your palette knife to make ridges in the walls of your meringue.
When you are happy with the finished design pop into the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 120 degrees c (fan) and bake for two and a quarter hours. When the baking time is over, turn off the oven and open the oven door, wedging it open with a wooden spoon and leave the meringue in there overnight to completely dry out.
When read to fill peel the cooled meringue crown from the paper and place onto your display plate then fill with fresh cream and a selection of seasonal fruits. Best eaten the same day.
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