Phil Thomas uses an ‘Italian’ meringue base for his dessert, which he describes as “the most technical of meringues to make”. An ‘Italian’ meringue is much underused even by other chef’s, “but it is the ideal base for any iced parfait. Simply add the puree, or fruit puree, of your choice to lightly whipped cream and the meringue. Once you have overcome the fear of making it,” he adds, “you will find many uses for it in stunning desserts. The advantage is that it keeps its shape; it can be frozen without going rock-solid, it can also be dried out like ordinary meringues but won’t collapse and go sticky and it makes a versatile base for many desserts from ice-creams to a lemon meringue pie.”
The Rosewarne was a popular West Cornwall dining venue in the 1980’s, where they regularly served between 200 – 300 meals a night in the summer time. It was also where Phil had his first taste of his career on a work experience placement. Reopened in December 2007, with a complete refurbishment, the Rosewarne is set to rebuild its reputation and Phil found he had come full circle by returning as Head Chef.
“We do everything here in the ‘old school’ way.” says Phil,” and we don’t compromise on the quality of what we do.” Phil is also committed to teaching and training other apprentice chefs. “We do our own butchery, prepare our own fish, make pastry…we do the lot. It’s the reason why we’ve had a trainee chef from Fifteen and students from Truro and Cornwall Colleges. We are able to can teach them everything they need to know and how to make all kind of classics like patés, terrines and brioche from scratch.”
Ingredients for the Meringue
75g Caster sugar
6 egg whites
Ingredients for the Ginger base
1 Jamaica ginger loaf cake
3 tbsp Honey
2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
2 tsp Mixed Spice
300 ml double cream
2 Bramley apples
25g Caster Sugar
1 tbsp Sultanas
Method for the Ginger base
Gently heat the milk with the honey and spices.
Roughly crumble the ginger loaf into the milk and allow to stand for 10 minutes.
Liquidise until you have a fine puree, set aside to cool.
Method for the meringue
Gently heat the sugar and water together until the sugar is dissolved and then increase the heat to a fast boil.
Heat the sugar to 110°C on a sugar thermometer.
When this temperature is reached whisk the egg whites on an electric mixer until they stand in firm peaks.
Continue heating the sugar syrup until it reaches 115°c and then carefully pour onto the egg whites.
When the syrup has all been added, reduce the speed to medium and continue to mix for 15 minutes until cold.
To assemble the dish wrap 8x 50mm diameter ramekins with a band of greaseproof that is twice the height of the ramekin and secure with an elastic band.
Lightly whip the double cream until it stands in soft peaks and then fold into the ginger puree.
Then gently fold in half the meringue being careful to not to lose any of the air.
Finally fold in the rest of the meringue and spoon into the prepared ramekins.
Place in the freezer and allow to freeze overnight.
To serve, peel the apples and cook with the caster sugar to make a light apple sauce and then mix in the sultanas.
Remove the soufflés from the freezer and allow to stand for 5 minutes to soften. Remove the greaseproof paper and serve with a spoonful of the apple sauce.
To make it even more special you could dust the top of the soufflé with crushed peanut brittle.
Rosewarne Manor, Gwinear Road, Connor Downs, Hayle, TR27 5JQ
Tel: 01209 610414
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