Ingredients250g hazelnuts, roasted for 5-10mins on a tray in a hot (200 degree) oven. Shake the tray now and again when in the oven to ensure they don't burn. After roasting, rub skins off and allow to cool.
300g caster sugar plus a tablespoon extra
9 egg whites (as fresh as possible)
600 mls pouring cream
Sherry (my favourite to use is Dandelion Vineyards' Pedro Ximenez, from the Barossa)
Lots and lots of fresh mixed berries (anywhere from two to six punnets)
Grind the cooled, roasted nuts with the sugar and a tablespoon of flour in a food processor until the texture of fine bread crumbs. Set aside.
Whisk egg whites with a pinch of salt using an electric beater until soft peaks form. Gradually add a tablespoon of sugar with the motor running and keep whisking until stiff peaks form.
Line two large baking sheets with baking paper. Carefully but thoroughly fold the ground nuts/sugar into the egg whites. Pour half the egg/nut mixture onto each tray, forming a large circle of mixture on each, bearing in mind that it will spread once in the oven. (The circles will ultimately end up being 30-32 cms in diameter, so if you don't have big enough trays, create three smaller circles). Place in a 140 degree oven for an hour, switch off the heat and then leave to cool in the oven for another hour. If you have a small or very temperamental oven you may need to rotate trays between the top and bottom shelves half way through the initial one hour cooking time.
Meanwhile, pour the cream into a large bowl along with two tablespoons of icing sugar and hand whisk (a balloon whisk is best) until it starts to thicken. Add a few dessertspoons of yoghurt and whisk for another 30 seconds or until the desired thickness is reached. Taste the cream - you may like to add more sugar and/or yoghurt (I use quite a lot of the latter, so that there is a distinct yoghurty tang to the mixture). Add a tablespoon or so of sweet sherry and whisk to combine.
Place one of the meringue biscuits on a large platter or board, and spoon half the cream into the middle. Add the second meringue biscuit and push down slightly to spread the cream to the edges, then pour the remaining cream on top. Lightly dust with icing sugar, then top with berries by letting them tumble naturally from their container. That's it!