I reduced the original recipe, which called for 5 egg whites, but followed the rest of the instructions to a T. I roasted the sugar, until it started to melt, then slowly added it to the already-whisking whites. I watched in wonder as the mixture transformed into a swirling, glossy cloud-like mass. By the time it was ready, it was beautifully thick and marshmallowy. I decided to vamp my meringues up a bit by adding some grated dark chocolate and finely chopped walnuts. I stirred the additions into the mixture, right at the end, before dolloping mounds of the fluffy meringue onto a lined baking tray.
Now meringues are not a quick thing to make. I had to wait for them to bake and then cool overnight, uncertain as to whether my patience would be rewarded with utter delight or disappointment.
This morning, I opened the oven door and was greeted by a lovely sight - an army of pretty little meringues all lined up and ready to be eaten. But, the proof is in the pudding - I (obviously) had to eat one to see if they'd turned out alright. It was better than alright - the meringue was sweet and delicate with a lovely underlying nuttiness and just a hint of chocolate.
Rather than eat them all as is, I turned mine into a bit of an experimental tiramisu-inspired dessert. To go with the chocolate and walnut meringues, I made a coffee and vanilla whipped cream and a dark chocolate ganache. I served this up by topping a spoonful of the cream with a meringue, a generous drizzle of ganache and a sprinkling of chopped walnuts. A tower of decadent layers, each delicious on their own but even better together. Sinful - but oh so good.
Makes 9 meringues.
2 egg whites
120g caster sugar
1 wedge of lemon
30g dark chocolate, grated
30g walnuts, finely chopped
- Preheat the oven to 200'C and spread the sugar out on a baking tray, lined with baking paper. When the oven's ready, put the tray in the oven for about 5 minutes, until the sugar just begins to melt at the edges (make sure you watch it - you don't want the sugar to caramelise).
- Meanwhile, separate your eggs if you haven't already done so. Make sure your mixing bowl is clean and dry, then wipe the inside of the bowl, and the whisk, with the wedge of lemon.
- As soon as the sugar starts to melt, start whisking the egg whites at a high speed.
- Get the sugar out of the oven, then slowly add it to the still-whisking egg whites.
- Leave the mixer to do its job for 10 - 15 minutes, until the meringue has completely cooled down and turned really thick and glossy. Turn the oven down to 110'C.
- When the meringue's ready, turn off the whisk and gently fold in the grated chocolate and the walnuts.
- Line a baking tray with parchment and then spoon the mixture (leaving some space between the meringues as they'll spread out slightly as you cook them).
- Bake for an hour and a half, then turn off the heat and leave the meringues to cool down in the oven for another hour and a half, or overnight.
150ml double cream
30g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon instant coffee
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon of icing sugar
- To make the ganache, bring 50ml of double cream to the boil, turn off the heat and stir in the dark chocolate - the warmth of the cream will melt the chocolate and you'll end up with a thick, glossy sauce.
- Dissolve the instant coffee and vanilla in a teaspoon of boiling water and a splash of the cream. Add the rest of the cream, the icing sugar (sifted) and whip until it forms soft peaks.
- Divide the coffee flavoured cream between 2 bowls. Top with a meringue, then a generous amount of chocolate ganache. Finish off the dessert with a few finely chopped walnuts.