Mango and Passionfruit Meringue Cake

Growing up, the sound of the primary school home time bell was pure music to my little ears, especially on a Friday afternoon.  Although I never won any track and field events at our school sports day, or came anywhere even remotely close, I was by far the quickest kid out of my chair, through the classroom door and to the port rack to collect my bag each and every Friday afternoon.  The race continued as I quickly scrambled to the school front gate, with my eyes peeled until I spotted my forever dawdling little brother and sister.  My speedy mission continued all the way to the car where mum would be patiently waiting for us.  You see, the thought of a Friday afternoon thrilled me, not only because of the looming weekend involving endless hours of reading my favourite book series, ‘The Babysitters Club’ (I know, how sad but don’t worry my sister teased me incessantly) and netball games, but my parents had each and every Friday at home, no work...which guaranteed this greedy little girl the most extra special, wonderful, amazing dinner AND dessert I knew of.   To me, arriving home each Friday afternoon was filled with so much anticipation, what had Dad been cooking all day?  Was it his mouth watering lasagne, creamy chicken curry, special roast chicken and gravy AND more importantly what amazing dessert had he quipped up for us? 

Lucky for me the wait was over the moment I reached the front door, the second I stepped into our home the gorgeous aromas gave away instantly the fruits of Dad’s labour.  Although I treasured and adored all of Dad’s desserts, I have to say I most looked forward to the moment spring turned to summer, where the days became warmer and longer, summer holidays and Christmas were just around the corner and our family Stradbroke holiday was marked on the calendar.  This was also the time of the year Dad turned his attention to making his famous pavlova topped with whipped cream and seasonal fruits.  To a little girl, pavlova is the most amazing dessert, it resembles all things froufrou and ballet, it’s perfectly white, luscious looking, devilishly sweet, chewy and soft all at the same time and carries with it the grandest ‘ta da’ moment.  Although many birthdays have passed since, I still have that same greedy little girl inside of me craving the ‘ta da’ moment that only a pavlova can provide.  I have now decided though to evolve my recipe just a little and turn my beloved pavlova into a delicious Mango and Passionfruit Meringue Cake, involving lashings of luscious passionfruit mascarpone cream, freshly sliced delicious sweet mangoes and freshly scooped passionfruit syrup. 
This, I believe, truly does one of my most favoured childhood memories justice.  I hope you enjoy this cake as much as I did.  ‘Ta da’, K xxx
Mango and Passionfruit Meringue Cake
4 eggwhites (at room temperature)
1 ½ cups icing sugar
½ almond meal
Mascarpone passionfruit cream –
500g (2 cups) mascarpone
1 tsp vanilla extract
5 passionfruit, pulp removed
1 lemon, zested
175g sweetened condensed milk
3 mangoes, peeled and thinly sliced
Preheat oven to 120°.  Draw 3 x 20cm circles on 3 pieces of baking paper and place on baking trays.
For the meringue, place the eggwhites in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until stiff peaks form.  Gradually add the sugar and beat until the mixture is thick and glossy.  Fold in the almond meal and divide the mixture among the three circles and spread it out evenly with a butter knife.  Cook for 25 minutes or until the meringue is crisp to touch.  Turn off the oven and allow the meringues to cool in the oven for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, using an electric mixer, whisk mascarpone, vanilla, the pulp of 3 passionfruit, lemon zest and condensed milk in a bowl to stiff peaks.  Cover and refrigerate until needed.
To assemble the cake, place one meringue circle on a serving plate and top with 1/3 of the mascarpone mixture and 1/3 of the mango slices.  Repeat layering and finish with the mascarpone cream mixture, topped with the last of the sliced mangoes and remaining passionfruit pulp.
Note, please do not panic if when placing the cream mixture on top of your meringues they start to crumble a little, they’re meant to J  Simply fill any bumps in with the cream, stay calm and carry on.

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