Saturday, February 9, 2008

Almond Meringue Peach Cake

3 cups caster sugar
1 vanilla bean
12 peaches, halved, stoned

Almond meringue:
10.5 oz caster sugar
10.5 oz flaked almonds, lightly roasted
1 tbs cornflour
8 eggwhites

3 eggs, separated
4.5 oz caster sugar
1.5 pounds mascarpone

Preheat oven to 350 F. For meringue, process 1/4 cup sugar, 8.5 oz almonds and cornflour until finely ground. Using an electric mixer, beat eggwhites until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining sugar, beating until dissolved and mixture is thick and glossy. Fold in almond mixture. Spread over two, 1/2 inch deep, 10 x 12 inch baking paper-lined oven trays. Press remaining almonds over top of 1 meringue. Bake for 30 minutes, swapping trays halfway through, or until firm to the touch and light golden. Cool in trays.
For filling, using an electric mixer, beat egg yolks, 1/2 the sugar and mascarpone until thick. Transfer to a large bowl. Beat eggwhites in a clean bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining sugar, continuing to beat until dissolved and mixture is thick and glossy. Fold eggwhite mixture into mascarpone mixture.
Place sugar, vanilla bean and 3 cups water in a saucepan and stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil. Add peaches. Reduce heat to low. Cover peaches with baking paper and cook, for 20 minutes or until tender. Remove pan from heat and cool peaches.
Turn meringues out and peel off paper. Using a 24cm springform tin as a guide, cut 2 rounds of meringue, reserving scraps for middle of cake. Line base and side of a 24cm springform tin with baking paper. Place a round into base. Drain 8 peach halves. Cut each into 4 slices. Place 1/2 the slices over meringue. Top with 1/2 the mascarpone filling. Cut meringue scraps into pieces and place over mascarpone. Top with remaining peach slices and filling then finish with almond-topped meringue round. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Serve slices with remaining peach halves.

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