Muscovado sugar has a lovely caramel flavour because it is unrefined and the pinch of cinnamon gives these meringues a wonderful Christmassy note.
4 free-range #7 egg whites
½ cup light muscovado sugar
1 tablespoon cornflour
seeds from one vanilla pod
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
200 grams mascarpone
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon good quality vanilla extract
1 punnet fresh strawberries, trimmed and sliced into halves or quarters as preferred
Preheat the oven to 120°C.
Place the egg whites in a bowl and beat until foamy and starting to stiffen. Add the sugar one tablespoon at a time. Keep beating for at least five more minutes, until the meringue is stiff and glossy.
Add the cornflour, the seeds from the vanilla pod, and the cinnamon and beat for a further minute or two, until combined.
Place heaped spoonfuls of the mixture on a lined baking tray. Pile each one quite high. Use the back of the spoon to make an indent in the top of each meringue. This will provide a base for the cream and strawberries.
Place in the oven and bake for 90 minutes without opening the door. Turn the oven off and allow to cool for a further hour before removing. Set aside to cool. Store meringues in an airtight container until ready to use.
Topping: Combine the mascarpone, maple syrup and vanilla. Stir well.
To serve: Place a generous spoonful of mascarpone on top of each meringue. Place fresh strawberries on top and serve. Makes approximately 10 meringues.