When you're wheat free, meringue tends to become your go-to dessert. It's gluten free, delicious and easy to make. The trick, I've learned, with meringue, is not to try too hard (like sharks, egg whites can smell fear). The other trick, which is slightly more scientific than the first one, is to add acid and salt. These help to stabilise the egg whites so they hold their shape better, meaning you don't have to stamp your feet when your meringue flops.
- For the meringue:
- 4 egg whites
- ¼ tsp fine salt
- 1 tsp white wine vinegar
- 200g golden caster sugar
- 150g frozen Morello cherries
- 1 tbsp icing sugar
- 250ml double cream
- an indiscriminate amount of Amaretto
- 50g dark chocolate, grated
For the meringue:
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas mark 6. Line a baking tray with baking parchment (a little drop of egg white dotted in the corners works as a glue to hold the paper in place).
- Put the egg whites, salt and vinegar in a bowl and whisk until they start to stiffen. Gradually add the sugar, whisking all the time until the mixture is glossy and the meringue holds in stiff peaks.
- Spread the meringue into the baking tray with a palate knife or spatula. You're not plastering a wall, so don't obsess about getting it too perfect!
- Pop the meringue into the oven for 10 minutes, then turn the temperature down to 160°C/325°F/Gas mark 3 for a further 10 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tray for about five minutes before flipping the tray over on to another piece of baking parchment and gently peeling the first piece from the top of the meringue.
- At this stage, you can roll the meringue up and wrap it in a tea towel to keep it for later. It'll last a good 24 hours like this without drying out.
- Remove your cherries from the freezer and place in a bowl to defrost. Sprinkle icing sugar over the cherries and stir to coat. (This will form a syrup as the cherries defrost.)
- Whisk the cream until firm, but still spreadable, and fold in the amaretto. I used a couple of overflowing tablespoons worth in mine.
- Unroll your meringue and spread the amaretto cream over the top of the meringue, leaving about 1cm clear around the edge (to stop the cream squidging out when you roll it up.)
- Dot cherries and the syrup over the surface of the cream and sprinkle with grated chocolate.
- Using the parchment paper to help you, carefully roll the meringue up to form the roulade. Take care not to actually roll the paper into the roulade, it's *ahem* easily done, but annoying.
- Feel free to sprinkle some more chocolate over the finished roulade, or drizzle over some melted chocolate instead.