Chocolate chestnut meringues
Christmas is a time of year when those of us who love to cook (and eat) have the chance to show off a bit and create wonderfully indulgent and delicious dishes. It is also, unfortunately, a time of year when no-one really has an hour or so to spare in the kitchen. This dessert is the ideal compromise, it’s quick to prepare, tastes divine and looks pretty fancy and festive. Using ready-made meringues is a great time saver and they’re the perfect sweet complement to the rich dark chocolate ganache and velvety chestnut cream filling.
6 meringue nests (you can make your own if you have time)
100g dark chocolate, chopped
300ml double cream
150g chestnut puree
1 tbsp brandy, whisky or rum (optional)
sugar to taste (optional – I never need it)
edible glitter or chocolate shavings to decorate
Heat 100ml of the cream, so that it is quite warm but not boiling. Place the chopped chocolate in a bowl and pour the cream over it. Let it sit for a minute or two so that the chocolate can melt and then stir it well to create a smooth ganache. Leave to cool a little before spooning a tablespoon of the ganache into the centre of each meringue nest. Place in the fridge whilst you make the filling.
Whip the remaining cream until it starts to thicken, you want it to remain quite soft. Fold in the remaining ganache and the chestnut puree (plus the alcohol and sugar if you’re using it) and whip the mixture again until it holds a fairly firm peak.
Transfer it to a piping bag fitted with a star-shaped tip and pipe the cream mixture generously onto the meringue nests, piling it up to create a Christmas tree effect. Finish them off with a dusting of edible glitter or chocolate shavings.
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