Meringues with poached pears and warm chocolate sauce

Meringues with poached pears and warm chocolate sauce

Meringues with poached pears and warm chocolate sauce

Sat, Feb 8, 2020, 05:55

   
  • Serves: 4
  • Cooking Time: 90 mins
  • Course: Dessert
  • Cuisine: Irish

Ingredients

  • For meringues:
  • 2 egg whites, room temperature
  • Pinch salt
  • 110g caster sugar
  • For poached pears:
  • 4 firm Conference pears
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 750ml water (or 350ml white wine and 300ml water)
  • 175g caster sugar
  • To serve:
  • 75ml cream, freshly whipped (plus extra for sauce)
  • 25g flaked almonds, toasted
  • 75g dark chocolate
  • 50ml cream

Method

1 Preheat fan oven to 100 degrees Celsius. Grease and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2 Using an electric whisk and a spotlessly clean bowl, whisk egg whites and salt to stiff peaks (when whisking, start on a low speed, increasing to high as soon as the eggs start to froth).

3 Add the sugar in two to three batches while continuously whisking on a medium-high speed, ensuring the sugar is fully incorporated between batches. Whisk for another five minutes until the sugar has fully dissolved and the mixture is stiff and holds its shape.

4 To create four to six meringues without using a piping bag, use two clean dessert spoons, and pile large mounds of stiff meringue mixture on to the parchment paper, leaving a half width between them (keeping the mound high, rather than wide will make it is easier to shape).

5 Shape from the base using the back of a clean spoon, working upwards to a peaked top.

6 Place in the middle shelf of the preheated oven. Bake for 1¾-2 hours. Once baked, turn off the oven and leave the meringues inside to cool fully.

7 For poached pears: peel the pears, keeping their stalks intact. Squeeze lemon juice over them to prevent their skin discolouring.

8 Place the pears in a small saucepan and pour in the water and sugar. Bring the liquid to a simmer over a medium heat to ensure the sugar has dissolved, then reduce to a very low heat, cover with a lid and continue to cook the pears for 1 hour (or until tender).

9 Once tender, remove the pears from the hot liquid and set them aside to cool completely.

10 For warm chocolate sauce: chop the chocolate into small pieces and place in a bowl. Heat the cream to just below boiling point before pouring it over the chocolate pieces. Leave to sit for 60 seconds then stir the hot cream through the chocolate to make a smooth glossy sauce.

11 Slice across the base of each pear so they stand upright. Serve with meringues, warm chocolate sauce, flaked almonds and whipped cream.

Variation: To make a tasty syrup, use wine instead of water, add aromatic spices such as cinnamon or star anise and boil the liquid to reduce it.