Surprisingly-simple meringue roll is one of my favourite puddings for summer entertainment: always popular and you can make it ahead too if you add a little alcohol to the filling. Just remove from the freezer a few hours before serving and allow to defrost in the fridge.
6 egg wites, at room temperature.
6 tablespoons cold water.
450g caster sugar.
1 and a half teaspoons cider, sherry or white wine vinegar.
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste.
6 teaspoons cornflour.
300ml double cream, whipped to thick but not stiff with the liqueur if using.
2 capfuls fruit liqueur (optional unless freezing).
Frozen or fresh fruit of your choice.
Line a deep, large roasting tray with parchment paper and cut another piece to fit over the top.
Preheat the oven to 150C, Gas 2.
Using an electric stand mixer, whisk the egg whites until they reach “soft peak” (firm and standing high but not dry).
With the beaters running all the time until all ingredients are added, slowly drip in the water and ensure that the soft peak is maintained.
Add the sugar a teaspoon at a time to maintain the same texture, scraping down when needed.
Drip the vinegar, followed by the vanilla extract into the mix.
Add the cornflour a teaspoon at a time.
Gently spread the meringue mix evenly across the base of the roasting tray before loosely covering with the extra piece of paper.
Cook in the middle of the oven for about 50 minutes.
Remove the paper and check that the meringue has become firm.
Place the removed sheet of parchment on the worktop and turn the roasting tin upside down on to it.
Gently remove the lining paper from the meringue.
Spread with the cream and fruit before gently rolling, using the paper on the work-surface to create the roll.
Chill in the fridge or wrap in parchment paper and freeze.
Room temperature eggs means that they have been out of the fridge for at least 24 hours.
The meringue roll is probably more impressive, easier to slice and serve than a Pavlova but, if you prefer the latter, simply pile the meringue into a mountain on a parchment-lined baking sheet. There’s no need to mould it into a perfect circle but let it find its own shape.
The liqueur is only essential for freezing as, once beaten into the cream, it will avoid the cream splitting.
Fruit choice will depend on if you are freezing or not: raspberries, apricot or peach slices, strawberries and more.
You can use the spare yolks in lemon curd, scrambled eggs or a Crème Noel