Let's just say it was so deliciously rich and indulgent that 'oohs' and 'aahs' of food happiness resonated in the living room a whole afternoon.
I would not serve this after a rich meal unless you are wearing stretchy pants and are only a few steps away from a couch where you can curl up on for the rest of the day. Actually, this wonderful dessert could be a meal by itself (I just didn't add any fruit because you know... chocolate is enough of a fruit as it is! Insert giant wink wink here).
I hope you, my lovely readers, get to try it one day because it will (hopefully) rock your dessert world.
Ingredients (make 8 medium or 6 large meringues)
For the meringues
3 egg whites
double the amount of egg whites in caster sugar (for example: my egg whites weighed 115g so I used 230g caster sugar)
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
For the salted caramel sauce
100g caster sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
50ml double cream
1 pinch fleur de sel (or sea salt)
For the dark chocolate and tonka sauce
50g chopped dark chocolate (I use one with 70% cocoa)
50ml double cream
4 tablespoons hot water
1/2 grated tonka bean
For serving: whipped cream.
1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC.
Line a deep tray with greaseproof baking paper. Pour the caster sugar on it and put in the oven for 5 to 8 minutes (the sugar should be hot but not melted - it might caramelise a little bit on the edges, that's ok).
2. Turn the oven down to 120ºC. Line one large tray (or two smaller ones) with greaseproof paper.
Put the egg white in a very clean large baking bowl (make sure it is free of grease - I use a glass one which is perfect). Whisk the egg whites with an electric hand whisk until they form stiff peaks.
3. Turn speed of the whisk up and start adding the hot sugar one tablespoon at a time. Whisk for 5 to 10 minutes until you get a thick and glossy mixture. I also check the mixture between my fingers to make sure all the sugar has dissolved and keep whisking until it has.
4. Gently fold half of the cocoa powder into the mixture. With a large spoon, create big dollops of meringue on the tray (I made approximately 8 medium size ones). Dust the rest of the cocoa powder over the meringues and create swirls using a small spoon or a fork.
5. Put the tray on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 1 hour. Then, turn off the heat, open the oven door slightly and leave the meringues in for another 30 minutes (you could even leave them in the turned off oven and door closed overnight for dry meringues). Put the meringues on a wire rack to cool before serving.
The salted caramel sauce
1. Put the sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat (do not add water or anything else). When the sugar is melted, swirl the saucepan every now and then and continue cooking until the caramel has a lovely amber colour.
2. Take off the heat and stir in the unsalted butter. Put back on the heat for a few seconds while still stirring the butter quickly then take off the heat again.
3. Stir in the double cream and a pinch of fleur de sel (my pinch sometimes look more like two because I just love fleur de sel so much). Pour the salted caramel sauce in a little serving jug.
The tonka and dark chocolate sauce
1. Put the chopped dark chocolate in a small baking bowl.
2. Put the double cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until simmering but not boiling. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let it stand for 5 minutes.
3. Stir the ganache and while still stirring, add the hot water one tablespoon at a time (it creates a lovely pouring chocolate sauce; if you prefer a thicker chocolate sauce, reduce the amount of hot water). Add in the grated tonka and stir well. Pour the sauce into a serving jug.
To assemble this delicious dessert
Place the meringues onto individual dessert plates. Add a good dollop of whipped cream on each. Drizzle the salted caramel sauce and then the tonka dark chocolate sauce over the meringue (if the sauces have cooled down, just put them individually in the microwave for 10 to 20 seconds).
Now you are ready to dig into this wonderful dessert and indulge in its deliciousness!
Note: it is preferable to eat the meringues on the day. However, if you have left them overnight in the oven, they will be dry and will last longer.