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Tag Archives: meringue

Berry Meringue Cake for Christmas

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I made this cake last year for my friend Ruth’s birthday. I’m re-blogging it here as Christmas approaches as it would make a colourful festive offering.

I  think it would be lovely to have at Christmas time – maybe on Boxing Day if not on the big day itself.  It has echoes of a Christmas trifle – fresh berries, sponge and cream.  The meringue gives another texture to the creation.

Each layer is easy to make, and the whole cake can be assembled on the day you bake it. But it does take a little more time than (my) average throw-all-the-ingredients-in-the-food-processor cake!

To make it, you construct layers of meringue and sponge cake with layers of berry mousse, rasbberry jam, more berries and cream. The mousse really softens the meringue layers and make the sponge cake almost dissolve.

You will need: meringue layers, sponge cake layers, berry mousse, raspberry jam, whipped cream and fresh berries.

Berry Mousse – I used raspberries, blackberries and a few cherries. I’ve made it before with blueberries and strawberries in the mix too.

Ingredients
400g mixed frozen berries
125g caster sugar
300ml cream
1 sheet gelatine
Method
Soften gelatine in a bowl of water for 5 minutes. Place frozen berries in a saucepan with the caster sugar. Cook over a low heat until the sugar dissolves and the berries begin to break down. Remove from heat.
Squeeze excess water from the gelatine and add to the berry/sugar mixture in the saucepan. Stir gently to dissolve the gelatine. Set aside to cool. Whip the cream to soft peaks in an electric mixer. At this stage you can strain the berry mixture if you want a pure mousse, or you can leave the broken down berries in the mixture if you want a more fruity mousse.
Fold the berry mixture carefully into the whipped cream. Chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour until the mousse has thickened but not set completely.
Meringue Layers

Ingredients
4 egg whites
1 cup caster sugar
a few drops of vanilla essence
1/4 tsp balsamic vinegar

Method
Preheat oven to 120 degrees C. Roughly mark out rectangles the same size as the sponge cake tins on baking paper (about 23cm x 33 cm). Turn over the pieces of baking paper – you can see the rectangle markings – and place them on each of 2 baking trays.
Beat egg whites with an electric mixer until stiff. Gradually beat in sugar, continue beating until very stiff. Stir in vanilla and vinegar.
Spoon meringue onto paper rectangles, smoothing out tops so there no obvious peaks.
Place baking trays in centre of oven. Cook for 10 minutes to set the meringue, then turn down oven to 100 degrees C.
Bake for 1 1/2 – 2 hours, until the meringue is dry, but not brown.
Turn oven off, leave in oven with door ajar until meringue is cool. When meringues are completely cool, carefully remove from baking paper.

Sponge Cakes
Ingredients
50g cornflour
50g plain flour
50g self-raising flour
4 x 60g free range eggs, at room temperature
150g caster sugar
Method
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Grease 2 rectangular cake tins or Swiss roll tins (I used a regular cake tin and a Swiss roll tin, both 23cm x 33 cm) and line bases with baking paper. Sift flours and 1/4 teaspoon salt together three times to aerate.
Using an electric mixer, beat eggs and sugar in a large bowl on medium-high speed for 6 minutes, or until mixture is thick, pale and tripled in volume. Gradually sift flour mixture over egg mixture while simultaneously folding in with a large metal spoon until just combined.
Divide mixture between prepared tins. Gently level the batter with a spatula. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cakes have shrunk away from the sides slightly and spring back
when gently touched.
Turn out on to baking paper-lined wire racks. Carefully peel away baking paper, then leave to cool.
To assemble the cake:

Mix a couple of tablespoons of raspberry jam with a teaspoon of water and heat for 30 seconds in the microwave. Brush the jam mixture liberally over both sponge cakes.

Place one of the meringue layers on a serving platter. Spread the meringue with 1/3 mousse. Scatter a few sliced fresh berries over the mousse. Place one of the sponge layers on top of the mousse. Spoon another 1/3 of the mousse onto the cake. Dab a little whipped cream – a couple of tablespoons – onto the mousse. Scatter a few more sliced berries over the mousse and cream. Repeat with the other sponge cake layer, the remaining 1/3 mousse, a little whipped cream and more sliced berries. Place the other meringue layer on top.

Chill in the fridge for a few hours to firm the cake. Decorate with whipped cream and fresh berries in whatever way takes your fancy.

The cake cuts well once it’s chilled. Everything softens up. It keeps well in the fridge, and like trifle, the flavour improves as everything blends together with time!

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Brown Sugar Pavlova

 

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I made some mini brown sugar pavlovas recently, see here for my previous post. The brown sugar – in this case mixed with raw sugar – gives the pavlovas quite a caramel kick. They’re a little more flavourful than the usual pav.

This recipe is not strictly a pavlova, which is a meringue dessert, in one layer, usually with sides and an indentation in the middle to hold the filling. I made two meringue discs which I sandwiched together with cream. If it had been a little more finessed, I would have called it a vacherin. I’ve made a couple of these for the blog in the past, too. But I’m still calling my rustic two layer meringue a pavlova, which it really isn’t! A pav by any other name…

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Ingredients

6 egg whites

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

1.5 tsp vanilla extract

175g raw caster sugar

85g  soft brown sugar

1 tbls cornflour

2 teaspoons white vinegar

Filling

200ml  cream

1/2 tsp vanilla paste

Crushed Malteasers

Method

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Draw 2 large circles (about 24cm) on baking paper on 2 baking trays.

Beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar and vanilla until stiff peaks form. Add the raw caster sugar and brown sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until all the sugar is incorporated and dissolved and the mixture is thick and glossy. Stir in the cornflour and vinegar.

Pile the mixture onto the circles on the baking paper and spread into shape with a spatula. Place the baking trays in the oven and reduce the temperature immediately to 130 degrees C. Bake for 1 hour 20 minutes, then turn off the oven, prop the door ajar and leave the pavlova discs until completely cooled.

Once cooled, carefully peel away the baking paper. Choose the best pavlova disc for the top. Put the other disc onto your serving platter, upside down so that the flat, baked side is uppermost. whip the cream with the vanilla paste. Spoon the whipped cream onto the bottom layer, then sandwich with the top layer. Crush some Malteasers and scatter randomly over the pavlova.

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Here’s a quick video montage for Brown Sugar Pavlova:

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Brown Sugar Pavlova with Maple Butter Pecans

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I had lunch recently at Bills in Darlinghurst, the original restaurant created by Bill Granger, now one of several restaurants world wide showcasing Bill’s simple and iconic style. I’m a huge meringue and pavlova fan, as this blog attests, so I had to order the brown sugar pavlova. It was amazing, crisp on the outside, gooey on the inside, with a lovely caramel flavour of brown sugar.
It was really made for sharing, but this greedy diner ate it all by herself! And I didn’t share it with my Quirky Colleague, which was probably a bit mean, as the pavlova was so delicious.
So I decided to recreate it, with a few of my own tweaks on Bill’s original recipe, including changing the quantities. My version has raw caster sugar for an added caramel hit, and I served it with maple butter pecans. I mixed light sour cream with thick cream for a tang, to offset the sweetness of the meringue.

 

Ingredients

4 egg whites

¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

1 tsp vanilla extract

150g raw caster sugar

55g  soft brown sugar

3/4 tbls cornflour

1/1/2 teaspoons white vinegar

Filling

150ml thick cream

50g light sour cream

1 tsp butter

50g pecans

2 tbls maple syrup

A handful of blueberries

Method

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Draw small plate-sized circles on baking paper on a large baking tray.

Beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar and vanilla until stiff peaks form. Add the raw caster sugar and brown sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until all the sugar is incorporated and dissolved and the mixture is thick and glossy. Stir in the cornflour and vinegar.

Pile the mixture onto the circles on the baking paper and spread into shape with a spatula. Place the baking tray in the oven and reduce the temperature immediately to 130 degrees C. Bake for 1 hour 20 minutes, then turn off the oven, prop the door ajar and leave the pavlovas until completely cooled.

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Combine the thick cream and the light sour cream in a bowl.  Melt the butter in a small frying pan and add the pecans. Toss in the melted butter, then add the maple syrup. Fry until the pecans are coated in the maple butter, but be careful not to turn the maple butter to toffee!

Spoon the cream mixture onto the mini pavlovas, scatter the maple pecans and blueberries over the pavlovas and drizzle with the remaining maple butter. Serve straight away. You can also freeze the unfilled pavlovas for filling at a later date.

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Strawberry and Watermelon Cake

 

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Strawberry and Watermelon Cake – bliss! But how can you combine a delicate fruit such as watermelon into an entirely delicious cake? It would be a daunting task. Watermelon, so refreshing on a hot summer’s day, a drink in fruit form. But in a cake?  And not soggy? And a cake that also has layers of dacquoise or meringue… seems tricky.

The people at Black Star Pastry in Sydney have manged just that, and other delicate and unusual flavours in cakes. I was was the recipient of their Orange Cake with Persian Fig one birthday, see here for the post.

Last week my long time friend (we’ve known each other since we were five!) Doctor Rosemary, had a dinner where she recreated the Strawberry and Watermelon Cake.

It looked and – more importantly tasted – sensational! She had managed the impossible, and achieved the dehydration of the watermelon, to create crisp layers that did not take away from the crunch of the dacquoise. I think it was texturally and taste-wise better than the original. Well done Rosemary!

 

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So here is the recipe, from Australian Gourmet Traveller. It’s worth making!

Ingredients
250 g seedless watermelon, thinly sliced
60 ml (¼ cup) rosewater
4 tbsp caster sugar
40 g almond meal
500 g strawberries, halved
10 seedless red grapes, halved
1 tbsp slivered pistachios
1 tbsp dried rose petals

Almond dacquoise
150 g almonds, coarsely chopped
150 gm pure icing sugar, sieved
5 free-range egg whites
135 gm caster sugar

Rose-scented cream
300 ml thickened cream
30 g caster sugar
2 tbsp rosewater

Method

For almond dacquoise, preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Process almonds in a food processor until finely ground, then combine in a bowl with icing sugar. Whisk egg whites in an electric mixer until soft peaks form (3-4 minutes), then gradually add caster sugar and whisk until stiff peaks form (1-2 minutes). Gently fold through almond mixture, spread on a 30cm x 40cm oven tray lined with baking paper and bake until golden (10-15 minutes). Set aside to cool on tray, then cut in half lengthways.
Arrange watermelon slices in a single layer on a wire rack. Sprinkle with 20ml rosewater, then scatter with 2 tbsp sugar. Stand to macerate (30 minutes), then pat dry with absorbent paper.
Meanwhile, for rose-scented cream, whisk cream and sugar in an electric mixer until soft peaks form, gradually add rosewater and whisk until stiff peaks form (do not over-whisk).
Spread one-third of rose cream evenly over one half of dacquoise, scatter with half the almond meal, then top with watermelon, trimming to fill any gaps. Scatter over remaining almond meal, spread over half remaining cream. Top with remaining dacquoise, spread over remaining cream and refrigerate until firm (1-2 hours).
Combine strawberries, remaining rosewater and remaining sugar in a bowl, toss to combine and set aside to macerate (15 minutes). Carefully arrange on top of cake, gently pushing into cream. Trim edges of cake, scatter over grapes, pistachios and petals, and serve.

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Berry Mousse Layer Cake

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I love meringue and I love a really light and airy sponge cake. I also love berries and cream. I decided to create a cake that incorporated all of these elements into one festive cake.

Each layer is easy to make, and the whole cake can be assembled on the day you bake it. But it does take a little more time than (my) average throw-all-the-ingredients-in-the-food-processor cake!

It’s a lovely celebration cake. I made it for a friend’s special birthday. It would be a great cake to serve at Christmas for dessert – it’s so fresh, colourful, full of berries – Christmas on a plate!

To make it, you construct layers of meringue and sponge cake with layers of  berry mousse, rasbberry jam, more berries and cream. The mousse really softens the meringue layers and make the sponge cake almost dissolve.

Decorate how you like – fancy or plain – the cake will look good and be delicious either way!

You will need: meringue layers, sponge cake layers, berry mousse, raspberry jam, whipped cream and fresh berries.

Berry Mousse – I used raspberries, blackberries and a few cherries. I’ve made it before with blueberries and strawberries in the mix too.

Ingredients
400g mixed frozen berries
125g caster sugar
300ml cream
1 sheet gelatine
Method
Soften gelatine in a bowl of water for 5 minutes. Place frozen berries in a saucepan with the caster sugar. Cook over a low heat until the sugar dissolves and the berries begin to break down. Remove from heat.
Squeeze excess water from the gelatine and add to the berry/sugar mixture in the saucepan. Stir gently to dissolve the gelatine. Set aside to cool. Whip the cream to soft peaks in an electric mixer. At this stage you can strain the berry mixture if you want a pure mousse, or you can leave the broken down berries in the mixture if you want a more fruity mousse.
Fold the berry mixture carefully into the whipped cream. Chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour until the mousse has thickened but not set completely.

Meringue Layers

Ingredients
4 egg whites
1 cup caster sugar
a few drops of vanilla essence
1/4 tsp balsamic vinegar

Method
Preheat oven to 120 degrees C. Roughly mark out rectangles the same size as the sponge cake tins on baking paper (about 23cm x 33 cm). Turn over the pieces of baking paper – you can see the rectangle markings – and place them on each of 2 baking trays.
Beat egg whites with an electric mixer until stiff. Gradually beat in sugar, continue beating until very stiff. Stir in vanilla and vinegar.
Spoon meringue onto paper rectangles, smoothing out tops so there no obvious peaks.
Place baking trays in centre of oven. Cook for 10 minutes to set the meringue, then turn down oven to 100 degrees C.
Bake for 1 1/2 – 2 hours, until the meringue is dry, but not brown.
Turn oven off, leave in oven with door ajar until meringue is cool. When meringues are completely cool, carefully remove from baking paper.

Sponge Cakes
Ingredients
50g cornflour
50g plain flour
50g self-raising flour
4 x 60g free range eggs, at room temperature
150g caster sugar
Method
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Grease 2 rectangular cake tins or Swiss roll tins (I used a regular cake tin and a Swiss roll tin, both 23cm x 33 cm) and line bases with baking paper. Sift flours and 1/4 teaspoon salt together three times to aerate.
Using an electric mixer, beat eggs and sugar in a large bowl on medium-high speed for 6 minutes, or until mixture is thick, pale and tripled in volume. Gradually sift flour mixture over egg mixture while simultaneously folding in with a large metal spoon until just combined.
Divide mixture between prepared tins. Gently level the batter with a spatula. Bake for 15-20 minutes  or until cakes have shrunk away from the sides slightly and spring back
when gently touched.
Turn out on to baking paper-lined wire racks. Carefully peel away baking paper, then leave to cool.

To assemble the cake:

Mix a couple of tablespoons of raspberry jam with a teaspoon of water and heat for 30 seconds in the microwave. Brush the jam mixture liberally over both sponge cakes.

Place one of the meringue layers on a serving platter. Spread the meringue with 1/3 mousse. Scatter a few sliced fresh berries over the mousse. Place one of the sponge layers on top of the mousse. Spoon another 1/3 of the mousse onto the cake. Dab a little whipped cream – a couple of tablespoons – onto the mousse. Scatter a few more sliced berries over the mousse and cream. Repeat with the other sponge cake layer, the remaining 1/3 mousse, a little whipped cream and more sliced berries. Place the other meringue layer on top.

Chill in the fridge for a few hours to firm the cake. Decorate with whipped cream and fresh berries in whatever way takes your fancy.

The cake cuts well once it’s chilled. Everything softens up. It keeps well in the fridge, and like trifle, the flavour improves as everything blends together with time!

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Pavlova Stack with Burnt Salted Caramel

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This is a great dessert which is relatively easy to make. If you can make meringue, toffee and crème pâtissière,  you can create this rustic spectacular! I call it a pavlova stack, as the meringue layers are like mini pavlovas.

The base of the dessert is 3 layers of pavlova/meringue. They are stacked on top of each other with a filling of crème légère and burnt salted caramel sauce.  You can top the pavlova stack with almond praline shards. You could be very precise in making the cake – piping the meringue and piping the crème légère. Or go rustic and free form and just spoon everything on, smoothing out a few rough edges here and there.

Here are the recipes for the component parts: pavlovas, crème légère, burnt salted caramel sauce and almond praline.

Pavlovas

Ingredients

6 egg whites

300g caster sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar

Method

Preheat oven to 120 degrees C, 100 Gas 1⁄2. Don’t cook these pavlovas on fan-forced setting.

Place a sheet of baking paper on 2 baking trays. Draw a circle on one sheet, 20cm/8 inches in diameter. Turn the baking paper over so that you can see the pencil marking on the other side. Draw 2 smaller circles on the other sheet of baking paper, 15cm/6 inches and 13cm/5 inches in diameter. Turn the paper over so you can see the circle markings. You should be able to fit the 2 smaller circles on one baking sheet.

Do not grease the baking paper!

Beat egg whites with an electric mixer until stiff. Gradually beat in sugar, a teaspoon at a time, until very stiff. Stir in vanilla and vinegar.

Spoon the mixture onto the 3 paper circles. You can “anchor” the baking paper down by putting a small dob of meringue under each corner of the paper.

Place baking trays in the oven. Bake for 1.5 to 1.75 hours, depending on your oven.  The pavlovas should be quite dry, but still white – if they are brown they have been cooked too long.

Turn oven off, leave in oven a for further hour or you could leave until quite cold.

Crème Légère – Crème légère is crème pâtissière combined with whipped cream. The result is a light, custardy cream great for filling puff pastry items like eclairs or for filling cake layers.

Crème Pâtissière

Ingredients

500g full fat  milk

6 free-range egg yolks

45g cornflour

120g caster sugar

2 tsp. vanilla extract/paste

60g salted butter

Method

Put the milk into a saucepan over a medium heat till just simmering. While the milk is heating, place egg yolks, cornflour, sugar and vanilla in a bowl, and whisk till combined and you have a smooth paste.  Add half of the just simmered milk into the egg mixture and whisk this just to combine. Essentially, you are tempering the eggs, so that they don’t scramble by adding all the hot milk at once. Then add all this mixture back into the saucepan with the rest of the milk. Bring the mixture back to a simmer, whisking, or stirring with wooden spoon, until the the mixture has thickened considerably. Remove from the heat, stir in the butter and leave to cool.

To make the creme légère to sandwich the pavlovas together, combine half the crème pat with 300mls whipped cream. The cream must be whipped past soft peaks stage until it is quite stiff – but be careful it doesn’t turn to butter! The idea is that the cream is stiff enough to incorporate the custard.

Burnt Salted Caramel Sauce

Ingredients:

200g white sugar

90g salted butter, in small pieces

120ml cream

1 tsp salt

Method

Heat the sugar in a heavy bottomed  saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, until the sugar turns into a tea coloured liquid as you continue to stir. At this stage the toffee/caramel flavour is achieved. If you take the liquid to a slightly darker brown colour, you will achieve that “burnt’ flavour – but beware it is really easy to actually burn the caramel!

Now add the butter  very carefully – the caramel will bubble up. Stir the caramel until the butter is completely melted.

Pour in the cream while continuing to stir. The mixture will  bubble when cream is added. Allow the mixture to boil for about a minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the  salt.

Allow to cool before using. The caramel will thicken on cooling and thicken even more in the fridge. To ensure the caramel sauce is pour-able for the pavlovas, VERY carefully microwave to warm up on low heat. Or you could sit the container in a bowl of hot water to warm up.

Almond Praline

Heat 1/2 cup of caster sugar in a heavy bottomed saucepan over a medium heat. Be careful not to stir the sugar – tilt the saucepan to help melt the sugar. Cook for several minutes until the sugar turns a deep caramel tea colour and take off the heat. It’s a fine line between toffee that’s cooked and toffee that’s burnt! *

Pour onto a baking tray lined with baking paper. Quickly scatter over a handful of almond flakes.

Leave to cool and harden. When completely cold, break up the praline into jagged shards.

To Assemble the Stack:

Place the largest pavlova on serving plate. It’s best to place with the bottom on the plate, and nice side up – I forgot with this layer and turned the pavlova layer the wrong way up. Smother with about half the crème légère. Drizzle or spoon over, according to taste, a couple of tablespoonfuls of the burnt salted caramel sauce.

Place the middle sized pavlova on top as the next layer. Spoon about quarter of the crème légère over this layer, and drizzle or spoon a tablespoon – or more – of the caramel sauce.  Put the remaining pavlova on top.

At this stage you can refrigerate for a couple of hours until ready serve. There is no reason for not serving the pavlova stack as is – see photo below. It looks pretty good!

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However, to make it utterly delicious and decadent, when you are ready to serve, pile on the remaining crème légère, drizzle with more caramel sauce and decorate with the almond praline shards.

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 *Tip for cleaning the praline saucepan: fill the pan with water and heat on the stove top till just boiling. Turn off heat and leave for a few minutes – the hardened toffee should hopefully dissolve making the pan easy to clean.

 

Salted Caramel Meringue Cake Slice

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I have incorporated my love of salted caramel with my new invention “the cake slice”, which I accidentally hit upon when making a slice recently. A cake slice, in my definition, is a traybake or slice in which the base is “cakey” and the topping quite soft and maybe a little bit gooey!

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This Salted Caramel Meringue Cake Slice was inspired by a recipe of my grandmother, “German Biscuit” previously written about in this blog: https://thequirkandthecool.com/2013/06/27/german-biscuits/

That recipe combines a rich shortbread base with an apricot jam and meringue topping – I substituted the jam for a salted caramel filling in my version, plus I tweaked some of the measurements.

Ingredients

Shortbread and Meringue

2 tbls butter
1/2 cup sugar + 1/3 cup for meringue
2 eggs (yolks and whites separated)
Enough self raising flour to make a stiff dough (or plain flour with 1/2 tsp baking powder)

Salted Caramel Filling

I used some Dulce de Leche in a jar – enough to cover the shortbread. I added a tablespoon of butter and also of demerara sugar and blitzed in the food processor to combine to loosen the caramel. I think that the additions may not have been needed as the mixture was a little runny. Add sea salt to taste for the “salted” effect.

Method

Cream butter and sugar in a food  processor. Add beaten egg yolks and a little water. Mix in sifted flour. Roll out to about 1/2 cm thickness and place in a baking tin lined with baking paper and greased. Bake for about 10-15 minutes at 160 degrees C  or until biscuit is cooked and golden.  Remove from oven and cool to room temperature.

Spread the biscuit with the salted caramel to cover.

Beat egg whites until stiff, then add the remaining 1/3 cup sugar, beating mixture until of meringue consistency.

Spoon the meringue over the caramel, creating rough peaks. Bake in a slow oven (130 degrees C) to dry the meringue for about 15 minutes. The meringue should feel firm but spongy.

Remove from oven and when cool, cut into “cakey” slices.

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