Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Lavish cherry chocolate meringues

Last week the Little Monkey's Gran came to visit for a couple of days, and she loves meringues. I had some egg whites in the fridge we needed to use up, so it all just seemed to slot into place.

The awesome thing about this recipe is that it appears decadent (and in fact you could easily pay $4+ for one of these beauties in any number of great cafes around the country) but the recipe is no trickier than your bog standard afternoon tea meringues of yesteryear. Which is to say, if you can whip egg whites you can make it. 

It takes about 10 minutes to put together, and around 75 minutes to bake, so although it's not an insta-dessert there's not a lot of working time (well, assuming you have some kind of electric beater - if you're using a whisk it may take a little longer).

It does rely heavily on freeze-dried fruit, which is a bit of a specialty but easy enough to track down if you know where to look (and well worth looking for). I used the Fresh As stuff, which is readily available from specialty food stores (mine is from Moore Wilson's) or you can buy it online. At about $10 a bag it's not cheap, but it packs a powerful flavour punch and lasts for yonks in the fridge.

The fruit goes in whole and the chocolate I coarsely chopped, so there were plenty of big chunks. 

I split the batch in two and tried both raspberries and cherries, but the raspberries were prone to getting stuck in teeth, which made cherries the preferred option of my tasting panel. You could sub in a different fruit if you prefer, though - so long as whatever you use is dehydrated so that moisture isn't introduced to the meringue it should be fine.

Baking meringues is basically just an exercise in evaporation - these turn out a little chewy, which I love, but if you like a dryer, more brittle meringue bake them for longer.

To serve, we had a generous two meringues each, with a bit of cream whipped with vanilla bean paste. And it was delicious. The meringues are slightly chewy and very flavourful. If you prefer unchewy you can bake them for a while longer.

What flavour combo do you think would work well? Are you a meringue fan?

Recipe adapted from BBC Good Food

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