Meringue Martinique

Meringue shells sandwiched together with rum-flavoured whipped cream and covered with chocolate, Meringue Martinique (mair-ang mahr-tin-eek) makes a delightful dessert.

8 SERVINGS

6 oz. Meringue Suisse

10 fl. oz. double cream

3 tablespoons rum

4 oz. plain chocolate, broken into small pieces

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Preheat the oven to very cool 250°F (Gas Mark J, 130°C). Line two large baking sheets with non-stick silicone paper.

Fill a forcing bag, fitted with a plain nozzle, with the meringue mixture. Pipe sixteen meringue shells on to the baking sheets. Alternatively, use two large spoons to shape the meringue shells.

Place the baking sheets in the centre of the oven and bake for 12 hours or until the meringues are crisp on the outside and slightly sticky on the inside, and a pale beige in colour. If the meringues begin to brown too much and too early, open the door of the oven. Halfway through the baking time, reverse the baking sheets so that the one that was on the bottom is on top.

Remove the baking sheets from the oven. With a table or palette knife, turn the meringues over. With your fingertip, gently press the undersides of the meringues to form a small pocket.

Return the baking sheets to the oven and bake for a further 30 minutes.

Remove the baking sheets from the oven and allow the meringues to cool for 5 minutes. Using a palette or table knife, carefully transfer the meringues to a wire rack to cool completely.

Meanwhile, in a small mixing bowl, beat the cream with a wire whisk or rotary beater until it is thick. Add

2 tablespoons of the rum and continue beating until the mixture is stiff. Cover the bowl and put it in the refrigerator to chill for at least

1 hour.

Just before serving, sandwich the meringue shells together with the cream. Arrange the meringues on a serving plate.

In a small saucepan, melt the chocolate with the remaining rum over low heat, stirring occasionally. As soon as the chocolate has melted, remove the pan from the heat.

Beat in the butter, one piece at a time. When all the butter has been absorbed, trickle a little of the chocolate sauce over each meringue. Serve immediately.

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