A festive centrepiece that really is good enough to eat!
- 1 tbsp cornflour
- 2 tbsp cocoa
- 5 egg whites, at room temperature
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ tsp cream of tartar
- 300 g (1¼ cups) caster sugar
- 300 ml thickened cream, lightly whipped, to serve
- 300 g cherries, to serve
- 1 tbsp icing sugar, to serve
- 100 g dark chocolate, cut into small pieces
- 80 ml (⅓ cup) cream
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Preheat oven to 100°C. Sift the cornflour and cocoa together and set aside.
Place the egg whites, salt and cream of tartar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add the caster sugar, a tablespoon at a time, until stiff peaks form and sugar is completely dissolved.
Gently fold sifted cornflour and cocoa through the egg whites with a spatula, until just combined.
Line 3 baking trays with baking paper. With a pencil, trace a 27cm circle onto one of the trays and turn the baking paper upside down, so the pencil won’t stain the meringue. Spoon 4 cups of the meringue onto the paper to create a ring. Using a 1cm plain pipe and piping bag, pipe the remaining meringue into twigs of varying lengths between 8-12cm. Bake for 1½ hours. Turn off the oven and allow to cool in the oven.
To make chocolate ganache, combine the chocolate and cream in a saucepan and heat over a low heat; stir until the chocolate has dissolved. Pour into a bowl and allow to cool.
To assemble wreath, carefully place the meringue disc onto a large flat serving platter. Dollop with the cream and place meringue twigs at various angles. Arrange the cherries in amongst the twigs and then drizzle with chocolate ganache. Use a small sieve to sprinkle icing sugar and serve immediately.
Photography by Brett Stevens. Styling by Kirsten Kenkins. Creative concept by Anne Marie Cummins.