Monday, August 12, 2013
A Spicy Chocolate Meringue Intrigue
A light and chewy cinnamon meringue with a luscious splodge of white chocolate cinnamon cream, bound together with fine ribbons of chilli chocolate and of course a strawberry perched on top for a burst of contrasting freshness and acidity. I loved the combinations, as the burst of fire from the chocolate melted into the chewy delicate meringue. You could also make smaller meringues and sandwich them together with the chocolate cream.
The why behind using cayenne in a dessert? This was the other half of the Robertsons challenge for Freshly Blogged: we had to use cinnamon and cayenne in both a sweet and a savoury dish and the sweet one had to include white chocolate. Having a whole load of egg whites left after the Amarula ice cream of the previous week, and because I thought meringues would be the perfect foil for the warm spices, this is what I came up with.
One word of warning – white chocolate can be a tricky thing to work with. Mine was perfect one minute as I was beating it and then the next instant had turned to a bowlful of lumpy curdled mush. I managed to rescue it, by warming a spoonful with some more cream over a low heat and gradually beating the rest back in. But rather beat it by hand in the first place, so that you don’t go past the edge of no return – it’ll be less stressful that way, I promise! It will thicken further as it cools completely.
Yes there was a little tearing of hair out and cursing in my kitchen... and I heard from several other bloggers that they also had near disasters with their chocolate, so don’t worry if it happens to you! Living way too far from the shops to nip out and get more white chocolate I had to find a way of reclaiming mine, and luckily it worked really well and restored my chocolate cream to appropriately luscious creaminess.
Here is my recipe written up for the challenge:
Chocolate Meringue Intrigue
White chocolate is a natural partner with cinnamon, but I also wanted dark chocolate to hold the fierce heat of the cayenne in the dessert. So I came up with silky cinnamon meringues topped with a white chocolate cinnamon cream and swirled with the spicy warmth of dark chilli chocolate, balanced by the freshness of strawberries – a melt in the mouth intrigue of spice, chocolate and sweetness.
4 large egg whites at room temperature
200g caster sugar
40g soft brown sugar
1 tsp Robertsons cinnamon
Pinch cream of tartar
White chocolate cream
80g white chocolate
½ tsp cinnamon
60g dark chocolate (Lindt 70%)
1 tablespoon butter
1/8 tsp Robertsons cayenne
½ tsp Robertsons cinnamon
Preheat oven to 150C
Sift together sugars, spice and cream of tartar.
Whisk egg whites to firm peaks.
Add sugar mixture one tablespoon at a time, whisking until it is incorporated. The meringue should be glossy and form peaks.
Spoon mixture in heaps onto two trays lined with baking paper.
Makes 12 large meringues.
Bake for 45-50 minutes until firm. Switch off heat and leave to cool in the oven.
White chocolate cream
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Allow to cool. Stir in cream and cinnamon. Whisk by hand until the mixture thickens (beware, If over beaten it separates). It thickens further when cooled completely.
Chilli chocolate swirl
Melt dark chocolate with butter in a double boiler. Stir in the spices. Allow to cool but use within the hour as it will set hard.
Assemble the meringues
Spoon a generous dollop of white chocolate cream on top of each meringue. Place half a strawberry on top. Swirl with the dark chocolate in spiral ribbons. These can be assembled a few hours in advance or eaten straight away.
This is the other half of the last challenge that I made for the Freshly Blogged competition. My Hot Tuscan Crostini I’ve already posted about.
Adieu Freshly Blogged. It was fun while it lasted and good luck to the rest of the fab food blogging contestants!