Hazelnut meringues for mum

I’ve spent days, months and years trying to master meringues and as a friend kindly pointed out at one of my recent dinner parties “you’ve finally cracked it!”

Past disasters have led to many an Eton Mess to disguise my misdemeanours in the kitchen but this recipe has been a fail safe. I first cooked these hazelnut meringues over 10 years ago when I took a “confident cooking” course at Leiths in London. I’ve since tried many alternative recipes but the bottom line is that sometimes the simplest ones are indeed the best.

I’m a creature of habit so once I’ve had one success it quickly becomes my recipe of the month. These meringues have been trotted out for my neighbours birthday and most recently for a visit from mum. It goes without saying that you need to love nuts to love these!

ingredients
110g hazelnuts, 225g caster sugar, 4 egg whites, 3 drops vanilla extract

preparation
1. Preheat the oven to 150 C and bake the hazelnuts for c 10 mins. Rub them in a tea towel to remove the skin.

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2. Grind the hazelnuts in a blender with 1 tbsp of the sugar. Remove from the blender and then add in half of the remaining sugar.

3. In a clean bowl whisk the egg whites until stuff. Whisk in the remaining sugar 1 tbsp at a time ensuring the meringue becomes stiff and glossy after each addition.

4. Stir in the hazelnut mix using a metal spoon being careful not to knock the air out of the egg whites.

5. Prepare a baking tray with silicone paper and spoon your meringue mix into 12 rounds.

6. Bake for 45 mins to 1 hr at 150C until the paper peels easily away from the meringues.

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7. Leave to cool on a wire rack.

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These meringues are great as they are but good toppings include whipped cream with a spot of whiskey or mascarpone with mixed berries.

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