Black Forest Meringue

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This bake was created for the BBC Radio Nottingham’s Alan Clifford show on 12th August 2016.

Meringues can be a tricky little beast. Although only comprised of two ingredients, egg whites and sugar, if not prepared correctly you will end up with soggy, lifeless, soft meringues.  Ergh.

If you follow the below recipe word for word, you should be good to go.  The main tips I can give you to help you on your way would be to make sure your egg whites are properly whisked before adding the sugar.  You should be able to hold them over your head!  Never try to whisk egg whites like this by hand, always use an electric whisk.

I like to use both icing sugar and caster sugar for my meringues as I find this creates a lighter product. Only fold the icing sugar in enough to combine though, don’t overwork your mixture otherwise you will start to knock all the air out that you have spent so long whisking in!

Thirdly, make sure you have plenty of time before starting such a project.  Meringues should be baked low and slow for as long as possible.  I am not opposed to leaving the oven on overnight as they bake as the temperature required for baking (50c) is too low to cause any risk of fire.

With these tips and the below recipe, you can knock up this amazing tasting treat for your next Sunday dinner table. Prepare both the meringues and the chocolate pudding in advance so the final assembly should take no more than 10 mins before you get to reap the rewards of your amazing skills!

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For the Meringue

8 large free range egg whites

230g Caster Sugar

200g Icing Sugar

30g Dark cocoa powder or drinking chocolate

For the Chocolate Pudding

8 large free range egg yolks

125g caster sugar

50g plain flour

4tsp corn flour

550ml full fat milk

150g Dark Chocolate

To Assemble

1 can of cherry pie filling – You could make your own but the tinned stuff ROCKS for this recipe

250ml Double Cream – whipped

50g dark chocolate shavings

Cocoa powder to dust

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Pre-heat the oven to 50c.  If your oven will not go that low then put it on the lowest setting available.

Place the egg whites into a large clean bowl, preferably of a stand mixer.  Whisk egg whites until they become stuff a hold their shape well.

With the mixer still running, add the caster sugar a spoonful at a time.  Make sure the sugar is completely dissolved before adding the next spoonful.

Once all the caster sugar has been added, turn the mixer off.  Using a sieve to add a third of the icing sugar to the bowl and gently fold in with a rubber spatula. Repeat until all the icing sugar has been added.

Tip the cocoa powder into the mix and stir to combine.  The more you stir, the more even your mix will become in colour.  I prefer a nice marbled effect so I don’t mix mine thoroughly.

Take two baking trays and line with non-stick paper.  Take one third of the meringue mixture and gently spoon onto one of the prepared baking sheets.  Smooth the meringue out to a circle approximately 10” in diameter.   Repeat with the second baking tray and another third of the mixture.

Place the rest of the meringue into a piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle and pipe small ‘kisses’ onto the remaining space on both baking sheets. The mixture will not spread in the oven so you can squish them next to each other without much trouble.

Place both baking sheets into the oven for a minimum of 5 hours, preferably up to 10 if possible as these are very large meringues!  The longer the bake, the crisper the meringues.

Once baked, remove from the oven and leave to cool completely before peeling off the baking paper.  These will store in an air tight container for several days if you want to prepare this ahead of time.

To prepare the chocolate pudding, place the milk into a saucepan over a medium heat until boiling.  Meanwhile place the egg yolks, cornflour, plain flour and sugar into a large bowl and stir together until combined.

Once boiling, remove the milk from the heat and immediately, but slowly, pour onto the egg mixture whilst whisking thoroughly. Place the mixture back into the saucepan over a medium heat whilst stirring continuously.  The mixture will thicken quickly as it heats up. Once a nice and thick consistency, remove from the heat and stir in the chopped chocolate.  Place into a bowl and cover with cling film before putting into the fridge to cool completely.  This stage can also be done in advance to save time when it comes to serving.

To serve, first whisk the cream to soft peak stages.  Place one of the large meringue circles onto a serving plate (I don’t recommend moving this once assembled) and first cover with half the whipped cream.  Top with half the cooled chocolate pudding then with half the cherry pie filling.

Place the second meringue on top then cover again with the cream, the chocolate pudding and the cherries.  Top with the meringue kisses, some chocolate shavings and a dusting of coca powder.

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