Giant chocolate & hazelnut meringues

Giant chocolate & hazelnut meringues

By
From
James Martin's French Adventure
Serves
5-6
Photographer
Peter Cassidy

The spectacularly situated village of Les Baux-de-Provence is one of the most photographed in France. It has a great restaurant too, the Michelin-starred L’Oustau de Baumanière, where chef Jean-André Charial cooked me an amazing lobster dish. But, chugging back up the hill in the old 2CV, I still couldn’t resist stopping at a pâtisserie for one of these huge meringues!

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient

For the meringues

Quantity Ingredient
5 egg whites
250g caster sugar
1 teaspoon cornflour
100g dark chocolate, broken into chunks

For the filling

Quantity Ingredient
400ml double cream
100g hazelnuts, toasted and chopped

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 100ºC. Line a large baking sheet with baking parchment.
  2. For the meringues, in a really clean, dry bowl of an electric mixer, whisk the egg whites to soft peaks. Gradually whisk in the sugar, a tablespoon at a time, until the whites form stiff peaks. Add the cornflour and whisk again.
  3. Using a large metal spoon, place 10 or 12 large spoonfuls of the meringue on the prepared baking tray. Bake in the oven, on the middle shelf, for 3 hours until dry and crisp. Turn the oven off and leave the meringues inside to cool.
  4. Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of just simmering water – do not let the bottom of the bowl touch the water. Heat gently, stirring, until the chocolate is melted. Remove from the heat and dip the base of each meringue into the melted chocolate. Leave to set on a wire rack with a sheet of baking parchment underneath to catch any drips.
  5. For the filling, whip the cream to soft peaks, then fold through the hazelnuts. Use to sandwich two meringues together just before serving.
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