These meringue nests melt in the mouth: just don't leave them lying around because they won't last long. We are not joking.
Orange blossom and chocolate-swirl meringue nests
For foolproof meringues use fresh eggs and finely ground sugar which will help the mixture to hold it’s shape whilst cooking. What-is-more, rubbing a small amount of vinegar over the surface of the mixing bowl beforehand will cut through any grease and strengthen the egg whites.
Makes 12 large nests
100g dark chocolate
4 large eggs
250 grams caster sugar
2generous teaspoons orange blossom water
100g crème fraîche
Zest of one large orange
Pre-heat the oven to 150 degrees (gas mark 2) and line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.
Divide the chocolate up into small, equal sized pieces, and melt over a gentle heat using a bain-marie. Set the liquid mixture to one side and allow it to cool to room temperature.
Separate the eggs. In a freestanding mixer, or using a hand whisk, whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks.
Keeping the mixer on a medium speed, add in the caster sugar, one tablespoon at a time, waiting until each amount has been fully incorporated before adding in the next. If you prefer a more natural coloured meringue, use golden caster sugar, rather than the bleached white variety.
Lastly, add in the orange blossom water and whisk for a further few seconds to ensure it has been evenly dispersed. The finished mixture should be a glossy white and able to hold its shape. If you’re feeling brave check this by tipping the bowl upside down.
Using a small spoon flick a few teaspoons of the melted chocolate across the surface of the raw mixture, but do not stir in. By not allowing the chocolate and meringue to mix, before cooking, you’ll acheieve a beautiful marbled effect once done.
Measure out six meringues, using the top half of chocolate meringue mixture, onto the first baking tray. Try to keep the nests in proportion to each other but don’t worry about making them look to smooth or ‘done’.
Repeat the chocolate flicking process with the reamaining meringue mixture and create another six nests on the second baking tray.
Bake in the pre-heated oven for 45 minutes. After the alloted time turn off the heat but keep the oven door closed, for a further 45 minutes. Allowing the finished meringues to cool slowly will help to prevent cracking or weeping. After the full one hour and a half hours turn the meringue nests out onto a baking tray to cool completely.
In a mixing bowl whisk together the mascarpone, crème fraîche and orange zest. Spoon a dollop of cream mixture onto each meringue, dust with a little cocoa powder and serve immeadiately.
Next week: butternut squash and taleggio cheese risotto