(For 8 servings)
Preparation and cooking time 1½ hours
Not suitable for freezing
For the cream filling
475ml full-cream milk
1 vanilla pod, split in half with seeds scraped out
110g castor sugar
4 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons plain flour
1 tablespoons Maizena cornflour
60g unsalted butter, softened and cubed
For the meringue
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 pinch salt
120g castor sugar
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon Maizena cornflour
1 large pomegranate
- For the cream filling Warm together the milk, vanilla pod, and seeds in a saucepan until simmering. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
- Meanwhile, beat together the sugar, egg yolks, flour, and cornflour in a large heatproof bowl until thick and pale, about 3 minutes.
- Whisk in one-third of the warm milk until incorporated and then whisk that mixture back into the saucepan of remaining milk.
- Cook over a low heat, whisking continually, until thickened, about 2–3 minutes. Remove the pastry cream from the heat and scrape into a bowl. Beat in the softened cubed butter.
- Discard the vanilla pod and cover the surface of the cream with an oiled piece of clingfilm. Chill for at least 3 hours.
- For the meringue Preheat the oven to 130°C (110° fan) |gas 0.5. Grease and line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.
- In a large, clean, oil-free mixing bowl, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff using an electric mixer. Add 1 tbsp of water and continue to beat.
- Continue beating while gradually adding the sugar until it has dissolved; it should feel smooth between your fingers, not grainy.
- Reduce the speed and continue beating while adding the vinegar and cornflour, one after the other. Stop beating when the meringue is thick and glossy.
- Using two damp tablespoons, form the meringue into quenelles between the spoons before dropping onto the baking tray, spaced apart. Bake for about 45–50 minutes until set and dry to the touch.
- When ready, turn off the oven and let the meringues cool in the oven with the door slightly ajar.
- To serve Cut the pomegranate in half and tap out the seeds from both halves. Crush about a quarter of the seeds in a mixing bowl until juicy. Stir in the remaining seeds.
- Carefully peel the meringues away from the paper before arranging in a 23cm wide ring pattern on a serving platter, leaving space in the centre.
- Spoon the cream filling into the centre. Top with the pomegranate seeds and juice before dusting with icing sugar and serving.