New Year’s Eve is upon us and you’re hosting the party this year. Cue a showstopper dessert like this heart-shaped meringue tower topped with blueberries, strawberries and pomegranates. Not only does it look fantastic and gargantuan it also tastes heavenly. This dessert takes a little patience in the making (but what else would you be doing today?) and it’s well worth the effort.
Bursting with flavour, every single guest will be delighted to dig into this very jolly dessert and start the new year off with a bang.
For the meringue:
6 egg whites
360g caster sugar
For the filling:
350g dark chocolate
150ml double cream, whipped
For the strawberries and blueberries:
300ml red wine
4 tbsp honey
2 sprigs thyme
2 tsp arrowroot mixed with a little water, to thicken the sauce
Thyme sprigs, to decorate
1. Preheat the oven to 140°C/fan 120°C/gas 1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Draw large, medium and small heart shapes, measuring 24cm, 20cm and 16cm, on the underside of the parchment paper, ensuring that you can see the shape through the paper.
2. Place the egg whites in a spotlessly clean, dry bowl. With an electric hand mixer, whisk the egg whites until stiff but not dry. Gradually whisk in half of the caster sugar, a tablespoon at a time. Fold in the remaining caster sugar.
3. Spoon the meringue mixture into a piping bag with a plain nozzle. Following the outline of the heart shapes, fill in the shapes. Secure the parchment paper to the baking sheet with a little of the meringue mixture to ensure the paper doesn’t lift in the oven.
4. Bake immediately for 1 1⁄2 hours, or until set. When they’re done, leave them in the oven with the oven door slightly open so that the meringues can cool.
5. Meanwhile, to prepare the strawberries and blueberries, place the red wine, honey and thyme in a saucepan and warm through. Remove from the heat and add the berries. Cool and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
6. To make the filling, melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl over a pot of simmering water. Allow to cool, then fold in the whipped cream with some of the pomegranate juice.
7. To make the sauce, gently remove the berries from the liquid with a slotted spoon, taking care not to break them, and set aside. Strain the liquid and return it to the saucepan.
8. Add the arrowroot mixture and heat the liquid to thicken it to a light sauce consistency.
9. Spread the large and medium meringue hearts with some of the chocolate mixture and top with the berries & pomegranate seeds. Starting with the largest heart at the bottom, pile the meringues on top of each other.
10. Drizzle generously with the berry thyme sauce & garnish with edible flowers & thyme sprigs.
This deliciously addictive recipe is from Catherine Fulvio of Ballyknocken House & Cookery, Whirpool Embassador.