Caramel meringues dipped in chocolate & hazelnuts

by Celia Harvey | Cuisine issue #155
Serves: Makes 20-30Ceila Harvey creates star-attraction modern meringues and pavlovas

Caramel sauce
100g caster sugar
30g butter, cubed
40ml cream

Put 60ml water and the sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Don’t stir – swirl the saucepan to help the sugar dissolve. Once dissolved, increase the heat and continue to swirl the pan occasionally until the caramel is a deep mahogany colour. Remove from the heat and carefully whisk in the butter and cream. Set aside to cool.

For the meringues
12 egg whites, at room temperature
500g caster sugar
2 teaspoons white vinegar
2 teaspoons cornflour
300g milk chocolate, coarsely chopped
150g hazelnuts, toasted, peeled, finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 120°C fan bake and line 2 baking trays with baking paper.

In a scrupulously clean stainless steel bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff peaks form.

Continue to beat while slowly adding the sugar, 50g-100g at a time, beating until thick and glossy. Rub a little of the mix between your fingertips to check that all the sugar has dissolved.

Sprinkle the vinegar and cornflour over the meringue and gently fold in.

Gently fold the cooled caramel through the meringue – just enough so that ripple patterns appear.

Pipe small meringues on to the prepared baking trays – you should get 12-15 on each tray. Use the back of a spoon to neaten them if necessary.

Bake for 1 hour 20 minutes or until crisp but not coloured. Turn off the oven and let the meringues cool completely, with the door closed.

Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir occasionally until melted.

Dip the cooled meringues in the melted chocolate then roll the bases in the chopped hazelnuts.

Stack the meringues in a pyramid on a large platter then serve.

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