Hello! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and ate far, far too much, as we did.
We spent the three days ferrying back and forth between our families, eating, swapping gifts, eating more, drinking champagne, and then eating some more again.
I made my Christmas fruit cake with eggnog cream for dessert and really enjoyed spending time with family, giving gifts, listening to carols, enjoying the sunshine in the garden and just chilling out.
The holiday doesn’t last long though, as it’s already time to be thinking about New Year’s celebrations! It’s amazing how fast time truly flies, and I can’t believe we’re at the end of another year already.
2016 was a huge year in my world! I got engaged, travelled to the States and Jamaica, started taking custom cake and pastry orders and I’m not sure that I’ve shared this with you yet – but we bought a house!
With so many big milestones to celebrate, the year deserves to go out with a bang, and a super special dessert.
This meringue cake involves two layers of lightly chocolatey almond meringue that has a crisp exterior and perfectly chewy centre. It’s layered with a coffee creme (I spiked mine with a bit of booze too, feel free to do the same!) and fresh blackberries and cherries. Feel free to use whatever seasonal fruit you have on hand, or to simply decorate with chocolate and nuts!
I filmed a little assembly video for you. If you’re subscribed and reading this in your email, or can’t see the video below, click here to watch on YouTube.
Wishing you all a wonderful New Year’s celebration. I truly hope you’ve all had a wonderful year, and here’s to an even better 2017! X
- ALMOND MERINGUE LAYERS
- 8 egg whites
- Pinch sea salt
- 440g caster (superfine) sugar (2 cups)
- 1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
- 80g almond meal
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
- COFFEE CREME DIPLOMAT
- 500ml milk
- Seeds of 1 vanilla pod
- 6 egg yolks
- 125g caster (superfine) sugar
- 80g plain flour, sifted
- 3 tsp instant coffee, finely ground
- 200ml thickened cream
- TO ASSEMBLE
- 1½ cups of cherries (1/4 pitted and chopped)
- 1 punnet blackberries (1/4 of them chopped)
- A few ferrero rochers
- A handful of hazelnuts, roasted
- Icing sugar, for dusting
- MERINGUE LAYERS
- Preheat the oven to 220 C (470 F) and line two sheet trays with baking paper. Trace a 7" circle on each sheet of baking paper, then flip the sheets over.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whip the egg whites and salt until stiff then slowly rain in your sugar, followed by the vanilla.
- Whip on high until the meringue is very stiff and the sugar is dissolved.
- Fold the almond meal into the meringue gently with a rubber spatula, followed by the cocoa.
- Divide the meringue between the two baking trays and spread out into two even discs, using the trace as a guide.
- Place in the oven and immediately turn down the temperature to 120 C (250 F) and bake for 90 minutes. Then turn off the oven (without opening the door) and leave the meringues in there overnight to cool completely.
- COFFEE CREME DIPLOMAT
- To make the coffee buttercream, bring the milk and vanilla to a simmer in a medium pot.
- Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour and egg yolks.
- Pour the milk in a steady stream into the egg mixture, while continuously whisking.
- Transfer the mixture back into the pot, and still whisking, bring to the boil and cook for a further minute. Take off the heat and whisk in the instant coffee.
- Pour the custard back into a bowl, and place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the custard. Refrigerate till cool.
- Once the custard is cool, whip the cream till medium peaks form and fold through.
- TO ASSEMBLE
- Place one meringue layer on your serving plate.
- Top with half the cream, and spread out to the edges. Scatter over the chopped fruit.
- Place the other meringue layer on top. Spread the remaining cream over the top layer.
- Scatter with ferreros, hazelnuts, remaining cherries and half the blackberries. Use a mortar and pestle (or stick blender) to turn the remaining blackberries into a syrup, and drizzle over. To finish, dust with icing sugar.
- Keep refrigerated. Easily serves 12 - 15.
- Happy baking!
Custard recipe adapted from Justin Gellately.
Meringue recipe adapted from Tanya Zourev via this recipe.