I love to make this desert for my friends when they come and visit. It’s so pretty, extremely delicious and very impressive! I had it for the first time at St John Bread and Wine (94-96 Commercial Street London, E1 6LZ), an English bistrot style eatery in London with amazing food. I can still remember the first bite, and couldn’t wait to have one again. So I decided to make this desert at home.
6 egg whites (room temperature)
260 grs caster sugar
50 grs icing sugar
1/2 tsp salt
30 cl whipping cream
a handful of strawberries, raspberries, chopped lychees and blueberries for each meringue
For the syrup
60 grs sugar
120 ml water
a dash of rose-water/essence
A small handful of chopped lychees, raspberries and sliced strawberries
Pre-heat your oven 140°C.
First of all, you have to make the meringues. Make sure the egg whites are at room temperature. Whisk until the whites become quite firm and start sprinkling the caster sugar ‘en pluie’ like raindrops still whisking away. Towards the end, I add vanilla essence, or orange flower essence. It’s your choice.
When they are stiff and ready, take a large slotted spoon and place a meringue swirl shape on the baking tray covered with parchment paper. I make about 8 meringues. Bake for 1 hour to 1 and a half hour (check them after one hour). When ready take out and leave to cool. I like my meringues Italian style, meaning soft in the middle.
Now, you have all the time to prepare the syrup for the meringues. Boil water and add sugar, rose-water until it becomes syrup-like. I then add pieces of lychee, raspberries, and a few sliced strawberries, to add flavour and colour. I love how the lychee gives it a slight acidic taste. It goes well with the sweetness of it all. I get inspired from Pierre Hermé’s ‘Ispahan’ macaroon, with the lychee, rose cream and raspberries mix (If you haven’t tried the Ispahan, it’s a must! Pierre Hermé, 4 Rue Cambon 75001 Paris). When the colour looks right, place aside and let it cool.
The rest is so easy, just slice any berries you want – I personally add a few more chopped lychee, fresh raspberries, blueberries and strawberries. But you can alternate and use, mango rhubarb, passion fruit… any fruit really!
When you are close to serving, whip up some cream. I don’t add sugar to the cream, because the meringues and syrup have all the sugars I need. Place a meringue on a serving plate, tap it gently to ‘break’ the center of the meringue. Add the whipped cream, a few spoons of the syrup and the fresh fruits on top. Then add a final spoon of syrup to make it all glisten.
This is my favourite desert in the world!