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Meringue Platter

When I have friends over to eat I want to spend as much time with them as possible. I really don't want to be chained to the kitchen and I certainly don't want to spend the time after eating at the kitchen sink, so I always try to be as organised as possible. 

This is my latest idea for stress-free entertaining. You can make the meringues up to a day in advance, or more if you bake them firm, and the fruit puree can be made and chilled as can the chocolate sauce. All the fruits can be prepared early and then everyone can help themselves. 

The other really fun thing about this pudding is everyone can make their own individual dessert, it is a bit of a talking point. One person may fancy a black forest inspired dessert, someone else an Eton Mess, somebody else may like a chocolate overload or a banoffee inspired one. It can cause a bit of friendly competition. 

It will make a fabulous centre piece to any dinner party or gathering and with Easter just around the corner I thought this would be fab.
Serves 8

For the meringues
8 egg whites
400g caster sugar (I use my vanilla infused sugar)

Preheat the oven to 90℃

Whip the whites in a very clean bowl to soft peak stage, keeping the whisk running start adding the sugar a tbsp at a time (don't try rushing) carry on whisking until when you place a little of the meringue between your thumb and forefinger it doesn't feel gritty. Pipe or spoon 8 large blobs onto the parchment lined baking trays.  Bake in a preheated oven or the simmering oven in the AGA for about 3-5 hrs (depending how squidgy you like your meringue). Leave to cool completely before moving from the parchment.

Chocolate sauce
200g milk or dark chocolate
250ml double cream

Gently heat the chocolate and cream together in a pan until just melted, stirring the whole time. Pour into a jug.

Raspberry Puree
225g raspberries
80g icing sugar
Whiz the fruit and sugar together until smooth, pass through a sieve into a serving dish.

Toffee sauce
150g soft brown sugar
150g double cream
50g butter.
Gently heat the ingredients together until the sugar and butter are completely melted stirring until all is well combined. Decant into a serving dish

Ideas for the plater
1 large banana (ready to be sliced just before serving)
2 digestive biscuits crumbled into pieces
250g sliced strawberries sprinkled with caster sugar
Handful of blueberries or Cherries
1 halved passion fruit
100g Maltesers
Orange matchmakers chopped into small pieces
100g Giant chocolate buttons or mini eggs work well for Easter.
6 scoops of an ice-cream of your choice
small pot of cream

Now all you need to do is arrange on a huge tray in little sections and serve with bowls and spoons, I love it, such a fun way to entertain.
*Obviously this would work for 4 just half the meringue ingredients and give people a little less choice on the platter