I’m not going to lie; I had a bit of a disaster making this recipe. I had come back home for the weekend and thought it would be nice to cook my mum a lovely meal. I had never properly made meringues before and as there was also some lovely fresh cherries the fridge and I thought I would take advantage and make some mini pavlova’s. My little beeper went off to tell me that the meringues were done and they looked beautiful. I was pretty proud of my first attempt and as I had read that you should turn off your oven and just leave the meringues in there to cool I did just that. Now I’m sure most of you will have more active brain cells than me but if you decide to do this be very very careful not to forget they are in there. I totally forgot, and then later on in the evening set the oven to cook to cook the rest of the dinner. There was suddenly the smell of burnt sugar filling the kitchen and to my horror I remembered the meringues were in there.
Gutted would have been a happy explanation for how I felt! My mum being my mum continued to pick at the black meringue and tell me how lovely it was and that the burnt sugar taste actually ‘added to the flavour.’ Believe me, it didn’t add the flavour, they were gross! If anyone has watched the episode of friends with Alec Baldwin in then you will understand the sort of person my mum is, if it is raining she will still look out the window and say that it is looking bright and we should eat in the garden; positive is an understatement. So while I appreciated the sentiment I knew they were crap and refused to turn them into a pavlova. I therefore picked myself up and started again to make a new batch, and it was so worth it. I guess one can only learn from their mistake and look to fix them instead of crying about it.
Makes 4 large nests
For the meringue nests
– 2 egg whites
– 125g caster sugar
For the cherries
– 115g fresh cherries, stones removed
– 25ml fruit juice, I used red grape but cranberry or orange juice would also be fine
– 1 tbsp redcurrant jelly
– 1-2 tbsp soft brown sugar
– 25ml white wine
For the cream
– 1 tbsp caster sugar
– 125ml double cream, whipped lightly
For the meringue nests, preheat the oven to 150C and line a baking tray with non-stick greaseproof paper.
Place the egg whites in a mixing bowl and whisk until they form soft peaks when the whisk is removed.
Add the caster sugar, a spoonful at a time, constantly whisking. When the sugar is absorbed, the meringue should look glossy and stiff.
Using a tablespoon, spoon the mixture onto non-stick baking tray to make little mounds. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
Lower the oven temperature to 110C and cook for a further 1 hour until crisp on the outside and gooey in the middle. Leave to cool.
For the fruit, place the cherries in a pan with the fruit juice, redcurrant jelly, wine and soft brown sugar, and simmer until the cherries are soft.
Set the cherries aside and leave to cool
For the cream, simply whisk together the cream and the sugar until thickened. You could also add a teaspoon or so of the cherry juice to give it a tint of colour. Spread the cream on top of the meringue, top with the cherry halves and then drizzle the juices over the top.