Gascon mess

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Serves: 8-10
Preparation: 40 minutes
Cooking time: 3 hours (for the meringue)

    What you need

    Ingredients

    • 4
      egg whites
    • 240 g
      caster sugar
    • 1 litre
      double cream
    • 25 g
      icing sugar
    • 100 ml
      Martell Cognac
    • 300 g
      Agen prunes, ready-to-eat (For the Prunes)
    • 50 g
      sugar (For the Prunes)
    • 1
      cinnamon stick (For the Prunes)
    • 1
      star anise (For the Prunes)
    • 5
      cardamom pods (For the Prunes)
    • grated zest 1 orange (For the Prunes)

    Instructions

    • 1If the prunes are not semi-soft / ready-to-eat, then blanch them first in a pan of boiling water for 1 minute, then drain. If they are already semi-soft then no need to blanch.
    • 2Make a syrup with the 50g sugar and 150ml boiling water in a saucepan – add the cinnamon, star anise, cardamom and orange zest. Stir in the prunes, simmer for 3 minutes then remove from the hob and cool. Remove stones (if needed) and marinade overnight.
    • 3Heat an oven to 100oC / Gas ½ - cover a baking sheet with non-stick baking parchment.
    • 4Whisk the egg whites in a large (grease free) bowl and using a balloon whisk or electric whisk beat the whites until you have a white foam that holds firm peaks with soft tops.
    • 5Gradually beat in 240g of sugar until the foam becomes a glossy and thick meringue. Drop tablespoons of the mixture onto the baking parchment sheet in mounds, allowing a little space between, then bake for up to 3 hours until crisp and a very pale golden colour. Allow to cool.
    • 6When ready to put the dessert together, whip the cream with the icing sugar until softly stiff then gradually whip in the Martell until the cream is form but not dry.
    • 7Drain the prunes but leave them a little juicy and cut into halves or quarters. Roughly crush the meringues and fold in all the elements together. Serve nicely chilled in glass bowls or sundae glasses. Can also be served with a red berry coulis and candied, julienned orange strips on top.

    This delicious dessert was served at our Martell France 300 Celebrations, an evening celebrating the best of French talent in the UK. To celebrate our tricentenaire Chef Pascal joined forces with artist Malika Favre and mixologist Clotilde Lataille to host a special night of Martell Cognac-inspired collaborations at Club Gascon.

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