1 large handful strawberries
2 large handfuls raspberries
2 large handfuls blackberries
2 large handfuls blueberries
Preheat the oven to 130C/265F/Gas 0.5.
For the meringues, separate the egg yolks from the whites, setting the yolks aside to use for another recipe (such as creme brulee or custard).
In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites with an electric whisk until beginning to form peaks. Add the vinegar and continue to whisk.
Add the sugar, a little at a time, whisking the eggs constantly, until all the sugar has been used up and the eggs are white, stiff and glossy. As a rule use 60g/2½oz sugar per medium egg white used.
Prepare a baking tray by lining it with non-stick baking parchment. Spoon out healthy dollops of the meringue mixture at widely spaced intervals onto the paper. Place the meringues into the oven to bake for at least two hours. When cooked, cool on a wire rack. (Store the meringues in an airtight container if you're not using them straightaway.)
While the meringues are cooking, prepare the berries. First make a stock syrup. Place the water and caster sugar into a heavy-based pan. Add the spices and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10-12 minutes.
For the berries, hull the strawberries and cut them in half. Place them in a heatproof bowl. Place each of the other types of berry (raspberries, blackberries and blueberries) into separate heatproof bowls. Pour the hot stock syrup (and spices) directly over the berries in their bowls.
Cover with cling film and poke air holes in the top of each to allow the steam to escape as the berries lightly cook. Allow to cool, then place in the fridge.
For the Chantilly cream, place the cream into a bowl. Cut the vanilla pod in half lengthways with a sharp knife and scrape out the seeds. Add the seeds to the cream.
Whip the cream until it forms soft peaks. Add icing sugar, to taste, and mix in gently.
To serve, spoon some of the berries and spices into each serving bowl. Spread some of the Chantilly cream onto the flat side of a meringue and place, cream-side up, on top of the berries. Place another meringue on top, making a 'sandwich'. Spoon some juice from the berries around and serve.
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