The hazelnut meringue came with embarrassed apologies. It was late and Michael, the chef at The Poolway House Hotel in Coleford, was reluctant to let such a cracked and crumbled meringue leave the kitchen.

It was all that was left, yet even in its broken state the light brown dessert still looked glossy and inviting. Aromas and flavours of lightly toasted hazelnuts dominated the meringue, and were perfectly balanced by a rich double cream topping. But it was texture not flavour which made this dessert so impressive, its chewy crust hiding a melt-on-the-tongue centre.

This has also been published on the UK Food Bloggers Association website.