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Apricot Hazelnut Meringue Cake - Book of Cakes, unlive 20/02/2013

This is a very light, soft meringue mixture - not over-crisp on the outside and fairly marshmallowy on the inside. Ground hazelnuts are available at wholefood shops and delicatessen.


Serves 6

This recipe comes from The Book of Cakes.

Apricot Hazelnut Meringue Cake - Book of Cakes, unlive 20/02/2013
Ingredients
 3 large egg whites
 6 oz (175 g) caster sugar
 3 oz (75 g) ground hazelnuts
 ½ pint (275 ml) double cream
 a few whole toasted hazelnuts
For the filling:
 4 oz (110 g) dried ready-to-eat apricots
 juice of a small orange
 a small strip of orange peel
 ½ inch (1 cm) cinnamon stick
 2 level teaspoons arrowroot
 1 level tablespoon brown sugar
  Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 5, 375°F (190°C).
Equipment
You will also need 2 sandwich tins, each 7 inches (18 cm) in diameter, lightly oiled with a flavourless oil. Then line their bases with baking parchment or, failing that, greaseproof paper, also lightly oiled.

Method

In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites to the stiff peak stage. Then whisk in the sugar - roughly an ounce at a time - then take a metal spoon and lightly and gently fold in the ground hazelnuts. 

Now divide the mixture between the tins and spread it out as evenly as possible. Bake the meringues on the centre shelf of the oven for about 20-40 minutes.

Remove them from the oven and let them cool in the tins for about half an hour before turning out. Don't worry if the surface of the meringue looks uneven, as this is quite normal with a meringue mixture. When they've cooled, loosen them round the edges and turn them out on to a wire rack, then strip off the base papers.

To prepare the filling, put the apricots in a small saucepan along with the orange juice, peel, cinnamon, sugar and 2 tablespoons of water and simmer gently, with a lid on, for about 10-15 minutes. Now mix the 2 teaspoons of arrowroot with a little cold water, add this to the apricot mixture and stir - still keeping the heat fairly low - until the mixture has thickened.

Then remove it from the heat and let it get absolutely cold. 

About 2 hours before you want to serve the cake, whip the cream, then carefully spread the cooled apricot mixture over one half of the meringue, followed by half the whipped cream. 

Then carefully position the other half of the meringue on top. 

Spread the remaining whipped cream on top and decorate round the edges with whole toasted hazelnuts.

Photograph: Myles New

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