Jeremy Lee’s recipe for hazelnut meringue with caramelised pears | Baking

When contemplating the strategy of spring – the air lighter, the times longer, Easter delightfully on the horizon – pudding springs to thoughts. And, after latest years imbued with what shall stay anonymous, it’s time, I believe, for an extravagance: a tumble of meringues studded with hazelnuts, layered with pears, bronzed in caramel, infused with lemon and vanilla, and with ample cream, custard and ice-cream. It should make a splendid look at a desk of excellent people.

Hazelnut meringue with caramelised pears

Prep 20 min
Cook dinner 1 hr 10 min
Cool 2 hr +
Serves 12

For the meringue
130g shelled hazelnuts
10 egg whites

500g caster sugar, cut up between two bowls

For the pears
4 comice pears
, peeled, cored and quartered
Juice of 1 lemon
1 vanilla pod
, cut up and seeds scraped out
100g caster sugar

For the caramel syrup
120g caster sugar
75ml water

For the cinnamon custard
1 cinnamon stick
250ml complete milk
4 egg yolks
50g caster sugar
50ml double cream

To serve
100ml double cream, flippantly whipped
Vanilla ice-cream
Icing sugar

Warmth the oven to 180C (160C fan)/350F/gasoline 4 and line two oven trays with baking paper. Put the nuts on one tray, roast for eight to 10 minutes, till golden, then tip right into a clear material and rub to take away the skins. Coarsely grind or chop the nuts, and put aside 20g for later.

In a clear bowl, whip the egg whites to stiff peaks, then beat in half the sugar in a gentle bathe till stiff peaks kind once more. Fold within the remaining sugar and the remaining 110g chopped nuts, then spoon half the combination onto every tray and unfold into two 28cm circles. Switch to the new oven and instantly decrease the temperature to 120C (110C fan)/250F/gasoline low. Bake for an hour till pale golden, then take away and depart to chill utterly. Don’t fear about any cracks – they are going to be hid when the meringues are dressed.

In the meantime, put the pears and lemon juice in a large bowl, toss to coat, then stir within the vanilla pod and seeds.

Have prepared a large dish by the range. Put a wide-bottomed pan on a medium warmth. Scatter within the sugar and, wrapping the deal with in a material, shake the pan till the sugar evenly covers the bottom; maintain shaking because it colors. Rigorously lay within the pears, then gently shake once more. Boil, stirring gently, for eight to 10 minutes, till evenly bronzed. Tip the pears and vanilla pod into the ready dish, depart to chill, then take away the vanilla pod. (Rinse it, then depart to dry and, a while in a while, steep in a jar of sugar to make vanilla sugar.)

Put the sugar for the syrup in a pan on a medium warmth. Transfer the pan gently till it’s effervescent on the edges then rigorously swirl till it’s an excellent caramel color. As soon as a uniform caramel is made, take off the warmth, placed on a stand, retreat barely and, overlaying your hand with a material, pour in 75ml water; stand again till the spluttering subsides, then depart to bubble gently for a minute, till a syrup types. Cool, then pour right into a small jug.

For the custard, put the cinnamon and milk in a pan on a medium warmth and convey slowly to a simmer. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl. Take away the cinnamon stick, then slowly stir the infused milk into the egg yolks. Pour again into the pan, return to the warmth and stir till the custard thickens however doesn't boil. Off the warmth, stir within the cream, then cowl and chill.

To assemble the pudding, rigorously loosen the cooled meringues from the baking paper, and raise one on to a plate that’s wider than the meringue. Drop half the whipped cream on prime, adopted by two-thirds of the pears. Pour over two-thirds of the syrup and add a scoop of ice-cream. Prime with the second meringue, then repeat the layers, this time ending with the custard, so it runs between the fruit and cream, and swimming pools across the meringue. Strew with the reserved 20g hazelnuts, mud with icing sugar and serve.

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