A. Line a baking tray with silicone paper. Whisk the egg whites very stiffly. Add sugar a teaspoon at a time, whisking well after each addition.
B. Draw an 8-inch circle on silicone paper. Use half the meringue to fill circle and smooth it with a knife. Put spoonfuls of remaining mixture on to rest of paper in seven heats. drawing them up to a peak with the handle of a teaspoon. Bake meringues in a very cool oven for 2 hours or until crisp. Remove from oven and leave to cool on a wire tray.
C. Put chestnut purée in a bowl. In another bowl whip cream until it forms soft peaks. Fold cream into purée with sherry if used. Spread filling on to meringue base. Arrange small meringues on the top. Use the marrons glacé to decorate. Serves 4-6.
QUICK TIP Cooking meringues – it is far better to cook meringues on the slow side, just gently drying them out. (Use the coolest oven in a solid fuel cooker). Too hot an oven causes the sugar to weep out as a syrup, and also makes the meringues over-coloured.
A. Grease an oblong tin about 11 by 7 inches, 1-inch deep. Sieve together flour, salt and cocoa. In another bowl beat butter and sugar until light and creamy. Add eggs a little at a time, beating well after each addition. Fold sieved ingredients into mixture with milk. Mix well. Turn into prepared tin.
B. Bake in a moderately hot oven for about 35 minutes until centre of sponge springs back when lightly pressed. Allow to cool in tin.
C. Melt butter for icing. Add cocoa. Cook over low heat for 1 minute. remove from heat and add evaporated milk and icing sugar. Mix in thoroughly. Spread over cake in tin and leave to set, then cut cake into 15 squares.
Cocoa gives a strong chocolate flavour. It is essential to cook it for all recipes and to add sweetening. Chocolate powder is already sweetened and does not require cooking in recipes; the resulting flavour is less chocolatey.
A. Grease a 7-inch cake tin and line with greased greaseproof paper. Rinse cherries (see Quick Tip below). Cut each cherry in half. Sieve the flours and salt together twice then toss the cherries in a little of the flour. Cream butter, sugar and lemon rind together until the mixture is pale and creamy. Add beaten egg a little at a time, beating well after each addition and keeping the mixture stiff. Add a tablespoon of flour with last amount of egg. Fold in flour, cherries and ground almonds adding a little milk to make a fairly stiff dropping consistency; then stiff consistency will help cherries remain suspended evenly in cake while it is baking.
B. Turn mixture into prepared tin and bake in a moderate oven for about 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in centre of cake comes out clean.
C. Leave cake to cool in tin for 5 minutes then turn it out to a wire tray to finish cooling; remove paper. When cold, wrap in foil or store in an airtight tin.
To remove the syrup from glacé cherries before using, put into a sieve and rinse under running water. Drain well and dry very throughly on absorbent kitchen paper.