Do something special and make your own love hearts this Valentines day. Pretty as a picture, these pastel meringue hearts make a stunning finale to a Valentine’s dinner à deux.
Make Your Own Love Hearts
Makes: 2 pairs
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour
for the meringues
60g (2½oz) Tate & Lyle Fairtrade Golden Caster Sugar
1 large egg white, about 30g (1¼oz)
Squires Kitchen mint green paste food colour
for the filling
65ml (2½floz) double cream
110g (4oz) jar cherry compôte
Tate & Lyle Fairtrade Icing Sugar, for dusting
Squires Kitchen crystallised natural whole roses
To make your own love hearts you will also need 2 baking trays lined with parchment paper, a 8cm (3¼”) heart-shaped cutter and a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle.
Make Your Own Love Hearts – Method
Preheat the oven to 200°C/Fan180°, 400°F, Gas 6.
Using the cutter, draw 4 heart shapes with a pencil on the 1 of the sheets of parchment paper, spaced apart as the meringues will spread a little. Turn the paper over so you don’t get pencil on the undersides of the meringues.
Tip the sugar onto the remaining baking tray and spread it out in an even layer. Warm through on the middle shelf of the oven for about 3-4 minutes or until the sugar feel hot to touch and has lightly coloured, stirring once. Don’t let it caramelize. Pour into a small bowl.
Reduce the oven heat down to its lowest, 110°C/Fan90°C, 225°F, Gas ¼.
As soon as the sugar is ready, using an electric mixer, add the white to the bowl and whisk at high speed until it is light and foamy, for about 1 minute. Slowly add the hot sugar, a dessertspoon at a time, and continue whisking until the mixture has cooled and is very thick and glossy. Scrape down the sides halfway through. This will take about 5 minutes.
Using a fine skewer or toothpick, add a little of the colouring, briefly whisk again and check that it’s the colour you’d like, if not, add some more.
Use a little of the meringue to stick down the paper on the baking tray. Spoon the mixture into the piping bag and pipe the heart shapes.
Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 55-60 minutes. The meringues are ready when they are crisp on the outside and the bases are dry and not at all sticky. Turn off the oven and leave them to cool in the oven for a few hours or overnight.
To assemble, lightly whisk the cream, divide between half of the meringue hearts, spoon on the cherry compôte, then top with the remaining hearts. Arrange on plates, lightly dust with Tate & Lyle Fairtrade Icing Sugar, decorate with the crystallised roses and serve.
The Make Your Own Love Hearts meringues can be made up to 2 weeks ahead and stored in an air-tight container.