• Heat the oven to 140C (gas mark 1). Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.
• Place the egg whites and a pinch of salt in the bowl of an electric mixer with a whisk attachment. Whisk on a low speed for 1 minute, then increase the speed to medium and whisk for another 2-3 minutes, or until the egg whites form stiff peaks. If you lift the whisk attachment out of the bowl, the mixture should look fluffy and cling to them, while the peaks remain stiff and moist-looking. This will take longer if doing by hand or using a hand held mixer. Then, while continuing to whisk, gradually add the sugar a tablespoon at a time, until the mixture is stiff and glossy - this may take 5-10 minutes.
• Using a large, metal spoon, place freeform shapes on to the prepared baking trays.
• Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the meringues are pale and dry. Turn off the oven and allow the meringues to cool in the oven with the door slightly ajar.
Caramel sauce recipe.
Tip the sugar into a heavy-based frying pan, stir in 4 tbsp water, then place over a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Turn up the heat and bubble for 4-5 mins until you have caramel. Take off the heat, then carefully stir in the cream and butter.
Poached pears recipe.
1. In a pan big enough to hold the pears snugly, tip in all the ingredients except the pears. Half fill the pan with water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 10 mins to infuse, drop in pears, cover and gently poach for about 30 mins until soft. Turn off the heat and set aside. The pears can be poached up to 2 days ahead and kept in the poaching syrup in the fridge.
2. To make the chocolate sauce, tip the chocolate into a heatproof bowl. Bring the cream, milk and cinnamon to the boil and pour over the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted. To serve, drain the pears and, holding them by the stem, dip them in the chocolate sauce to completely cover. Serve each pear with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream
2 eggs, 1 pear skinned, sugar, cream, cinnamon sticks and a bit of ginger and star anise.