Blackberry & Apple Meringue with Walnuts & Elderberries Recipe
This Blackberry & Apple Meringue with Walnuts & Elderberries recipe is inspired by autumn hedgerow, bursting with ripe elderberries, tart blackberries and sugary, fried windfall apples.
15 Mins 2 Hours 45 Mins MediumServes 8 to 12
Image: Andrew Montgomery
a dash of sunflower or walnut oil
2 small to medium dessert apples, quartered, cored, then each cut into 2 or 3 wedges
1–2 teaspoons golden caster sugar (optional)
300ml (10 ½fl oz) double cream
½ vanilla pod, seeds scraped
2 handfuls of blackberries
1 or 2 sprays of ripe elderberries, berries picked
35g(1¼oz) shelled wet walnuts, or walnuts or hazelnuts, roughly broken
For the meringue
4 egg whites
200g (7oz) golden caster sugar
Heat the oven to 120°C/235°F/gas mark 1.
First make the meringue. Place the egg whites in a large, clean bowl. Whisk with a hand-held electric whisk until they form and hold soft peaks. (You can do this in a food mixer with a whisk attachment, if you prefer.) Keeping the whisk running, add 1 large spoonful of sugar at a time, until all the sugar is incorporated. Continue to whisk for a further 6-8 minutes, until the meringue is thick, pale, smooth and glossy.
Lightly grease a sheet of baking parchment and lay it on a large (at least 30 x 30cm/12 x 12in) flat baking tray. Spoon the meringue onto the parchment, trying to make a large round with slightly peaked edges – it doesn’t have to be perfect. Bake the meringue in the oven for 25-30 minutes, then turn down the heat to 90°C/185°F/gas mark ½ and bake for a further two hours, until the meringue has formed a crisp shell. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. (If you’re not using the meringue straight away, store it in an airtight container.)
Heat the oil in a non-stick pan over a medium heat, then add the apple. If the apples are a little tart, add the caster sugar and stir. Cook for 4-5 minutes, turning them over occasionally, until they have taken on a little colour and are beginning to soften. Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool.
In a clean bowl, whisk the double cream with the vanilla seeds until thick and pillowy. Spoon over the meringue base, spreading it roughly out towards the edges. Arrange the cooked apple pieces over the cream. Scatter blackberries over the top. Finally, sprinkle over the wet walnuts (or walnuts or hazelnuts) and the elderberries, and serve.
Sometimes it’s hard to let go of summer: warm mornings, holidays, swimming in the sea, Pimms, long lunches – and Pavlova. This Pavlova, though, is inspired by autumn hedgerow, bursting with ripe elderberries, tart blackberries and sugary, fried windfall apples. Wet walnuts found in markets and farm shops during the autumn period, are fresh, sweet and milky.
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