These meringues are every bit as indulgent and delicious as they sound. The little bit of vinegar in the meringue mix makes them nice and crisp on the outside, but chewy on the inside. Just how I like my meringues.
Salted Caramel Chocolate Meringues
Makes 8-10 meringues, depending on size
350g caster sugar
75g unsalted butter, diced
125ml single cream
1 tsp sea salt flakes
50g dark chocolate
4 egg whites, at room temperature
1½ tsp white wine vinegar
To make the salted caramel sauce, put 150g of the sugar and 50ml of water into a small saucepan over a high heat. Heat so that it bubbles rapidly; watch carefully, and as soon as it turns a rich amber colour, take it off the heat and whisk in the diced butter and cream. Return to a low heat to gently simmer for a minute. Whisk in the salt and cook for another minute, then pour into a jug or bowl and set aside to cool.
Break the chocolate into small pieces and place in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Allow the chocolate to melt, then set the bowl aside to cool.
For the meringues, line two baking trays with baking parchment and preheat the oven to 100°C/80°C fan/gas mark ¼.
Put the egg whites into a scrupulously clean mixing bowl and whisk to stiff peaks. Add the remaining 200g of sugar in two stages, whisking after each addition. Finally, whisk in the vinegar. It should become a billowy, firm, satin-sheened meringue. Use tablespoons to scoop 8-10 blobs of meringue onto the baking trays, around 10cm in diameter.
Drizzle a little salted caramel sauce over each meringue and use a cocktail stick to swirl it in. Repeat with the rest of the meringues, then do the same with the melted chocolate. There should be enough caramel sauce left for serving at the end.
Put the trays into the oven and check after 1 hour. Once you are able to easily lift the meringues off the paper, turn off the oven but leave the meringues inside with the oven door shut, to cool completely.
Serve with ice cream (the yolks you are left with could be used to make your own), or with whipped cream over the top and/or more of the salted caramel sauce. Store any unused meringues in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
The idea here is that the vinegar does a technical job, rather than give flavour. So you are choosing a vinegar for its acidity. A cider vinegar would work well, as would a palm vinegar.
Extracted from The Vinegar Cupboard by Angela Clutton (Bloomsbury Absolute, approx €30). Photography by Polly Webster.