Valentine Cherry Meringues

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I did a lot of research into finding the perfect meringue recipe. As a general rule 50g of sugar per egg white is used. The addition of corn flour and vinegar ‘strengthens’ the egg white, making it more stable giving a more chewy fluffier marshmallow centre and the cooking time can be shortened.  Adding brown sugar gives an even chewier centre (however no more than half the total amount of sugar used should be brown).  Cream of tartar makes a sturdier meringue that is less prone to weeping and more tolerant to a higher cooking temperature.  This is why cream of tartar is often added to meringue when making puddings like lemon meringue pie.

So what is the perfect meringue?  Well, that all depends on how you like your meringue.  I like a chewy meringue so I have put together the following recipe. I hope you like it to!!

This recipe will make about 8 meringue rounds which will serve 4.  I piped mine into heart shapes, but you can do any shape.

You will need:

For the meringue

  • 2 egg whites
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 25g brown sugar
  • ½ tsp corn flour
  • 1tsp vinegar
  • Red food colouring (optional)

For the chocolate curls:

  • 75g dark cooking chocolate

For the cream:

  • 150ml double cream
  • 40g icing sugar

For the cherry jam:

  • 100g fresh/frozen cherries (stoned weight)
  • 100g sugar
  • 1tbsp kirsch optional

Method:

The Jam and the Chocolate Curls can be done ahead of time and even the day before.

The Jam

  • I used frozen cherries from the supermarket. Allow them to defrost then gently heat the cherries and the sugar in a pan over a low heat. Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn.
  • Once the juice has started to flow increase the heat to boil add the kirsch and simmer for 20mins or until the juices have thickened slightly.
  • You don’t want a think jam. Remove from the heat and cool in a heat proof container (with a lid on if making the day before).

The Chocolate curls

  • These are really easy and look fantastic. Heat the chocolate in bain-marie until melted. Pour the melted chocolate on to a non-porous surface; I used the back of glass dish/plate, if you have a marble chopping board that would be perfect.  Chill in the fridge until firm.
  • Hold a sharp knife at 90degree angle and scrape the knife over the chocolate towards you. You will get a curl of chocolate in front of the knife. Put this in a bowl with a lid and keep in the fridge until you are ready to use it.  Repeat this process until all the chocolate has been used or until you have got curled all you can.

The Cream:

  • Whisk the cream and the icing sugar together until it holds its shape. Keep in the fridge until you are ready to use.

Meringues:

  • Line two baking sheets with grease proof paper. Draw the shapes you require – that way all the meringue will be about the same shape and size, I drew round a heart shaped cookie cutter.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 120 degrees
  • In a really clean bowl, whisk the egg white until fluffy.
  • Add the sugar a spoonful at a time whisking well after each addition, until all the sugar has been used.
  • With the whisk still running add the corn flour and vinegar.
  • Your egg whites should be shiny and hold it shape in peeks.
  • If you want, now is the time to add the food colouring – I chose valentine red. Dip a cocktail stick into the pot of food colouring to coat the stick, then swirl the stick in the meringue mix, to give streaks of red rather then a block colour.
  • Put the meringue mixture into a piping bag with a large nozzle and pipe the meringue onto the tray following the prepared shapes.
  • Cook for about 30mins or until the meringue is firm to touch on the outside.
  • Allow to cool on the paper on a cooling rack.

Assembly:

  • This needs to be done just before serving, but will only take a few moments.
  • Although you have followed the guide shapes, each meringue will look slightly different. Try and pair the meringues so that you have two that are very similar in size and shape.
  • Carefully take each meringue off the greaseproof paper, place one meringue on the plate you will be serving on, flat side down. Pipe the cream over it, drizzle a little of the jam, sprinkle the chocolate curls. Place another meringue on top (so you have a meringue sandwich). Pipe a little more cream on the top meringue, drizzle the jam and sprinkle the chocolate curls.
  • Repeat this process with all 4 servings and your meringues are ready to eat.
  • Gaze lovingly at your dinner partner and enjoy!
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