I went to a wedding party last weekend. The bride wore blue suede shoes and a pretend veil; I wore the proud smile of someone who had managed to carry a platter of beautiful marbled chocolate and rosewater meringues across town without breaking any of them.
Chocolate and rosewater meringues
This is essentially the giant meringue recipe from the Ottolenghi cookbook, with a little added chocolate marbled through them for fun. Don't even think about making these without a really robust freestanding mixer - come over and I'll make them for you. The only tricky bit is pouring the hot sugar into the egg whites - don't try this with small children or pets underfoot. This is my entry for August's We Should Cocoa blogging event, in which the special guest ingredient is rose.
600g caster sugar
300g egg whites (I find this is about 8 large free-range ones), at room temperature
75g dark chocolate, melted and cooled (but not cold)
Preheat the oven to 200C and spread the sugar on a large roasting dish lined with baking paper. Put the dish into the oven and leave for about 10 minutes, or until you can see the sugar start to melt at the edges. While the sugar is in the oven, put the egg whites into the bowl of a freestanding mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Just before the sugar is ready, start the machine on high speed and let the whites froth up.
Carefully pour the hot sugar onto the whites in a slow, steady stream (with the machine still whisking), then add the rosewater. Keep beating on high speed for about 10 minutes, until the mixture is thick, silky and billowing. It should hold its shape when you lift a spoonful from the bowl (make sure you turn the machine OFF before you dip a spoon in!).
Turn the oven down to 110C and line two baking trays with baking paper. Gently marble the melted chocolate through the meringue mixture and scoop large blobs onto the prepared trays. Keep in mind that they will double in size in the oven, so leave plenty of space between them. You should make 10-12. Carefully place in the oven and bake for about two hours, until the outsides are completely firm but the centres are still a little soft. A little chocolate will leak from the bottom - don't panic, this is normal. Remove from the oven and let cool completely before storing in a cool, dry place until you can no longer resist them.
Have a sweet, sweet Friday, everyone. I'm off to eat and drink my way around the Hunter Valley!