Meringue Christmas Wreaths are always fabulous, like a cheeky way of having Eton Mess as a dessert for winter. This recipe is a twist on the classic Christmas wreath by adding a hazelnut and cinnamon meringue and having a refreshing ice-cream instead of the usual whipped cream. But, of course it wouldn’t be right if this hazelnut Christmas wreath wasn’t bejewelled by berries. So if you have made a few fabulous festive wreaths but fancy mixing it up, this is the berry Christmas wreath for you!
The hazelnut meringue could be made the day before. So, on the day all you do is scoop out the ice-cream and lightly press the berries on top. Don’t panic, I found the ice-cream stayed put on the meringue wreath very well.
It doesn’t quite look like a Christmas meringue wreath unless you get a little holly to pop in the bottom of the wreath. We don’t want it to look like a zero or an ‘O’, unless it’s a “Oooo!”, so pinch a sprig off a neighbours hedge – think of it as a win win – you’ll be trimming their hedge a wee bit! If there is no holly to be found, a sprig of mint is a great stand-in.
The nuts add a fantastic crunch alongside the soft ice-cream, chewy meringue and juicy fruit and the cinnamon flavour in the meringue gives a little hint of Christmas spice.
Use only the best quality ice-cream. The kind that melts like cream. After all, cream and berries are a match made in heaven.
Saying that, I have two pretty smart ways to avoid an ice-cream flood over your Christmas table. Firstly, tuck berries in the sides of the ice-cream.
Evidence it helps…
Secondly, the hazelnut wreath has a clever dip running round the middle of it’s top, to act as a bowl, I’ll show you how below.
But, frankly, there is little chance of a disaster because it will be quickly gobbled up by your excited guests. The picture above was the last one of our photoshoot, and I had no complaints about melted ice-cream – partly because they had their mouths crammed full!
For my Hazelnut Christmas Wreath, you will need:
4 medium eggs
200g light brown sugar
1/4tsp ground cinnamon
15g hazelnuts, lightly roasted, cooled and chopped
At least 600g berries (strawberries, cherries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries)
500g quality vanilla ice-cream (you may need a little more – it depends how big your scoops are!
- Preheat the oven to 110ºC and cover a baking sheet with parchment paper
- draw around a dinner plate to mark the outer size you need the meringue to be and a side plate to mark the inner edge.
- Bring some water in a saucepan on a light simmer. The in a heat proof bowl add the egg whites and sugar and place it over the water for 10 minutes stirring occasionally. Don’t let the water touch the bowl. The eggs should get quite hot (about 40ºC)
- At this point add the egg mixture into a freestanding mixture and whisk it on high for about 8 minutes.
- It should be firm and glossy. Sprinkle the cinnamon over the mix and fold it in gently.
- Spoon it onto the parchment paper in the shape of the ring you’ve marked out. Then, use a spoon to spread out the centre into a hollow (see photo below).
- Sprinkle over the hazelnuts.
- Place in the oven for 1 1/4 – 2 hours. It really depends on your oven. They should be dry underneath and soft in the middle.
- Once the meringue is cold, place it onto you serving plate.
- Chop the strawberries and have your holly ready
- Scoop out ice-cream and place the around the top of the meringue.
- Gently press the berries onto the ice-cream and place the holly sprig at the base.
- Casually show your guests, with a big proud smile – then serve immediately!
Share with someone who’s family loves Eton Mess! Ice-cream berries and meringue are such crowd pleasers and make for a relatively light Christmas dessert.
Hazelnut Christmas Wreath not your thing? Another festive dessert is my glorious Black Forest Cookie Cake
Merry Christmas from me and my family to you and yours! x