- 3 egg whites
- 175 g caster sugar
- 100 g nibbed or chopped almonds
- 200 ml double or regular cream
- icing sugar, for dusting
- for the purée:
- 2 tblsp lemon juice
- 100 g caster sugar
- 225 g ready-to-eat dried apricots
- The apricot purée is also divine served with natural yoghurt as a quick snack or for breakfast. It can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container and will keep for up to a week.
- Preheat the oven to 150°C (300°F/Gas 2). Line two baking sheets with baking parchment.
- Place the egg whites in a spotlessly clean dry bowl and whisk until the mixture is fairly stiff. Add a quarter of the sugar and continue to whisk until the mixture holds its shape. Gently fold in the remainder of the sugar, followed by the nibbed almonds.
- Spoon half the meringue mixture onto each of the lined baking sheets and gently spread the meringue on each sheet to form a round 20-22cm (8-9in) in diameter. If you can fit both meringues on one tray, it's easier if you're not cooking in a fan oven.
- Bake in the oven together for 25-30 minutes or until crisp on the outside and cream coloured. (If cooked, the meringue will lift easily off the paper.) Once the meringue is cooked, if possible leave it inside the oven for 1 hour to allow it to cool down slowly and lessen the risk of it cracking.
- Alternatively, remove it from the oven but don't put it anywhere too cold as soon as you take it out.
- To make the purée, fill a large saucepan with 850ml (1½ pints) of water, add the lemon juice and sugar and bring to the boil.
- Add the apricots, return to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 20 minutes or until the apricots are softened.
- Remove from the heat and allow to cool, then place in a blender or food processor and whiz to form a purée.
- Place a meringue round onto a serving plate or cake stand. Whip the cream and spread onto the meringue round, pour over some apricot purée, then gently place the other round on top, saving the best-looking one for this. Dust with icing sugar and cut into slices to serve, with the remaining purée on the side.
This recipe and many more are available in Rachel's book, 'Rachel Allen: Entertaining at Home', published by Harper Collins.