It has long been my role to bring dessert for Christmas Day celebrations with my family. Many years ago I made a Hazelnut Torte layered with fresh summerfruit and cream as the adults dessert (while the kids had icecream). It was very well received and I wanted to make it again but couldn’t work out how we could possibly slice it for everyone now. Then I saw a recipe for pull-apart pavlova made with meringues and knew I had found the solution – with a bit more class perhaps than the alternative ‘Eton Mess’ style. It also turned out to be fortuitous because the original recipe calls for you to make three large circles of the hazelnut meringue and I only have 2 shelves in my oven and wasn’t sure how I was going to achieve it anyway. So making the smaller meringues was a sensible option to fit them all in.
6 egg whites
1 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
Roast the hazelnuts at 180C for 8-10 minutes. Rub the skins off in a tea towel. Grind the hazelnuts until finely ground.
Beat the egg whites using an electric mixer until firm peaks form. Add the caster sugar and brown sugar a little at a time, beating constantly until thick and glossy. Gently fold in the ground hazelnuts.
Spoon the hazelnut meringue mixture onto lined baking trays. Bake at 150C for 40-45 minutes until firm. Turn off the oven and pull the door ajar. Cool meringue in the oven.
Can be made in advance and stored in an airtight container until ready to assemble.
Fresh fruit of your choice (I used nectarines, strawberries and blueberries)
Lemon Curd (I keep some in the freezer to use for such occasions)
500ml fresh cream, whipped with 1 tbsp icing sugar and 1 tsp vanilla essence
Lightly chopped roasted hazelnuts and grated chocolate to garnish
Marshmallows (optional – a nod to Eton Mess)
Lay the meringues out in the base of a large flat bowl. Spread about a third of the cream across the centre. Drizzle with lemon curd and place marshmallows and sliced nectarines across. Cover with the remainder of the cream and decorate with fresh berries. Drizzle with more lemon curd and finish with chopped hazelnuts and grated chocolate.
This recipe easily served 13 people with leftovers, and there were enough meringues and other ingredients left over that I made a smaller version as well for my neighbours (family of 4) who were stuck at home with covid.