- 4 egg whites
- 9 oz castor sugar (275g)
- 3-4 drops of vanilla essence
- 1/2 tsp vinegar
- 4 1/2 oz hazelnuts (shelled, dry-roasted and ground (140g)
- 1/2 pt cream
- Icing sugar (for dusting)
- Two 8-inch (200mm) sandwich tins
- Butter and flour the sides of the sandwich tins and line the bottom with a disc of non-stick (silicone) cooking paper.
- Set the oven at 190 degrees C. or Mark 5.
- Whisk the egg whites until stiff with a rotary or electric beater, add the sugar 1 tbl at a time and continue beating until the mixture is very stiff and stands in peaks.
- Whisk in the vanilla essence and vinegar, then fold in prepared nuts.
- Divide the mixture between the two prepared tins and smooth the top with a palette knife; bake 30-40 minutes but no longer. The top of the meringue will be crisp and the inside soft like a marshmallow. Turn onto wire racks to cool.
Watchpoint: Always fill meringue at least three hours before serving; cake will then cut into portions without splintering. Whisk the cream, sweeten and flavour with extra sugar and vanilla; use about two thirds to fill meringue. Dust top with icing sugar and use the remaining cream to shape, or pipe rosettes on the top. Serve the Melba sauce separately.