Hello, gorgeous! This is the first time I’ve ever cooked a meringue and I have to say, it’s pretty simple and completely amazing. Beautiful to look at and a delight to eat. A well-baked meringue is a thing of beauty: crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside. I used almonds instead of hazelnuts. The pears were nice, but honestly, I might try citrus or a berry medley. Really, any fruit and any nuts and any sauce will rock this dessert. Everyone will think you’re an amazing chef, but you’ll know…it really wasn’t that hard! Recipe is courtesy of the wonderful Jamie Oliver.
Tray-Baked Meringue with Pears, Cream, Toasted Hazelnuts and Chocolate Sauce
- 4 egg whites
- 1 1/4 cups raw sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 4 ounces hazelnuts, no skins
- 28 ounces canned pear halves, with juice
- 2 inch ginger thin slice (optional) (adds great zing)
- 7 ounces bittersweet chocolate
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 2 ounces confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 1 vanilla bean scraped
- Zest of 1 orange
1. Preheat your oven to 300F and line a baking sheet with wax paper.
2. Put egg whites in clean bowl and whisk on medium until firm peaks are formed. With mixer still running, gradually add raw sugar and salt. Turn mixer up to highest setting and whisk for 7-8 minutes until meringue is white and glossy. To test, pinch some between your fingers–should be completely smooth, not grainy at all.
3. Dot each corner of the wax paper with a bit of meringue, then turn over so it sticks to the baking sheet. Spoon meringue onto paper. Use back of spoon to shape and whirl into rectangle. Place in preheated oven and bake for 1 hour or until crisp on the outside and soft and sticky inside. At the same time, bake hazelnuts in the over for an hour or until golden brown (use separate baking sheet).
4. Drain the pears, reserving syrup from one can. Cut each pear half into three slices. Pour the syrup into saucepan with ginger and warm on medium heat until it starts to simmer. Take off the heat and break chocolate into it, stirring until melted.
5. Take meringue and hazelnuts out of oven and cool. Then place meringue on serving platter. Whip cream with confectioner’s sugar and vanilla until you have smooth, soft peaks. Smash hazelnuts in a kitchen towel and sprinkle half on top. Spoon over half the cream and some chocolate sauce. Divide most of the pear pieces over top. Pile on rest of cream and pears. More chocolate sauce. More hazelnuts. Grate orange zest on top. Serve immediately. If you make this in advance, prepare ingredients ahead of time and assemble just before serving (may need to reheat chocolate over double boiler).