Chocolate Amaretto Meringue
There are times when only a full blown blousey trollop of a pud. will do and this fits those occasions perfectly. Meringues are hugely popular and this chocolate version is filled with whipped cream, crushed amaretti biscuits, fresh fruit (cherries in this case) and a slosh of Amaretto. I thought the amaretti biscuits would magically reduce the general sweetness somehow. I was wrong. Meringue roulades are best eaten on the day they are rolled. I prefer to freeze them flat, ie before rolling.
5 egg whites
Pinch of cream of tartar
275g caster sugar
2 tbsps. cocoa
300ml double cream Glug of Amaretto (optional)
8 -10 amaretti biscuits
Large handful of cherries, stones removed, or fruit of your choice
Oven 160c, 140 fan
Roulade tin 33x23 cm or 13x9 inches, lined with baking parchment
Whisk the egg whites with the cream of tartar until very stiff peaks form
Little by little whisk in the caster sugar a spoonful at a time until you have a robust and silky meringue
Now turn the whisk to its slowest setting and gently whisk in the cocoa, again a small spoonful at a time. Your meringue will lose a little volume, but that is fine.
Spoon the meringue into the lined roulade tin and spread it out and into the corners. Bake at 160c (see above) for 25 minutes until it has a crisp and, quite likely, a cracking crust.
Remove from the oven, place the roulade tin on a cooling rack, cover the meringue with a sheet of baking parchment, then cover the whole lot with a towel. Leave to cool. Keeping the baking parchment on top of the meringue, quickly flip it over so that you have the crunchy crust of the roulade facing downwards on top of the loose sheet of baking parchment and the soft bottom of the meringue with baking parchment stuck to it facing upwards. This all sounds a rather tricky manoeuvre, but it is much easier than you expect because the meringue is bendy and forgiving.
Remove the baking parchment attached to the meringue. Whisk the double cream until it is spreadable but floppily voluptuous. Make sure the meringue is sitting centrally on the loose sheet of baking parchment then spread the cream all over it, leaving a small margin (about 1 cm) around the edges of the meringue as the cream will ooze into this area when you roll it.
Roughly crumble the amaretti biscuits into fairly chunky pieces and distribute then all over the cream then dot the cherries or berries of your choice over the top With the short side of the roulade towards you and using the baking parchment to help, roll the roulade. Again, this is much easier than you expect and you can poke, push and prod the meringue without too much concern. It is an unavoidable fact that however generous you are with the fruit inside the meringue, there is never enough, so you may wish to offer extra berries with it.
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