Gooseberry curd and brown sugar meringue mess, by Madalene Bonvini-Hamel

01 July 2011
Gooseberry curd and brown sugar meringue mess, by Madalene Bonvini-Hamel

(Serves 6)

for the Brown Sugar Meringues
200g egg whites
200g dark brown sugar
200g caster sugar
Pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 110°C and line two/three large baking trays with parchment paper or silpats.

Place the egg whites, salt and sugar in a large saucepan. Cover your hands with clean disposable gloves. Place the saucepan over a very low heat and gently heat the egg whites and melt the sugar. Stick your hand into the egg and sugar mixture and stir it continuously. By using your hands you can control the heat, as you should not heat the egg whites and sugar above 37°C. Stir it all the time to help dissolve the sugar.

Once the temperature has reached 37°C, transfer the mixture to an electric mixer with a balloon whisk, and whip to thick ribbon stage. Pipe the meringues on the prepared baking trays.

Bake the meringues until they are dry (1 hour for thumb-size meringues). Check that they are cooked by touching their outsides - if they are firm on the outside but still slightly gooey in the centre they are done. Leave to cool completely.

for the Gooseberry Curd
200g fresh gooseberries, stalks removed and washed
200g caster sugar
50ml lemon juice
2 large whole free-range eggs
2 large free-range egg yolks
125g unsalted butter, chilled, chopped into small pieces

Using a Thermomix, weigh the gooseberries and sugar directly into the bowl, blend on speed 10 and scrape the sides down. Set the timer to 10 minutes, 100e_SDgrC and speed 10.

Next, insert the butterfly whisk, add the eggs and lemon juice, and set the timer for a further 8 minutes at speed 4. After 6 minutes of the cooking time, drop the cold chopped butter into the mixture, a few pieces at a time. Transfer the gooseberry curd to a clean container and set to cool over ice.

for the Gooseberry Compote
400g gooseberries, trimmed and washed
200g caster sugar
50ml St Germain Elderflower Liqueur
1 vanilla pod, seeds only

In a medium saucepan melt the sugar and vanilla in the liqueur over a low heat, then increase the heat and boil for 5 minutes.

Drain the gooseberries and add to the boiling liquid. Cook rapidly for 5-8 minutes, until the first berries start to burst, then remove from the heat and leave to cool completely.

To Serve
Assemble the meringue mess in an appropriate serving glass. First, stir the curd to loosen it up. Spoon some of the gooseberry compote into the base of the glass, crush some brown sugar meringues on top and add a few spoons of the curd. Repeat the process until the glass is full.

Garnish with three small brown sugar meringues and serve with two garibaldi biscuits.

Madalene Bonvini-Hamel, owner, British Larder pub and restaurant, Bromeswell, Suffolk

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