Vacherins with sweet chestnut cream

Vacherins with sweet chestnut cream

By
From
How to Cook Desserts
Makes
20
Photographer
Peter Cassidy

Made from Swiss meringue, vacherins are tightly piped meringue coils. They take their name from the French cheese Vacherin, which has a similar ridged surface. Sweet chestnut purée is a classic partner for meringue and is sold conveniently in small tins; stir any left over into Greek yoghurt for a delicious quick pudding.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient

For the Swiss meringue

Quantity Ingredient
4 egg whites
200g caster sugar

To assemble

Quantity Ingredient
350ml double cream
2 tablespoons icing sugar
2 tablespoons sweetened chestnut puree

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 120°C. Line 2 baking sheets with non-stick baking parchment. In a medium to large bowl, whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks, using an electric whisk.
  2. With the beaters still running, whisk in 4 tbsp of the caster sugar, sprinkling 1 tbsp in at a time and whisking the meringue back to stiff peaks again between each addition.
  3. Fold in the remaining sugar using a large metal spoon, until just incorporated. Once you are confident with the method, the remaining sugar can be whisked in gradually.
  4. Fill a piping bag, fitted with a 5mm–1cm plain or fluted nozzle, with the meringue. Use a little of the meringue to anchor the corners of the baking parchment to the tray.
  5. Pipe the meringue mixture into tight 10cm diameter coils.
  6. Bake in the oven for 1½–2 hours, or until the meringue coils will lift off the parchment cleanly and have fully dried out. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely.
  7. In a large bowl, combine the cream with 1 tbsp of the icing sugar and whisk using a balloon whisk or a hand-held electric whisk until it starts to thicken. Add the chestnut purée and continue to whisk until the mixture just holds its shape. It is very easy to over-whip cream, so take care.
  8. Use the chestnut cream to sandwich the meringue coils together. Serve piled on a plate, dusted with the remaining icing sugar.

Variations

  • To make simple meringues, make beehive-shaped meringues by piping 3 squeezes of the piping bag on top of each other, each layer smaller than the one before. Omit the chestnut purée from the whipped cream filling. Serve with strawberries, raspberries or other soft fruit.

    To make Îles flottantes, whisk 2 tsp cornflour into the meringue mixture after all the sugar has been added, then poach heaped tablespoonfuls of the mixture in a mixture of milk and water for about 2 minutes each side. Serve on a pool of crème anglaise made with half milk and half double cream. This can be served drizzled with hot caramel.
Tags:
leiths
desserts
baking
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