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Date Almond Chocolate Meringue

Recipes

TV presenter Maeve O’Meara has described this dessert from her latest cookbook as one of the easiest crowd-pleasing sweets she’s found.

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The cookbook, Food Safari: Earth Fire Water features more than 200 recipes plus stories from the past three seasons of SBS’s Food Safari, including dishes from Asia, Europe, the Americas and the Middle East.

In the introduction for this recipe, O’Meara writes:

This delicious dessert was whipped up by the very charming Pip Fagan whose husband Ed grows a whole range of vegetables outside Cowra in southern New South Wales: his fields full of cucumber, chickpeas, corn, baby spinach (which is mown like mowing a lawn!), the most wonderful asparagus and beetroot (beets).

We spent many days filming and enjoyed spending time with Ed, Pip and their family. Using chocolate reminds me of our time spent on the cacao farms of Far North Queensland – the avenues of big shady trees, with the dappled sunlight being, as our friend chocolatier Thibault Fregoni describes, ‘like being in a green cathedral’.

 The sheer hard work that goes into making chocolate makes you wonder how the many processes were ever discovered by ancient civilisations in Mexico – the fermenting, sun-drying, winnowing, roasting and conching. We were delighted to find Australia’s own fledgling chocolate industry.

Date Almond Chocolate Meringue

By Pip Fagan

Serves 8–10

Ingredients

6 egg whites
200g sugar
100g almonds, chopped finely or coarsely blended
200g good-quality chocolate, chopped
200g dates, pitted and chopped
Cocoa powder to serve
Crème fraiche to serve

Method

Preheat the oven to 180C (350F). Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gradually add the sugar and beat until glossy and thick.

Fold in the almonds, chocolate and dates.

Lightly grease and line the base and sides of a 22cm springform pan. Spread the mixture evenly in the pan. Bake for 45 minutes, then turn the oven off and leave the door ajar until cool.

Sprinkle with cocoa powder and serve with crème fraiche.

This is an edited extract from Food Safari: Earth Fire Water, by Maeve O’Meara, published by Hardie Grant Books, RRP $60.

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