It feels as if autumn may be rapping her chilly fingers on the door. There was a frost this morning and a proper mist coming up off the river. Whilst I am not ready to immediately dive headlong into winter stews and duvets of syrup puddings I am certainly happy to wrap up a little and enjoy the cool air and changes in the landscape. Leaves are turning bronze and starting to flutter down into crunchy piles demanding to be kicked, cobwebs in the hedges are highlighted by the frosty dew and birds are collecting, swooping and considering a winter in the sun. Relish these September days, before you know it we will be hearing about Hallowe’en and Christmas.
So, this is belter of a pudding, just the ticket for this time of year whilst there are heaps blackberries around. It is also very straightforward, you can make the meringue discs days in advance and I have used a good store bought lemon curd. Do make your own if you have the time and the energy, I didn’t and was perfectly happy with a shop version on this occasion. Crunchy and chewy meringue, dusky and toffeeish from the brown sugar, vibrant lemony curd marbled into whipped cream and the deepest dark purple berries.
Most of the year the brambles are a pest in the garden, catching and scratching you endlessly. At the moment though, I am delighted to see their little berries almost as black and shiny as the jet buttons on a Victorian governess. Take delight in them as like all other seasonal treats they will be gone in a flash. You could make this with those big, blowsy blackberries you can buy in the shops but that misses the point of these autumn treasures. I picked the ones you see here whilst the meringues were cooking.
So have a go at this, it really is as stunning as it is delicious and if you miss the boat with the blackberries try it with some late autumn raspberries.
Brown Sugar Meringue Cake with Blackberries and Lemon Cream
The first time I marbled the lemon curd directly into the whipped cream and then spread it onto the meringue discs but I found it got a little lost. I then blobbed the lemon curd onto the cream once this was already spread and then marbled it a little which I prefer as it is more distinct. Obviously do as you choose. Likewise use as much lemon curd as you like, I used just over half a jar.
3 egg whites
100g soft brown sugar
50g golden caster sugar
600g double cream
1/2 -3/4 jar good lemon curd
Blackberries, as many as you want
Zest of one lemon (optional)
A little icing sugar to dust
Draw two 20cm circles on baking parchment and put them onto baking sheets. Preheat the oven to 140c. Whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form and then add both sugars a spoonful at a time whisking well until you have a shiny, stiff mass. Divide this between the two baking sheets creating two 20cm discs, smoothing the tops. Bake for one hour swapping the tins half way and then turn off the heat but leave in the oven to cool with the door ajar. When they are cool peel away the parchment and put one onto your serving plate, whisk the cream until just holding its shape and spread half onto the first meringue disc. Dollop lemon curd over the cream and marble it slightly with a knife then scatter over some of your blackberries. Place the second disc on top of this and repeat this time using up the rest of your blackberries. Grate over a little lemon zest if you want and dust with icing sugar. Serves 6.