Thursday, August 08, 2013

Star's Favorite Sweets: Meringue with Fresh Berries and Chocolate

As many of you know, I'm a huge fan of meringue (you can find my previous meringue post here).  It is light, fluffy and just the right amount of sweet.  Topped with whipped cream and berries, it is a home run in my book and the perfect summertime treat.  I recently tried out a unique meringue recipe and loved it so much I made it twice in one week!  It oozes with chocolate, cream and fresh berries and is so  SO delicious!  This recipe is quite simple, although a bit time intensive, and is quite the show stopper.  It definitely looks more difficult to make than it actually is.  I promise you will wow your friends with this one!

This recipe is from one of my favorite cookbooks, Apples for Jam, by Tessa Kiros

4 egg whites
3/4 cup superfine sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts or hazelnuts
1/2 cup finely crushed unsalted crackers (I used saltines)

1 cup chopped semisweet chocolate
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup fruit (I used a combination of hulled and quartered strawberries, blue berries, and pitted and halved cherries)
confectioners' sugar, to serve

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.  Cover the bottom of a 9 1/2 inch springform cake pan with a sheet of parchment paper before clipping the side into place.  The paper will stick out of the side, making it easier to remove the meringue later.  Grease the side of the pam (I used non-stick coconut oil spray from Trader Joes).
Whisk the egg whites in a bowl until they lose their foaminess and look like very, thick stiff shaving cream.  Whisk in the sugar bit by it until it is all incorporated, then whisk in the vanilla and the vinegar.  Gently but thoroughly fold in the nuts and crackers.  Spoon into the pan and level the surface, making a slight indent int he middle.
Bake for about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours, until the meringue is lightly golden and coming away from the side of the pan.  Turn off the oven, prop the door just slightly ajar, and leave the meringue inside until it is completely cool.  Take the meringue out of the pan and put it on a serving plate or cake stand.  Remove the paper.
Melt the semisweet chocolate in the top of a double broiler, making sure that the water doesn't touch the bottom of the bowl.  Drizzle over the meringue in a criss-cross pattern and then leave to harden completely.  
Whip the cream with the vanilla until it holds thickly on the beaters.  Dollop onto the meringue, leaving a small border to show off the chocolate.  Dot the berries on top and cover with a gentle shake of confectioners' sugar to serve.  Serves approximately 8 people.  

Give it a try, I promise you won't be disappointed!

Happy Baking,

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