Meringues for Queen Sophia (10)

A spectacular Eton Messy sort of pudding from ” Notes from a Small Kitchen Island” by Debora Robertson. You can make all the components the day before if you like, but remember to allow enough chilling time after you assemble the pudding. And if you don’t feel like making the caramel yourself just go for the Dulce de Leche option. Enjoyx

Meringues for Queen Sophia (10)
Print Recipe
Meringues for Queen Sophia (10)
Print Recipe
  1. Put the raisins into a small bowl with the sherry, cover and leave to soak while you make the other components.
  2. Next, make the meringues. Make sure the bowl and whisk are scrupulously clean – any trace of grease will prevent the egg whites from whipping properly. Line a baking sheet with non-stick baking parchment or Silpat and preheat the oven to 150°C/130°C fan/gas 2.
  3. Beat the egg whites with the salt until stiff, starting slowly then building up the speed, then begin beating in the sugar a spoonful at a time until you have used half of it. Once you’ve added half of it, you can add the sugar more quickly, and whisk until the meringue mixture is beautifully glossy and stands in stiff peaks when you lift out the beater.
  4. Whisk in the coffee extract. Spoon on to the prepared sheet in 8 generous dollops. Put the meringues in the oven and immediately lower the temperature to 120°C/100°C fan/gas 1. Bake for 1½ hours, until you can lift the meringues off the paper or Silpat easily. Turn off the heat and leave the meringues in the oven until they are completely cool.
  5. To make the caramel, put the tin of condensed milk on its side in a pan and add enough water to cover the tin by about 5cm. Bring to the boil and simmer for an hour, topping up with boiling water from the kettle if it needs it – be very careful not to let it boil dry. Remove from the heat and let it cool in the pan.
  6. To make the walnut praline, first line a baking sheet with non-stick baking parchment or Silpat lightly brushed with vegetable oil. Scatter the walnuts on the parchment. Tip the sugar into a heavy-bottomed saucepan or frying pan. It’s best to use a pan that has a pale interior so you can monitor the colour of the caramel easily.
  7. Warm the sugar over a medium heat. It will begin to melt – stir it a little with a wooden spoon to encourage it to melt evenly. Lower the heat a bit and leave to melt completely without stirring until the sugar is a rich, dark shade of amber. Quickly tip the caramel over the walnuts on the prepared tray and use a couple of forks to ensure each one is coated. Leave to cool, then chop roughly, leaving some bigger shards for decoration.
  8. In a large bowl, whip the cream until thickened, being careful not to overbeat as it will continue to thicken as it sits. Then use a rubber spatula to fold in the caramel or dulce de leche – just ripple it through, you don’t want it to be completely combined.
  9. Drain the raisins from the sherry. Drink the sherry.
  10. To assemble use a large bowl – preferably a big glass trifle bowl Break up a third of the meringues into large-ish chunks and tip them into the bottom of the bowl. Cover with a layer of cream, then with a handful of raisins and praline. Repeat until all the ingredients are used up, ending with a scattering of praline and raisins and some generous shards of meringue. Cover and chill for at least 6 hours before serving.
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