For the meringue:
4 egg whites
a pinch of salt
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp cornflour
2 tsp vanilla extract
For the mulled wine pears:
500ml red wine
1 cinnamon stick
1 tbsp black peppercorns
3 cardamom pods
2 star anise
For the almond brittle:
2 tsp water
45g blanched whole almonds
For the marzipan whipped cream:
30g icing sugar
a good pinch of grated tonka bean
Serves 6 – Prep: 1h – Oven: 1 ½ hours + resting
Preheat the oven to 120°C fan.
Put the egg whites into a bowl with a pinch of salt and beat with an electric whisk until they form soft peaks. Keep whisking and gradually add the sugar, 2 spoonfuls at a time, whisking for 20 to 30 seconds between each addition. Keep whisking until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is stiff and shiny. Add the vinegar, cornflour and vanilla essence and mix again.
Take a piece of baking paper and place a plate of approximately 23cm diameter onto it. With a pencil, draw a circle around the plate. Put the sheet of baking paper on a baking tray.
Pour the meringue mixture into the circle drawn on the baking paper. Form a well in the centre.
Bake the meringue for 90 minutes, switch off the oven and leave the meringue in the warm oven for another 2 hours.
Meanwhile, prepare the pears. Put the red wine, sugar and spices into a saucepan and bring to a simmer. While this wine is on the hob, peel and halve the pears, remove the core and cut into quarters. Add the pears to the wine and cook on a medium heat for approximately 15 minutes, until the pears are done. Leave to cool in the wine for at least 2 hours.
For the almond brittle: put the sugar and water into a frying pan and bring to the boil. Cook until the sugar starts to turn golden, stir through the almonds and cook a bit more until the caramel has an amber colour. Pour the caramel onto a piece of baking paper and leave to cool completely. Roughly chop before serving.
Prepare the whipped cream by whipping the cream, sugar and a good grating of tonka bean until stiff.
Assemble the meringue just before serving: spread the cream all over the meringue, place the pears on top and sprinkle with almond brittle.
TIP: You can prepare all the elements a day ahead of serving. Store the meringue and the brittle in a dry place, the pears can be left in the wine at room temperature, the whipped cream needs to be stored in the fridge.