Cherries and Smashed Chocolate Liquorice Meringues
3 medium egg whites
150g soft dark brown sugar
30g cocoa powder
40g soft black licorice sweets, very chopped finely
125g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
¼ tsp salt
200ml whipping cream
200g field fare frozen dark sweet cherries
30g dark chocolate
Preheat the oven to 120°C (fan). Place the chocolate and the licorice bit in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of just simmering water (don’t the base touch the water). Once melted take off the heat and leave to cool for 5 minutes.
In the meantime, begin to whisk the egg whites with the salt until very frothy, then gradually crumble in the sugar while whisking continually. Whisk until the egg whites reach quite firm peaks. Sift in the cocoa powder and pour in the cooled melted chocolate. Fold until the cocoa powder and chocolate are incorporated. Spoon 6 heaps onto a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Bake for 1h 15 minutes or until crisp and dry on the outside.
Whip the cream to soft peaks. Cut the cherries in half (I like to keep the stalks on for decoration).
To serve, crumble up the meringue along the serving plate (I like to mix it up with some large pieces and some small ones). Place the whipped cream in a piping bag and make dots of cream randomly in the plate. Dress with the cherry halves prettily. Use a vegetable peeler or a grater to add little flakes of chocolate to the top.
The meringues, once cooled, will keep in an airtight container for a couple of days. They also freeze well.
Tips – Try not to over ‘fold’ the meringue with the chocolate and cocoa powder. You want to keep as much of the air in the meringue as possible.
Many thanks to www.seasonalberries.co.uk