A good friend, Laura Solis, asked me to create a sweet for her. Laura runs 'Sol is you' where she offers some beautiful pampering services and also sells a range of Himalayan salts. I made a variation of a dulce de leche meringue, with the added zing of her salt. I love salted caramel like a boy loves his mother, I tell you.
This is, it must be said, a slightly epic recipe. Set an afternoon aside, send the kids to a sitter, and prepare to create something amazing. Laura and I had a great time making these!
HIMALAYAN SALT DULCE DE LECHE MERINGUE
MERUINGES8 large egg whites
400 g caster sugar
1 ½ cocoa
1 block dark choc (grate and small chunks for texture)
FILLING380g Dulce de leche (Caramel)
½ tsp Himalayan salt
1 tbsp caster sugar
½ tsp vanilla essence
3 beurre bosc pears
2 cups water
2 tbsp brown sugar
TOFFEE FLOSS100g caster sugar
Preheat the oven to 130°C
Whisk the egg whites in a mixer until they form stiff peaks, then with the mixer still running, very gradually add sugar. Turn to the highest setting and leave to mix for 6 minutes. Add cocoa powder, mix for another 2 minutes or until fully dissolved. Fold in the chocolate.
Line 2 large baking trays with greaseproof paper, then draw 24cm circle on each sheet of paper. Divide the mixture between 2 sheets and spread it out just inside your circles, then use the back of a spoon to flick up peaks and make troughes in the mixture to give your meringue a rustic look.
Bake for 1 hour 20 minutes then turn the oven off, leaving the meringues in until the oven is cool.
Peel and cut the pears into halves then core with a teaspoon and cut into sixths, leaving some with the stem intact, set aside.
Combine water, sugar and cook in medium saucepan over low heat. Cook stirring until sugar dissolves, then add the pear and stir to combine. Cover for 10-15 mins until the pear is tender. Use a slotted spoon to remove, set aside to cool.
Identify the prettiest meringue and set it aside (this will be for the top.) Spread the dulce de leche onto the swirly side of the other meringue and smooth it out right to the edge. Sprinkle the Himalayan salt over the dulce de leche.
In a mixing bowl whip cream with the caster sugar and vanilla essence until soft peaks form (making sure not to over whip). Dollop half of the cream over the dulce de leche place half of the pears (the ones without the stems) over the cream, bring some to the edge, so as they poke out when sandwiched with the top layer.
Place the second meringue on top, swirly side up. Spoon the remaining whipped cream over the top. Place the remaining pears with the stems if you have kept them intact, decoratively over the cream, make it look decadent and elegant.
For an extra wow factor, make the toffee floss. Melt the sugar in a medium pan with a splash of water over a medium heat until lightly golden-don’t stir! Allow it to cool a minute till thick, using one or two forks flick the toffee over pears, the fine strands should look gorgeous, get as creative as you like.