1. Set oven to 135 degrees. Line a large sheet with baking paper, draw 20cm circle on the paper then flip over.
2. In a medium bowl. combine the corn flour and caster sugar.
3. Take a large, really clean mixing bowl. Egg whites don’t like being contaminated so this is important! You can make sure it’s squeaky clean by taking a slice of lemon and smearing it inside the bowl, then dry with kitchen towel.
4. Crack in the egg whites and vinegar and beat with an electric whisk, starting slowly, then gently speeding up until stiff peaks form (1-2 minutes). Add the caster sugar 1 tbsp at a time, beating for 1 minute between additions until the whites are stiff and glossy. If you rub some of the mix between your thumb and forefinger and it doesn’t feel grainy, then the meringue mixture is ready, otherwise, continue to beat until smooth.
5. Fill a large piping bag fitted with the star tip. Use some of the meringue mixture to stick the baking paper to the baking sheet. Then using the circle as a guide, pipe the mixture into 8 meringue nests, ensuring each nest touches the next. Make sure you pipe in such a way that there is a divot in the middle. Use the remaining mix to pipe little stars into the meeting points, which will make the whole wreath stronger when you take it out.
6. Transfer the wreath to the oven and bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes, at which point the meringue may have risen and slightly changed colour.
7. Turn off the oven and let it cool overnight (I always do my meringues last thing).
8. Rinse the gooseberries and cut off any little stalk remaining. Put in a pan with the icing sugar and put on a low heat until just cooked (they should still hold their shape). Squeeze in the lemon, stir and check sweetness. They should still be a little tart, but add more icing sugar if necessary. Allow to cool.
9. In a clean bowl, whip up the double cream until soft peaks form (do not overwhip!). Pipe the cream into the middle of the nests then dress with the gooseberries, then the strawberries (once the strawberries are rinsed, hulled and halved). Finish by adding edible flowers if you have them and dust with icing sugar before serving.
8 Gluttons (1 Wreath)
1 tbsp cornflour
1 ½ cups caster sugar
6 large egg whites
1 tsp white vinegar
350g ripe gooseberries
½ a lemon
2 tbsp icing sugar (or to taste)
Note: Use seasonal fruit to dress the meringue. You can also pipe this meringue into letters, the perfect birthday treat; or pipe in two batches and sandwich the filling (you will need to reduce baking time by about 1/3).