Apricot and passionfruit meringue

Apricot and passionfruit meringue
Apricot and passionfruit meringue Photo: Quentin Jones

This year has seen plenty of plump, tasty apricots. There has been so much fruit that I've dusted off recipes, unused for some time, in anticipation. The bumper crop also means there are plenty of seeds. The hard apricot pit contains the kernel. This seed gives the bitter almond flavour in the amaretto biscuit and liqueur. It can be used to flavour gelati, custards, cakes and jams. It is the essential ingredient in the pumpkin tortelli that are a Christmas fixture in my family. To extract the kernels, roast the pits in a preheated 180C oven for 15 minutes. Let them cool and, using a nutcracker or a gentle tap with a hammer, extract the kernel. Use them sparingly and store them in a jar in the refrigerator for up to a year.

Ingredients

For the poached apricots

10 ripe but still slightly firm apricots

1 litre water

150g sugar

1 tsp vanilla essence

1 tbsp dried jasmine blossoms (optional)

For the meringue

4 egg whites

Pinch salt

1/4 tsp cream of tartar

150g caster sugar, divided in two equal lots

1 tsp cornflour

2 tsp white wine vinegar

2 tbsp caster sugar for sprinkling

300ml double cream, whipped with a tbsp caster sugar

Pulp from 6 passionfruit

Method

For the poached apricots

Wash apricots well and pat dry. Bring water, sugar, vanilla and jasmine to boil in a pot. Turn down heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Add apricots and simmer for 2-3 minutes, keeping submerged. Remove from liquid, let cool and peel. Cut each apricot in half and remove stone.

For the meringue

Preheat the oven to 140C. Whip egg whites with salt and cream of tartar in a mixing bowl until they form soft peaks. Beat in 75g of the sugar, a little at a time, until meringue is stiff and glossy. Fold in the other 75g of sugar as well as vinegar and cornflour, until sugar is well incorporated. Grease and flour a 22cm tart tin (with removable base). Spoon meringue mixture in and shape the middle flat and the borders slightly higher so that once baked the apricots will sit comfortably in the shallow valley. Sprinkle top with the 2 tablespoons of caster sugar and bake for 70 minutes or until a light gold colour and the surface is crusted. Cool on a cake rack before removing. Assemble by spreading a layer of whipped cream on top, followed by apricot halves topped with passionfruit pulp.

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