Hello and welcome to the first installment in our 12 Days of Christmas Baking series! We are kicking off with a bit of a food hero of mine, Kathy Snowball. Kathy is a really wonderful cook, has worked as the food editor of Australian Gourmet Traveller Magazine, written many wonderful cookbooks and as of a few years ago, now lives here in Orange! Here she gives us an easy and beautiful recipe for Meringue and Strawberry Mess. This can be mostly made ahead and just assembled on the day; it's cool and absolutely delicious and would be perfect for Christmas Day. Thank you Kathy!
Meringue and strawberry mess
Meringues and hazelnut praline can be made a day ahead and stored separately in airtight containers.
3 egg whites
180g caster sugar
300ml double cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
200ml plain yoghurt
500g strawberries, hulled
2 tablespoons icing sugar
2 tablespoons caramelised balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon icing sugar, extra
150g caster sugar
30g roasted peeled hazelnuts, chopped
For hazelnut praline, place sugar in a saucepan with 2 tablespoons water and bring to the boil, stirring occasionally until sugar is dissolved. Boil without stirring until a golden caramel colour. Sprinkle hazelnuts onto a baking paper lined oven tray and drizzle with caramel. Cool completely, then break into shards.
For the meringue, place egg whites in an electric mixer fitted with a whisk and whisk until soft peaks form, add sugar 2 tablespoons at a time and whisk until thick. Spoon heaped tablespoons of meringue onto baking paper lined oven trays and bake at 110C for 2 hours. Turn off oven, leave door ajar and cool meringues in oven.
Slice half the strawberries. Lightly crush remaining strawberries and blueberries with icing sugar and balsamic vinegar. Puree raspberries in a food processor with extra icing sugar, then sieve.
Whisk cream until soft peaks form, then fold in vanilla and yoghurt.
To assemble, place meringues on a large serving plate and crush lightly. Spoon two thirds of the cream mixture over and top with sliced strawberries, followed by crushed strawberry and blueberry mixture. Dollop remaining cream mixture over, drizzle with raspberry sauce and top with shards of hazelnut praline.