'Mont Blanc' chocolate and chestnut meringue
Create a snowy mountain scene with a simple chocolate meringue, creamy filling and chestnut puree.
Equipment: you will need a piping bag with a 2mm nozzle.
For the chocolate meringue
For the filling
Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6 and cut out a 20cm/8in round of baking paper and place onto a baking tray.
Whisk the egg whites in a stand mixer or with a hand held electric whisk, until soft peaks. Gradually whisk in the sugar, a tablespoon at a time, until the meringue is stiff and glossy. Sieve over the cocoa and gently fold in until combined. Fold in the vinegar and chocolate, if using.
Pile the mixture onto the centre of the baking paper, building the meringue up in the middle, into a small peak.
Place in the oven and immediately turn down to 170C/150C Fan/Gas 3½. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes – 1 hour 30 minutes or until the sides are crisp but with some give. Turn off the oven and leave the meringue to cool completely.
Meanwhile, make the filling. Whisk the cream until fairly stiff, then fold in the icing sugar and vanilla extract. If using the maron glace, place two large spoonfuls of the cream into a small bowl for later and crumble the marons into the large bowl of cream. Spoon the cream and maron mixture around the meringue peak.
To decorate, place the chestnut puree into a piping bag with a 2mm nozzle and pipe the puree all over the cream, in loops or straight lines. Sprinkle the grated chocolate over the piped chestnut, if using. Place the reserved cream into the middle of the pudding and build up into a peak, so Mont Blanc looks snow covered.