|© Catherine Kennedy - |
Beneath the Water
For this Sweet Adventure Blog Hop I thought I'd suggest a way....
...Mont Blanc Meringue Nests.
Supposedly named as the dish resembles the highest European mountain, Mont Blanc when referring to dessert, includes a chestnut purée and is usually topped with whipped cream (I substituted pouring cream in my dish).
The taste of the chestnut cream is very distinctive so when I ran my finger through the cream left on the food processor blades (yes, I still lick the bowl!), childhood memories were reignited of dinner parties round my parents table. The flavour is hard to explain, but a fabulous combination the nutty flavour with a hint of sweetness and a dash of sherry and it balances the sweetness of the meringue perfectly. The meringue nests are a perfect end to a December festive meal, generous and elegant but light at the same time.
Mont Blanc Meringue Nests (adapted from the recipe in an old favourite: Reader's Digest, the Cookery Year)
6 egg whites
330g caster sugar
2 pinches cream of tartar (anyone wondering what this is and why you use it, here is a great post I found from A Pie for a Pie)
100g caster sugar
425ml can of chestnut purée
35ml dry sherry
- Preheat the oven to 100°
- Spray oil and line 2 large baking trays with baking paper. Spray the top of the paper lightly too!
- Beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks.
- Gradually add the sugar and cream of tartar.
- Beat well till all the sugar has been completely combined and the mixture is smooth and silky and holds it's shape.
- Take a large spoonful of mixture and use the back of the spoon to shape into a round base on the baking tray. You need to fit 6 rounds (about 10cm diameter)
- Repeat for all 12. You should still have plenty mixture left.
- Fill a piping bag with the remainder (using the large star nozzle).
- Pipe a ring of rosettes around the circumference of the meringue circles making a nest.
- Place trays in the oven and bake for 2 hours. Then turn off the oven and leave the meringues in there till the oven is cool, preferably over night.
- When I made mine, I sneakily (and v. carefully) moved them all after 2 hours so I knew they hadn't stuck to the baking paper before I left them overnight.
- Store in an air tight container until you serve them, or they might get soggy!
- Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
- Gradually add a spoonful of chestnut puree and beat in well. Be careful not to add too much at once as the mixture might curdle.
- Keep beating until all the chestnut puree is combined.
- Next, add the sherry gradually, one teaspoon at a time, continuing to beat well to incorporate each spoonful. (The process of adding the puree and sherry is much easier in a food processor as I leave the motor running and drop the spoonfuls down the shoot!)
- You can either leave the cream aside or assemble the meringue nests straight away. Just don't assemble the meringue nests until you are ready to serve.
- Spoon the chestnut cream into the meringue nest centre.
- Decorate the plate with raspberries and a drizzle of cream.
- Serve with the pouring cream on the side for those who want more!