I believe that there are those who love to cook and those who love to bake, and one generally knows into which culinary camp one falls. I am not an intuitive baker, but I can summon up the inspiration when pushed. On the other hand, my father-in-law is a natural in the dessert department, and for many years was the majordomo of the mandatory Sunday lunch 'pud'. One of the desserts for which Stratton is renowned, in my mind anyway, is his legendary sweet and chewy Almond Meringue and Whipped Cream Torte. Invited this past weekend for a sensational Sunday lunch, what was waiting in the wings but Stratton's decadent dessert. Two layers of light and chewy almond meringue filled and finished top and sides with pillows of whipped cream, and garnished with toasted slivered almonds and fresh raspberries, it was truly a triumphant end to a fabulous meal!
Stratton's Almond Meringue & Whipped Cream Torte
4 egg whites
9 oz fruit sugar
2 or 3 drops vanilla essence
1/2 tsp white vinegar
4 1/2 oz ground almonds
1 250 ml carton of whipping cream, whipped
2 oz sliced almonds
Beat the egg whites until they become very stiff then gradually beat in the fruit sugar. Continue to beat until very stiff, adding the vanilla and vinegar. Fold in the ground almonds, then pour the batter into two greased 8-inch non-stick cake tins and bake at 375°F for 25-30 minutes. Check with a toothpick to see if the centres have firmed up okay, then turn out onto a wire rack and let cool.
To build the dessert, place one of the cake layers on a serving plate and top with stiff whipped cream. Place the second cake on top and cover the top and sides with the remaining whipped cream. Dust the top with icing sugar and sprinkle the top and sides of the torte with browned slivered almonds and garnish of fresh raspberries.