Meringue with Pear, Chocolate, and Hazelnuts

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Meringues with Pear, Chocolate, and Hazelnuts

Adapted from Jamie Oliver

Coming from a person that isn’t great at following recipe instructions, please follow these carefully!  This recipe is really easy to make ahead and then assemble right before dessert. Jamie Oliver’s book Cook with Jamie has a great section specifically on meringues. Need a good holiday present for the cook in your life? This book is a winner.

Click here to read the rest of the recipe.

Makes about 20 large meringues
 
12 egg whites
3 cups raw cane sugar
3 pinches of salt
300g hazelnuts*, skins removed and toasted
50 oz. pears in juice or syrup*
6 thin slices of ginger
600g dark chocolate*
zest of 2 oranges
Special Equipment: Electric mixer and parchment paper  
*We found these ingredients at Trader Joe’s for a good price.

Preheat your oven to 300°F and cover 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Put your egg whites into a clean bowl, making sure there are absolutely no little pieces of egg shell or egg yolk in them. Whisk on medium until the whites form firm peaks. With your mixer still running, gradually add the sugar and then pinches of salt. Turn the mixer up to the highest setting and whisk for about 7 or 8 minutes, until the meringue mixture is white and glossy. To test whether it’s done you can pinch some between your fingers – if it feels completely smooth it’s ready; if it’s slightly granular it needs a little more whisking. Be sure not to over beat!

Put a dab of the meringue under each corner of the parchment paper to stick it to the pan. Using a spoon, plop a scoop of the meringue on the baking sheet and form it to make a nice peak on the top. Repeat, leaving a little space in between each one, until the baking sheet is full. Place in the preheated oven and bake for an hour or until crisp on the outside and a little soft and sticky inside. If you can’t fit all of the meringues in the oven at the same time, put the bowl with the leftover in the fridge until the others are done cooking.

Drain the jars of pears, reserving the juice from one. Cut the pears in slices. Pour the pear juice into a saucepan with the ginger and warm gently over a medium heat until it starts to simmer. Take off the heat and break the chocolate into the saucepan, stirring with a spoon until it’s all melted. Store in a heatproof container if making ahead and heat up in the microwave for about 30 seconds right before serving.

Take the meringue out of the oven and leave to cool. Smash the toasted hazelnuts in a tea towel on top of a cutting board (the side of a cast iron skillet works well!)

Get all of the ingredients (meringues, chocolate sauce, hazelnuts, pears) prepared in bowls to prepare in an assembly line.  For each plate, take one meringue and drizzle on the chocolate, layer on the pears, then sprinkle the hazelnuts around. The original recipe calls for whipped cream, but I don’t think it needs it, so feel free to add a dollop on top if you would like.  Serve immediately and enjoy!

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