A show piece for your summer party. The meringue can be made in advance. What is left to do are whipping the cream and slice some fresh strawberries. Chopped roasted hazel nuts work very well with the meringue, giving it an extra crunch with nutty aroma. Once assemble, serve immediately.
3 egg whites
175g caster sugar
300ml double cream
Line 2 baking sheets with non-stick baking parchment, then draw a 20 cm ( 8 inch) circle on each one, using a plate as a guide. Toast the hazelnuts under the grill. Turn onto a clean tea towel and rub off the loose skins then chop finely.
To make the meringue, whisk the egg whites in a bowl until stiff but not dry. Gradually whisk in the sugar, a little at a time. whishking well between each addition until stiff and very shiny.
Carefully fold in the chopped hazelnuts.
Divide the meringue equally between the prepared baking sheets, then spread neatly into rounds.
Bake at 140 c for about 1 1/2 hours until dry; Tuen the oven off and allow the meringue to cool in the oven.
Whip the cream until it will hold soft peaks. Carefully remove the meringues from the baking paper. Place a meringue round on a large flat serving plate, then spread with the cream.
Arrage the strawberries on top of the cream. then place the second meringue on top. Sift the icing sugar over the top of the gateau. Serve as soon as possible.