"These Hazelnut Meringues are made extra special by sandwiching them together with delicious caramel cream custard," writes Mercy Fenton in her weekly column. "They can be made any size you wish to suit any occasion - small bites or a full-scale dessert."
4 egg whites
200gr granulated sugar
Pinch kosher salt
150gr lightly roasted hazelnuts
30gr lightly roasted hazelnuts
- Line the base of a 12in x 18in sheet pan or a baking tray with parchment paper. Pre-heat oven to 110C.
- Put the egg whites into the bowl of an electric mixer.
- Add the sugar and a pinch of salt to the egg whites and, using the whisk attachment, whisk on high speed for about 15 minutes, until the egg whites thicken (be patient). They will be rich, thick and shiny when ready.
- Meanwhile, roughly chop 1 cup of hazelnuts. If you’re planning to pipe your meringue with a piping tip, you will need to chop the hazelnuts very fine, so they do not clog up the tip.
- Add 150 gr of the chopped hazelnut pieces to the whipped meringue.
- Fold in gently using a spatula.
- Fit a pastry bag with a large nozzle, or use two spoons to create even mounds of meringue about the size of a table tennis ball. Allow about 1 inch to 1.5 inches apart.
- Sprinkle meringues with chopped hazelnuts if you wish. You can make the mounds as even or rough as you want.
- Bake in pre-heated to 110C oven for 2 hours.
- Then turn off oven and allow to cool in the oven.
3 egg yolks
30gr granulated sugar
12gr cream flour
100gr of caramel condensed milk
170ml of milk
120gr unsalted butter room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
- In a medium sized sauce pan, mix three egg yolks, granulated sugar and 1 tsp. of vanilla extract and whisk until smooth.
- Add the flour and whisk until smooth again.
- Heat the milk until boiling and add a little bit at a time into the egg yolk mixture, whisking thoroughly after each addition.
- Add the caramel condensed milk into the uncooked custard and whisk until most of it is dissolved.
- Set over medium heat and cook while constantly whisking with a whisk or a flat ended spatula to prevent scorching. Once boiled, continue to cook gently for about 90 seconds.
- Allow to cool to room temp.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer. and using a spade attachment. beat the butter until it is really light and fluffy. Remember to scrape the bottom of the bowl several times as you mix.
- Add the pastry cream into the whipped butter in thirds, minimally whipping after each addition. If it is lumpy, keep beating until it comes together.
- Now add this smooth cream to the rest of the cream. Keep doing this until the filling looks smooth.
- Keep the caramel cream in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. Bring to room temperature before using.
20gr chocolate drops (white or dark)
2 tbsp toasted roughly chopped hazelnuts
- Line a shallow baking tray with a sheet of parchment.
- To make the chocolate ganache, pour 2-3 tablespoons of hot cream over 2-3 tablespoons of chocolate chips in proportions of 1:1. Let sit for two minutes, then stir until smooth.
- Once smooth and melted, dip the bases of the meringues into it.
- Place on the parchment paper to set.
- Once the chocolate is set, pipe some of the caramel cream custard onto every second one.
- Then press gently together. Scatter the exposed custard with broken hazelnuts.
- Place on a serving plate and chill for an hour or two before serving.
- These are best eaten the day that they are assembled, but can sit in the fridge for several days, tightly wrapped.
- Note: It’s fine not to dip these in chocolate if you are short of time or not a chocolate lover, they will still be delicious.