In this Nordic dessert, cardamom goes beautifully with velvety ganache and crunchy meringue
• 200g fresh blueberries
For the meringue:
• splash white vinegar
• 2 large egg whites, at room temperature
• pinch salt
• 115g caster sugar
• 1-2 tablespoons chunky blueberry jam
For the cardamom chocolate cream:
• 100ml thick cream, at room temperature
• 50ml full-cream milk
• 2 tablespoons raw sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon cardamom seeds
• 85g milk chocolate, broken into squares
• 85g dark chocolate, broken into squares
1 First make the meringues. Preheat the oven to 100°C. Lightly douse some paper towel with vinegar and use this to wipe a large mixing bowl and an electric mixer. Line three baking trays with baking paper.
2 Beat the egg whites in the bowl until they reach soft-peak stage. This is when the whites are aerated and have become white foam; they hold some form but will not stand firm if you lift up the mixture with the whisk. It is important not to over-beat the whites at this stage.
3 Add the salt and continue to beat. Add the sugar, a little at a time, until it’s all incorporated. It should now be very firm and at the stiff-peak stage. Fold in the jam with a spatula.
4 Spread the mixture as thinly as possible across the lined baking trays. There will be a lot of mixture; I had some extra dollops left over for snacks! Cook in the oven for 30 minutes.
5 Leaving the meringues in the oven, turn the oven off and leave the door slightly open. Allow the meringues to cool and crisp up until the centre of the meringue is completely dry and crisp. This can take 1–3 hours, depending on the humidity of the kitchen.
6 Meanwhile, make the cardamom chocolate cream. In a saucepan, stir the cream, milk, sugar and cardamom over a low heat for 5–10 minutes to allow the cardamom flavour to infuse. Don’t let it bubble; you only want it to steep. Remove from the heat and leave to cool completely.
7 Strain the cooled cream mixture into a clean heatproof bowl. Set it over a saucepan of simmering water (don’t let the base of the bowl actually touch the hot water).
8 Stir gently to warm the mixture through then add the pieces of chocolate, and stir until the chocolate has melted and is evenly incorporated.
9 Remove from the heat and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes–1 hour, until completely cool and set.
10 Spoon the chocolate cream into serving bowls, top with fresh blueberries and break over shards of the meringue.
Recipe courtesy of Simon Bajada, extracted from The New Nordic