Brown-sugar meringues with hazelnut butterscotch sauce
- May 2016
- Makes 4-6
- Hands-on time 20 min, oven time 2 hours, plus cooling
John Whaite uses brown sugar to give his meringues a delicious caramel taste. Making your own meringues is far more impressive than buying shop-bought.
- 33.6g (18.7g saturated)
- 45.4g (45.2g sugars)
- 4 large free-range egg whites
- 275g dark brown muscovado sugar
- 5g cocoa powder
- 40g hazelnuts
- 50g unsalted butter
- 250ml double cream
- Heat the oven to 160°C/140°C fan/gas 3. Line 2 baking sheets with baking paper. Put the egg whites into a heatproof mixing bowl and add 225g of the sugar. Set the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water and whisk (this is far easier done using a handheld electric mixer). Whisk constantly until the sugar has dissolved, then as soon as the mixture feels slightly hot on the finger, remove the bowl from the heat and keep whisking vigorously until you have a very smooth, stiff meringue. This will take a good 5 minutes or so.
- Blob 4 large piles of meringue (or 6, see tip), well spaced, onto the baking sheets and with the back of a spoon fashion them into little indented nest shapes. Sift over a sprinkle of cocoa powder, then put the meringues into the oven, reducing the heat to 140°C/120°C fan/gas 1. Bake for 2 hours, then turn off the oven and open the door slightly to allow the meringues to cool and crisp inside.
- Put a dry frying pan over a high heat, then toss the hazelnuts in the hot pan for a minute or so until gently toasted; they should smell of hazelnuts, but not bitterly so. Chop the nuts roughly and put into a bowl.
- For the sauce, put the remaining 50g sugar into a medium saucepan with the butter and 50ml double cream, bring to a boil, stirring, and as soon as it’s velvety smooth and well mixed, remove from the heat.
- To serve, whisk the remaining 200ml double cream until soft and floppy. Spoon the whipped cream into the meringue nests, then drizzle over the sauce and scatter over the toasted hazelnuts.
These are big for 4 people, so if you’re serving 6, feel free to make 6 meringues. They’ll take the same amount of time to cook – they might be a touch more crisp, but the insides will still be soft and mallowy.
The meringues will keep for up to 48 hours in a sealed container in a cool room.
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