Christmas desserts are a difficult area. After a big meal, forcing down a traditional rich Christmas pudding can feel like a chore rather than the delight that a dessert should be. Tastes are changing too - so many people don't even like Christmas pudding nowadays, which is a very puzzling phenomenon to me. Neither of my children eat Christmas pudding, so with no Christmas Day guests it was going to be pointless to produce one.
meringue and chestnut cream from her recipe file. I'm not very experienced with meringues, but the recipe seemed simple enough and there was no-one here but family to see if it didn't turn out well.
Fortunately things turned out well, after an initial miscalculation with the circle sizes for the meringue layers, which almost had me making 6" circles instead of 7". I don't even know why I tried to translate the centimetre measurements to inches in the first place as I usually consider myself bilingual in baking weights and measures! I had a little weeping on one of the meringue layers, but not enough to spoil the appearance of the dessert, once it was constructed.
This was a great choice for a dessert to follow a large meal - light but still rich enough to seem special! We were all surprise by how subtle and mild the flavour of the chestnut purée was, but it gave extra body to the creamy layer and balanced the sweetness of the meringue. The general consensus was that the dessert needed more chocolate for a better flavour, but we are a family of chocoholics - more is always better! I was a little concerned about how well the meringue would hold up after the dessert was constructed, so I made a warm chocolate sauce to serve with the leftovers on the second day, in case the meringue was too soggy. This got everyone's approval as an improvement over the original. Although the dessert kept fairly well, it was collapsing a bit by the second day, so is something that ideally should be eaten all at once.