Chamonix

Chamonix (shah-moh-nee) is very rich and makes an unusual finish to a dinner party menu. While some care is required in

its preparation, the result is definitely worthwhile.

4 egg whites

8 oz. castor sugar

8 fl. oz. double cream

2 tablespoons castor sugar -½ teaspoon vanilla essence

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 tablespoons brandy (optional) 8 oz. canned unsweetened chestnut

puree

Preheat the oven to very cool 275 °F (Gas Mark 1, 140°C). Line a baking sheet with nonstick silicone paper and set it aside.

In a large mixing bowl, prepare the meringue by beating the egg whites with a wire whisk or rotary beater until they are stiff and firm. Add 4 teaspoons of the sugar and beat vigorously for 1 minute. Then, using the side of a metal spoon as a cutting edge, carefully fold the rest of the sugar into the egg whites.

Put the meringue mixture into a pastry bag and make nestlike shells by piping the mixture on to the baking sheet. JEach

shell should have a thin base of meringue, and be 2 to 3 inches in diameter and 2 inches high with a hollow centre.

Bake the meringue shells in the oven for approximately 1 hour, or until they are very pale brown. Remove them from the oven and set them aside to cool.

Meringues filled with a delectable brandy-flavoured chestnut purie, Chamonix are an impressive dessert.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, pre-pare the filling by beating the double cream with a whisk or fork until it is almost

stiff. Fold in the sugar and vanilla essence and continue beating to blend well and until the cream is very thick. Beat the sugar and brandy (if you are using it) into the chestnut puree.

Assemble the chamonix by spooning the chestnut puree into a pastry bag and piping a round or two of puree around the top

of each meringue shell. Spoon a portion of whipped cream into the hollow centre of each meringue.

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