The oven heat must be carefully watched when making vacherin so that the twice-baked meringue does not brown. Other fruits such as raspberries or kiwi fruit may be substituted for the strawberries.
2 ½cups/625ml simple meringue (previous page)
sugar (for sprinkling)
2 ½cups/625mlItalian meringue
Chantilly cream made with 2cups/500mlheavy cream, 3-4tbspsugar and 2tspvanilla extract
Grease and flour a baking sheet or line it with non-stick parchment paper. Mark an 8in/20cm circle. Heat the oven to 250°F/120°C. Make the simple meringue and put it into the pastry bag fitted with the plain tube. Pipe an 8in/20cm round on the marked circle, and 12-14 fingers 4in/10cm long, patching any gaps in the round so it has no air bubbles. Sprinkle with sugar and bake until crisp and dry, 40-50 minutes. While the meringue is still warm, trim the round neatly with a knife. Leave to cool on the baking sheet.
Set the meringue fingers on a cloth so they do not splinter and, using a small knife, cut a small piece from one end of each to square it. Make the Italian meringue and fill into a pastry bag fitted with a medium star tube.
Set the meringue round on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Pipe a strip of Italian meringue round the rim and press meringue fingers side by side upright into it (level ends down and rounded sides outward). On the outside, pipe a decorative line of meringue down each finger, and add another next to it. Continue piping to conceal the seams between each pair of fingers.
Bake the case in the heated oven until dry, about 1 hour. Transfer it to a rack and leave to cool.
To finish: not more than 3 hours before serving, make the Chantilly cream. Pile half into the prepared meringue case and spread it with the strawberries (or other fruit of your choice), reserving 8-10 for decoration. Fill the remaining cream into a pastry bag with a medium star tube. Cover the strawberries with rosettes of cream and top with the reserved strawberries, raspberries and sprigs of mint. Refrigerate the finished vacherin until ready to serve.