Clementine jewelled meringue

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Preparation time: 1 hour

Cooking time: 2 hours 30 minutes

Ingredients:

600ml (1 pint) double cream, whipped
4 Navel oranges, peeled, segmented

For the meringue cakes:

3 egg whites
175g (6oz) caster sugar

For the meringue swirls:

4 egg whites
225g (8oz) caster sugar

For the cranberry sauce:

100g (3.5oz) caster sugar
100ml (3.5fl oz) crème de cassis
150g (5oz) cranberries, defrosted

To decorate:

Icing sugar
Edible silver star sprinkles*
2 small sprigs of redcurrants

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 150°C/R2. Mark out 3 x 20cm rounds on baking parchment. Place each on a baking sheet. To make the meringue cakes, put the egg whites in a spotlessly clean large mixing bowl and whisk them until softly peaking. Very gradually add the sugar a tablespoon at a time and whisk until thick and glossy.

2. Divide this mixture between the circles and spread out to make 3 neat circles of meringue. Place in oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 140°C/R1. Bake for 1 hour 30 minutes until perfectly crisp and dry. Turn off the oven, open the door and allow to cool for at least an hour.

3. To make the meringue swirls, preheat the oven to 150°C/R2 and line 3 baking sheets with baking parchment. Repeat the method above in step one. Once made, spoon into a piping bag and pipe out 60 small swirls measuring about 4-5cm in diameter. Place in the oven, turn the temperature down as before and bake for 1 hour. Turn off the oven, open the door and allow to cool for at least an hour.

4. To make the cranberry sauce, place the sugar and cassis in a medium saucepan and very gently heat until the sugar has dissolved. Add the cranberries, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes until thick and syrupy. Set aside to cool.

5. To assemble the gateau, place a circle of meringue on a cake stand. Spoon a third of the cream over. Spread and top with a third of the oranges and a spoonful of the cranberries. Repeat with the other circles of meringues, finishing with a topping of cream, oranges and cranberries.

6. To decorate with the swirls, spoon a dot of cream on the base of one and stick it to the meringue base. Continue until the gateau is completely covered. Top with redcurrants, dust with icing sugar and scatter with edible silver star sprinkles.

7. Assemble no earlier than 2-3 hours before serving and store in a cool place.

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