Over the weekend my parents celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary!
Every time I think about it, I have to pinch myself, 40 years… thats a life time.. thats longer than my life time… Mr Lid and I just celebrated 8 months of marriage- my parents have been married 50 times longer than us!
So for such a special occasion we had a family picnic on the beach, not just any beach, it was the beach where we as kids spent most of our summers as it was where my Grandma and Granddad used to live, on the hill over looking the water, it is a place that has such strong memories for me, family, summer, food… Which really made it a lovely afternoon, the kids running in the water and playing in the sand (well crushed up shell), the adults drinking bubbles, catching up and eating way too much food.
For such a relaxed Summers day I thought what better sweet treat for dessert than a Hazelnut meringue.
Light and slightly chewy, smothered with a layer of dark chocolate to give a bit of bite, soft juicy slightly tart Strawberries and lashings of vanilla whipped cream- layer it all together and you have a wonderful dessert to share with friends and family.
5 Large Egg Whites at room temperature (I like Free range egg whites)
275g Caster Sugar
160g Toasted Hazelnuts- (shells removed, cooled, chopped)
Heat oven 120-130c fan forced
Prepare the trays for the meringue before starting- I drew two large rectangles on baking paper to fit my trays, lightly grease trays and place baking paper drawing side down (you will still be able to see the outline- you just wont get pen/pencil in your meringue)
Whisk whites in a large clean dry bowl till firm/stiff peak (when the whisk is removed the whites should stand to a peak without falling over).
One Tablespoon at a time whisk in the sugar, till glossy, when rubbed between two fingers you should no longer feel any graininess of the sugar.
Fold in cornflour and Chopped Hazelnuts till well combined.
Once the meringue is ready divide onto the two paper lined trays and gently push mix to the edges of your drawn outline.
Make sure the meringue is even.
Bake 40 minutes then swap the trays over so that they cook evenly, bake for another 40 min, turn the oven off, leave the door slightly open and leave to cool. I keep my meringues in the oven till I need them- just make sure the kids don’t play with the knobs, or your husband doesn’t try to make you dinner and ruin your meringues!
To finish off my meringues I melted some dark chocolate and covered the two flat sides of the meringue (carefully turn the meringues over, peel off the paper)
Next layer vanilla whipped cream and sliced strawberries (or any berries) carefully place the second meringue chocolate side down on top of the other meringue. Cover the top with more cream and berries and chocolate if you like.
This is great for a crowd or if you are feeling fancy you can make individual meringues and layer them for a amazing dinner party dessert (if making small meringues the cooking time will vary).