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Celebrity MasterChef winner and Albert Square’s newest resident Lisa Faulkner shares a recipe for chewy, cherry-studded meringue dedicated to her late Grandpa Lely

“I love food. I love cooking it and eating it, and my whole family is food obsessed. My mum [pictured with Lisa and her sister] and grandmothers were all great cooks, so I grew up surrounded by it – we would always be eating breakfast and talking about what we were going to eat for lunch and having lunch but thinking about dinner. It’s the same with my daughter, Billie: we always cook together and her favourite is roast chicken, which I’ve always thought is the ultimate comfort food – it’s like a big hug.

“My mum made everything, but one of my favourites was her pavlova, so I wanted to do a take on her recipe but make it for my lovely Grandpa Lely [pictured ], too (he was called Lesley, but I could never pronounce it when I was little), who had a real thing for cherries. He adored them – fresh, tinned, it didn’t matter – and my mum used to make him hot tinned cherries with ice-cream for pudding.

“Mum was a sucker for an occasion, so even on New Year’s Day when we were sitting around doing nothing, she would make a huge lunch for everyone. She would set the table in the dining room so it looked gorgeous and serve up one of her hazelnut meringues – I’ll always remember those meals. They had a real sense of occasion.”

Lisa Faulkner’s From Mother to Mother: Recipes from a Family Kitchen (Simon & Schuster) is out now

The recipe

Serving suggestion

Try with a glass of bubbly in the summer or as a great Christmas pudding alternative.


Hazelnut, cherry and amaretto meringue cake

Serves 6-8

5 medium egg whites
250g caster sugar
1tsp cornflour
1tsp white vinegar
1tsp vanilla extract
100g toasted hazelnuts, chopped

For the filling
400ml double cream
1tbsp icing sugar
2 vanilla pods, seeds scraped
1tbsp amaretto
400g pitted cherries (tinned or fresh), halved, plus about 25 whole cherries to decorate

Heat the oven to 140°C/gas 1. Line two baking sheets with baking parchment and draw a 23cm circle on each piece of parchment.

In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form, then add the caster sugar in a steady stream while still whisking the whites.

Once they go glossy, fold in the cornflour, vinegar and vanilla extract, then slowly fold in the toasted hazelnuts.

Scoop half the mixture on to each circle and spread out as evenly as possible. Bake in the oven for one-to-two hours, until you can start to peel the baking paper away from the meringue easily, then turn off the heat and leave the meringues to sit in the oven until cool.

This will help prevent them from cracking.

For the filling, whisk the cream with the icing sugar and vanilla seeds until soft peaks form, then stir in the amaretto.

Spread half the cream over one of the meringue bases. Scatter with the halved cherries, then spread most of the remaining cream on the underside of the other base and place on top of the cherries.

Dot the underside of the whole cherries with cream and use this to stick them to the top of the cake to decorate.

Serving suggestion

Try with a glass of bubbly in the summer or as a great Christmas pudding alternative.

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