- 4 large, free-range egg whites
- 1 rounded tsp cornflour
- 200g golden caster sugar
- 1 tsp vinegar (preferably fruit, or cider)
For the filling
- 500g gooseberry, topped, tailed and rinsed
The size of large grapes, but with a more spherical shape, gooseberries are related to the…
- 100g refined caster sugar, plus 2 tbsp
- 1 tbsp brandy
Brandy is a distilled spirit made from virtually any fermented fruit or starchy vegetable.…
- juice of ½ lemon
Oval in shape with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile…
- 3 tbsp elderflower cordial
- 142ml carton double cream
Preheat the oven to 150C/gas 2/fan 130C. Line a heavy baking sheet with baking parchment and draw a 24cm/91⁄2in circle on it.
Put the egg whites into a very large, grease-free bowl. Mix the cornflour and sugar together, then tip half into the egg whites. Using electric beaters, whisk until thick and glossy, and stands up in firm peaks. Tip in the rest of the sugar, add the vinegar, and continue whisking until thoroughly incorporated.
Spread the meringue over the circle, leaving a 1cm/1⁄2in border. Using the back of a large spoon, make a shallow dip in the middle for the filling, then build up the sides as high as you can, using a palette knife to make swirly peaks on top.
Bake the meringue case on the middle shelf for 20 minutes. Reduce to 140C/gas 1/fan 120C and bake for 40 minutes (1 hour in a gas oven). Turn off the oven but leave the meringue inside for 1-3 hours, with the door closed.
Meanwhile, gently cook the gooseberries and 100g/4oz sugar, covered, over a low heat for 15 minutes, stirring once or twice. When they are soft, drain (discarding the juices) and leave to cool thoroughly.
To make the syllabub, whisk the brandy, lemon juice and 2 tbsp sugar in a large bowl for 1 minute. Pour in the elderflower cordial and cream and whisk until mixture forms soft peaks. Fold in the drained fruit .
Remove the parchment from the meringue, then put the case on a large flat plate or cake stand. Pile in the syllabub filling and serve immediately.
Getting aheadMake the meringue case up to 24 hours ahead, wrap loosely in foil and keep cool. Cook the gooseberries up to 48 hours ahead and chill. The syllabub can be made up to 12 hours ahead and chilled.