4 egg whites
200g sugar, plus 2 teaspoons for the cream
a few drops of vanilla extract, plus ¼ teaspoon for the cream
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
500ml thin (whipping) cream
30g dark chocolate, chopped not too fine
250g small sweet strawberries, rinsed and thoroughly patted dry
125g raspberries
50g wild strawberries

This is the cake that we make for celebrations. I love it with strawberries, raspberries and a handful of wild strawberries when I can get them. The beauty here is being able to get this all done beforehand, and then just pulling it out of the freezer to soften 20 minutes or so before you cut and serve it, piling the fresh berries and scattering the chocolate on. It is also nice when it has thawed completely. Leftover cake can be frozen with the berries and chocolate on.

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1.Preheat your oven to 130°C.
2.Line 2 baking trays with baking paper and draw a 24cm circle on each with a pencil.
3.Flip the paper over so the pencil mark won’t go on the meringues.
4.Whisk the egg whites in a wide bowl until they are thick, bright, white and glossy.
5.Start adding the 200g sugar in small amounts, whisking in well to incorporate, until you feel like you are really exaggerating.
6.Lastly add a few drops of vanilla and the vinegar, whisking until the mixture is very stiff and ribbony.
7.Divide the mixture in half with a rubber spatula, then scoop half out onto each circle.
8.Now using a thin metal spatula, lightly spread it out to fit just inside the drawn circle, flattening and smoothing the tops.
9.Put both in the oven and bake for 45 minutes. Swap the trays around and bake for another 45 minutes until pale and crisp.
10.Turn the oven off. Leave the meringues in with the door closed for half an hour, then remove and cool completely.
11.When the meringues have totally cooled, whip the cream until thick and peaky.
12.Add the 2 teaspoons of sugar and ¼ teaspoon of vanilla and continue whipping until firm peaks form.
13.Fold in half of the chocolate bits, keeping the rest aside to decorate the top.
14.Put one of the meringues onto a dish suitable for freezing.
15.Spread over half of the cream to just about the edges.
16.Top with the other meringue disc and spread the remaining cream on top using a thin spatula.
17.Freeze until solid. If you can cover it without disturbing the cream, do so.
18.To serve, remove from the freezer about 20-30 minutes before serving depending on the weather.
19.Prepare the berries by removing the hats from the bigger strawberries and halving them.
20.Leave some smaller ones whole and some with their green hats on.
21.Leave the raspberries and wild strawberries uncut.
22.Pile the berries on top of the cake and scatter the rest of the chocolate pieces over.
23.Cut into chunky slices carefully with decisive (not sawing) motions.

Images and text from
Now & Then by Tessa
Kiros, photography by
Manos Chatzikonstantis.
Murdoch Books RRP $65.