Friday, 23 December 2016

Chestnut & Chocolate Meringue Sandwiches

Based on the classic Mont Blanc dessert, these small & dainty meringue sandwiches include chocolate, chestnuts and cream to create a moreish homemade treat perfect for the party season
 
These Chestnut & Chocolate Meringue Sandwiches are very moreish and perfect for the party season.

From being a child, one of the regular foods we would graze upon during the colder months was Chestnuts.  Mum and Dad would buy them fresh in the red coloured nets from the local greengrocer or supermarket from bonfire night through to the Christmas season.  Invariably it was Dad who would prepare them for being roasted in the oven by slashing their shell with a sharp knife, a task back then that I was understandably not allowed to do.

Those chestnuts were delicious.  Warm, sweet, nutty and flavoursome.  Somehow they always seemed such a treat as we ate them together by the fire.  And yet, even though we had them frequently, we never used sweet chestnuts in a recipe, sweet or savoury.   So, over these past couple of years I've began to include this popular nut in some of our seasonal meals, such as in this Christmas Stuffed Butternut Squash and recently a Vegetarian Christmas Plait.

How to make Chestnut and Chocolate Meringue Sandwiches

Chestnuts, being naturally sweet and nutty, lend themselves to bakes and desserts too.  Our Chestnut and Chocolate Meringue Sandwiches are loosely based on the classic Mont Blanc, but being dainty in size they are perfect for the party season.  They'd be great piled high on a small serving plate or cake stand for guests to help themselves as they mingle and enjoy the festivities of Christmas and the New Year celebrations.



These homemade meringue sandwiches are delectable and very moreish.  The meringues themselves are crisp on the outside but chewy and marshmallowy inside, and the chestnut cream filling delicate and flavoursome, which works well with the chocolate and sweet meringue.   They are the perfect size to pop straight in the mouth without fear of getting cream everywhere and spoiling makeup or an outfit.  Though, if you're particularly trying to impress and be dainty and feminine, they can easily be un-sandwiched and enjoyed in two bites. 

Chestnut and Chocolate Meringue Sandwiches

The small meringue kisses were left naked in colour (though if you prefer you could introduce a colour to them), and their bases were dipped in melted chocolate.  Not only does the chocolate introduce a flavour which works very well with the sweet chestnut, it also acts as a barrier preventing the meringue sandwiches from spoiling and becoming soft had they been in direct contact with the cream filling for the duration of a party.

Chestnut and Chocolate Meringue Sandwiches, party season food.

Our meringue sandwiches with chocolate and chestnut cream require relatively little hands on time, maybe about 20 minutes in total, but they do require an extended period of time in the oven to allow them to very slowly cool once baked.  Happily the meringues themselves can be made a day or two ahead of time, as long as they are stored in an airtight container, allowing the oven to be used for other party food bakes on the day itself.  A couple of hours before the party the meringue kisses can be finished with the chocolate and sandwiched with the chestnut cream.   Alternatively, you could consider using shop bought meringues though these are usually crisp throughout rather than having a marshmallowy centre and are likely to be too large to be served as finger food. 


Before we get onto the recipe, all that remains for me to do is to wish you a very merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  Whatever you have planned both Mr E and I hope you have a wonderful time and we look forward to bringing you more delicious bakes next year on Only Crumbs Remain.


So, let's get to it and bake.

 






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Chestnut & Chocolate Meringue Sandwiches
Based on the classic Mont Blanc dessert, these small and dainty meringue sandwiches include chocolate, chestnuts and cream to create a moreish homemade treat perfect for the party season. 
Details
Hands on time: about Cook time:     Yield: 12 meringue sandwiches

Ingredients
For the Meringue Kisses
  • 1 Egg White
  • 25g Caster Sugar
  • 25g Golden Caster Sugar
For the Chocolate layer
  • 50g Milk or Plain Chocolate
For the Chestnut Cream Filling
  • 50ml Double Cream
  • 25g Chestnut Puree (we used Merchants)
  • 1 heaped tsp Icing Sugar (or to taste)
  • 1/4 capful Vanilla Extract

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 120c / 100 Fan / Gas 1/2.2. Prepare a baking sheet. Cut a sheet of greaseproof paper large enough to base line a baking sheet.  If you want your meringues of identical size, draw around a shape (perhaps a small glass or biscuit cutter) that is about 3-4cm in diameter. Turn the paper over so that the pencil marks are on the underside. Use the paper to base line a baking tray.3. Make the meringue.  Using a scrupulously clean and dry bowl and beaters (or balloon whisk), beat the egg white. Once it has increased in volume and is at the soft peak stage, add the sugar 1 teaspoon at a time. Continue to beat the meringue until all of the sugar has been incorporated. The meringue will now be glossy and very thick.4. Shape the meringue. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a star piping nozzle (we used one with 1.5cm diameter). Pipe the meringue onto the prepared baking sheet (use the circles as a guide if using). You should be able to get around 24 small meringues. Any shapes you're not happy with can easily be lifted back into the piping bag with a pallet knife (or similar), allowing the mixture to be re-piped. 5. Bake. Place the baking tray into the centre of the oven and bake for 1 hour. After the baking period has ended, turn the oven off, DO NOT open the oven door, allowing the meringues to cool slowly in the oven. Remove the meringues after at least 2 hours of cooling in the oven. If the baking tray is still a little warm return them back to the oven to cool further.6. Melt the chocolate. Break the chocolate into a bowl and set it over a pan of barely simmering water, ensuring that base of the bowl doesn't touch the water. Allow the chocolate to melt, stirring frequently. Once melted, remove the bowl from the pan and set it on a teacloth / sheet of kitchen roll. 7. Dip the meringues. Cut a sheet of greaseproof paper and lay it on your work surface. Dip the base of each meringue into the melted chocolate one by one. Remove any surplus chocolate by gently wiping it on the spoon / spatula. Set the dipped meringue on the greaseproof paper to allow the chocolate to set.8. Pair up the meringues. Once the chocolate has set, pair each of the meringues with ones of equal / similar size.9. Make the chestnut cream filling. Place the chestnut puree into a bowl. It's surprisingly quite thick.  Stir it with a spoon to ensure it is smooth. Add the double cream. Again stir it to ensure the chestnut puree is well combined with the cream. Add the icing sugar and vanilla extract. Use a balloon or egg whisk to whip the cream to soft peak stage.  Avoid over whipping. Spoon the chestnut cream mixture into a piping bag fitted with a plain round nozzle.10. Assemble the meringue sandwiches. Pipe a little of the chestnut mixture onto the flat side of one of the meringue shells. You may like to pipe one large circle or small 'blobs' which butt up to one another. Sandwich with the meringue's pair. Set onto a serving plate. Repeat with the remaining meringues. 11. Enjoy!
Notes:
a)  Replace the golden caster sugar with white caster sugar if preferred.  b) Consider colouring the uncooked meringue with a food paste colourant.  c) Store the meringues in an airtight container until you are ready to coat them in chocolate and assemble them.  d)  Proceed with step 6 and beyond up to 2 or 3 hours before the meringue sandwiches are required.  e)  Use a clean dry cloth to wipe any chocolate from your fingers when dipping the meringues - this will help prevent the chocolate marking the white surface of the meringues, though if this happens consider dribbling any unused chocolate over the arranged meringue sandwiches to disguise the marks.  f) Rather than buying a ready made puree, make your own with any whole chestnuts you may have.  

 







 

 

 

 

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These Chestnut & Chocolate Meringue Sandwiches are very moreish and perfect for the party season.






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8 comments:

  1. These look gorgeous, Angela! Not too many ingredients either, which I find very appealing. I might be able to make this recipe but I don't think I could make it look as pretty as yours!

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    1. Thank you Monika, I'm sure you're talking yourself down there. I found as long as I used a dry cloth to keep my fingers clean of chocolate the meringues kept clear of chocolate and were more appealing. I agree, it's nice to have a recipe with just a few ingredients isn't it,
      Thanks for your lovely comment,
      Angela x

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  2. Love this idea! And so perfect for a party!! Lovely photos too. Are they taken with your new camera? Are you enjoying playing with it? Thanks for linking up to #CookBlogShare!! :-) Eb x

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    1. Thank you Eb, they'd definitely be good for a party - they easily fit in the mouth in one go (or at least they did mine! Lol!;-) ). Yes, the new camera was used for these photos, I've used my old compact camera only once since having the DSLR and I have to say it now feels strange using that one! I absolutely love using it, and am really wondering why it's taken me so long to decide to get one! The images they capture are simply amazing - and that's on auto! I just have to 'understand' the concepts on taking good pictures and put it into practice! Mr E bought me a great book for using and understanding DSLRs, but I've also joined a FB group (A Year With My Camera) which once subscribed a weekly e-mail is sent to focus on small step-by-step lessons along with 'homework'!. I'm really looking forward to getting the most out of it.
      Angela x

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  3. Love love love these, they sounds so delicious. I've been in the A Year With My Camera Group since it started a couple of years ago (although I'm not great at actually following any of the prompts). Emma's lessons are really well written and break things down really well, I"m sure you'll find them really useful. She usually starts with what you need to know to get off auto which I'm sure will see your food photography improving in leaps and bounds.

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    1. Aw thank you so much Charlotte, I must admit they were pretty darn delicious - three were eaten in quick succession! Ah, that's good to know that you found her tutorials useful, interesting, and in manageable steps. I always love seeing the images that you've captured, so if I can get anywhere near what you've managed to achieve I'd be a VERY happy bunny! Needless to say, I'm really looking forward to receiving Emma's weekly lessons so with those lessons and a great book hubby bought me for Christmas I'm hoping my recipes start to look a lot more enticing! :-)
      Thanks for your lovely comments,
      Angela x

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  4. These sound utterly divine and the photos are gorgeous too! So pleased you're enjoying your new camera #CookBlogShare

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    1. Aw thankyou so much Mandy :-) The camera work is very much a steep learning curve, but completely enjoying it,
      Angela x

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