300ml tub thickened cream
1 tablespoon caster sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
125g punnet fresh raspberries
Gold leaf, to decorate (See Tip)
2 egg whites, at room temperature
½ cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon strawberry and cream essence
Liquid or gel pink food colouring, to tint
Using an 8 ½cm heart-shaped cookie cutter, trace four shapes, about 5cm apart, onto each of two sheets of baking paper. Lightly grease two oven trays and line with paper, trace-side down.
To make meringue hearts, beat egg whites in a small bowl of an electric mixer until frothy. Gradually add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until sugar is dissolved. Continue beating for a further 3 minutes, or until thick and glossy. Beat in essence. Tint with colouring.
Transfer meringue to a piping bag fitted with a 7mm star nozzle. Pipe meringue around the traced heart-shapes on trays, then pipe meringue to fill the centres.
Cook in a very slow oven (120C) for about 50 minutes, or until dry and crisp. Turn off oven. Cool meringues in oven with door ajar for 30 minutes. Remove. Cool completely on trays.
To serve, beat cream, sugar and vanilla in the small bowl of an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with the same, clean 7mm star nozzle.
Place meringues on plates. Pipe cream over the centres. Top with raspberries. Decorate with gold leaf.