This is a good way to enjoy fruit in winter.
Peel and core apples, cut into small pieces and place in a saucepan with the water.
- Add the sugar and vanilla sugar and mix well. Cover and cook over a medium heat for about 10mins, stirring with a spatula after 5mins
- Push through a fruit press or blend to obtain a smooth consistency.
- Turn onto a large dish and smooth with a spatula.
- For the meringue: Whip the egg whites till stiff, add the icing sugar and beat together for a further 2mins. Fold in the grated lemon zest.
- Pre-heat the oven to 110°
- Decorate the apple compote with the meringue by piping it with a fluted nozzle. (If you don’t have an icing bag, turn the meringue onto the apple levelling it with a spatula and sprinkle with sugar crystals.
- Cook for 1½ hrs, checking from time to time. The meringue will turn a golden colour, and rather than becoming hard, the humidity of the apple enables it to retain a soft and melting consistency.
Variation: Substitute quinces for the apples or use half and half.