350g caster sugar
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 tbsp cornflour
100ml whole milk
200g double cream
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
180g hulled and chopped strawberries, blueberries and raspberries
Preheat the oven to 100°C/gas mark ¼. With a pencil, draw nine 4cm diameter circles on parchment paper, spaced out 4cm from each other, then turn the paper over and place on a flat baking tin. Repeat so there are two prepared trays. Separate the eggs, placing the whites in a stand mixer and the yolks in a saucepan, and set aside. Whisk the egg whites for 2-3 mins until foamy and completely whipped, and the mixture does not slip around in the bowl. Gradually add 300g of the caster sugar into the egg whites, with the whisk on the lowest speed. When the sugar has been fully incorporated, add the cream of tartar and turn the whisk to a high speed. Whisk for 12 mins until the mixture is extremely stiff and stays in place when stirred. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a smooth nozzle, then pipe a circular base for the nest, using one of the circles as a guide. Continue to pipe the sides, making them approximately 1cm thick. Pipe one circle at a time to make the walls, until they are approximately 5cm tall. Pipe slowly, so the walls do not fall over. If they do collapse, refill the piping bag with the meringue mixture already piped out and start again.
Repeat this process to make 18 meringue nests across the two prepared trays. Bake the nests for 3 hrs. Allow to cool.
In a bowl, whisk together the remaining sugar with the egg yolks and cornflour, using a hand whisk. Pour the milk into a plastic jug and microwave for 1 min until piping hot. Slowly whisk the milk into the egg yolk mixture until combined, then place the saucepan on a low heat on the hob. Cook while whisking with a hand whisk for 1-2 mins until thickened. Allow to cool, then whisk in the double cream and vanilla, and leave to chill for 1 hr.
When ready to serve, remove the nests from the parchment paper and set on a plate or place them all on a sharing plate. Fill a piping bag, without a nozzle, with the custard cream, then pipe each nest full of custard and top with the fruit. Serve immediately.
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