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 recipes, such as Vegetarian Christmas Plait.
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.
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.
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.
dessert, these small and dainty meringue sandwiches include chocolate,
chestnuts and cream to create a moreish homemade treat perfect for the
Hands on time: about 20 mins Cook time: 1 hour (plus cooling time of at least 2 hours in the oven) Yield: 12 meringue sandwiches
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 teaspoon Icing Sugar (or to taste)
- ¼ capful Vanilla Extract
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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