Sunday, September 20, 2009

Meringue with Pears, Hazelnuts and Chocolate Sauce

Rest assured, I am still here. I have been very bad with posting. I haven't been well, and so the kitchen is collecting cobwebs. Hopefully, I will be back soon with goodies to share. And there is still the KJ Kitchen Aid Challenge. The finish line is in sight!!!

In the meantime I have searched the archives, or should I say archive, for a post. This pear hazelnut meringue was looking awfully sad rattling around in there all on its loneseome. It was time to release it to the world.

Shame on me for keeping it hidden for so long, because it is so good. I adore meringue in any form. But the pear chocolate sauce is an added bonus. It is so, so delicious.

There is nothing particularly tricky here. The most important thing in making meringue is to keep beating until the sugar is dissolved in the egg whites. Maximum result for minimal effort.

Meringue with Pear, Hazelnuts and Chocolate Sauce
(adapted from Jamie at Home)

4 large egg whites
200gm golden caster sugar
pinch of salt
100gm hazelnuts, toasted
2x400gm tins of pears, in syrup
optinal: 2 pieces stem ginger, chopped
200gm dark chocolate
400ml double cream
50gm icing sugar, sifted
1 vanilla pod, halved and seeds scraped
zest 1 orange

Whisk egg whites to firm peaks. Gradually add the sugar and salt. Whisk at high speed for 7-8 minutes, until the mixture is white and glossy and all the sugar is dissolved.

Spoon the meringue onto a baking tray lined with baking paper. Place in a 150C oven and for an hour, until crisp on the outside and a little soft and sticky on the inside. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

Drain the pears and reserve the syrup. Slice the pears into thin wedges. Pour the syrup into a saucepan with the ginger and warm gently to simmering point. Take off the heat and add the chocolate, stir until melted.

Whip the cream, vanilla seeds and icing sugar to soft peaks.

Smash the hazelnuts to small pieces. Scatter half over the top of the meringue. Spoon over half the cream and drizzle with some of the chocolate sauce. Divide most of the pear pieces over the top. Pile on the rest of the cream and pears. Drizzle over more sauce and the rest of the hazelnuts. Sprinkle over the orange zest. Serve straight away.

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