By Emma Hatcher.
This dessert has all the Eton Mess vibes, but instead of being served in a bowl, is a show-stopping wreath that’s guaranteed to charm. Low FODMAP, gluten-free and easily made dairy-free by switching to an alternative yoghurt, it’s a great option for those of us with intolerances. Also, you can get ahead by making the meringue wreath in advance, decorating just before serving. The recipe contains a fair amount of sugar (it is Christmas after all) but swaps cream for tangy live yogurt. The yogurt-topped meringue clouds are then scattered with plenty of fruit including seasonal cranberries and finished with chunks of dark chocolate, fresh mint and roasted hazelnuts.
For the meringue:
400g caster sugar
6 large free-range egg whites
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon cornflour
50g caster sugar
50g icing sugar, sifted
300ml lactose-free live yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
100g pomegranate seeds
50g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
Small handful of mint leaves
50g roasted hazelnuts, finely chopped
Preheat your oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3 and line a large baking tray with baking parchment. Pour the caster sugar on to the tray and heat it in the oven while you’re whisking your egg whites (next step). Heating the sugar helps to create a glossy, stable mixture.
Put the egg whites into a clean, grease-free mixing bowl and whisk with an electric whisk until stiff peaks form. Gradually add the sugar a tablespoon at a time, whisking on maximum speed until the mixture is stiff and glossy. Mix the vinegar and cornflour together in a small bowl and then add to the egg and sugar mixture, mixing to combine.
Spoon the meringue onto the tray, creating a wreath shape as large as your tray allows.
Transfer the meringue to your oven and reduce the temperature to 140C/120C fan/gas 1. Bake for roughly an hour, or until the meringue feels like it could come off the parchment paper clean. Turn the oven off and leave the meringue inside for an hour or overnight to cool and dry.
When ready to serve, put the cranberries and sugar into a small pan and cook over a medium heat, stirring until the sugar melts but the cranberries remain intact, which should take about 5 minutes. Allow to cool.
Whip the yogurt, vanilla extract and icing sugar together. Spoon the yogurt over the meringue, followed by the cranberries, raspberries, and pomegranate seeds. Scatter over the chocolate, mint leaves and hazelnuts and serve.