Custard and Meringue Week Technical Challenge: Mary's Oeufs En Neige

Custard and Meringue Week Technical Challenge: Mary's Oeufs En Neige

Mary Berry's Oeufs En Neige is the perfect recipe for your new year's celebration. She challenges the bakers during the "Custard and Meringue Week" technical bake to make this delicate dessert that is perfect for the holiday season. They must poach the meringue quenelle and place it on top of a custard. The final product looks simple but it definitely takes perfect technique to get this dessert right.  Watch the full episode of "Custard and Meringue Week" from Season 2 Episode 6 of The Great American Baking Show.

Serves 6


For the poaching liquid:

15 fl oz whole milk

8 fl oz heavy whipping cream

1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

For the French meringue:

6 large egg whites

6 oz super fine sugar

For the crème anglaise:

6 large egg yolks

3 oz super fine sugar

For the caramel spirals:

Oil for greasing

3 oz super fine sugar

3 tablesppons water

To decorate:

Flaked almonds, toasted 

Angelica, finely chopped

Glace cherries, finely chopped


1. Pour the milk and cream into a large sauté pan or deep-sided frying pan. Add the vanilla bean paste and bring slowly to a simmer.

2. Meanwhile, whisk the egg whites on fast speed in a large grease free bowl to look like clouds. Add 6oz of the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking continuously on fast speed, to a thick, glossy meringue that holds its shape.

3. Using 2 large tablespoons dipped in cold water shape 6 large quenelles and gently poach in the milk and cream, covered with a lid, for 9-10mins. Transfer to a wire rack to drain. 

4. For the crème anglaise, pass the poaching milk through a sieve(sifter), to remove any bits of broken off meringue into a large cup. In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks and remaining 3oz of superfine sugar together until pale and fluffy. Pour over the warm poaching milk, whisking continuously. Pour the mixture into a clean heavy based pan and cook over a very low heat.

5. Simmer for 3-4 mins stirring continuously until smooth and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Keep warm. 

6. For the caramel spirals, oil the handle of a wooden spoon. Pour the water into a pot and add sugar. Stir until the sugar has dissolved into the water, then remove the spoon and boil to a caramel, hard crack stage,(300F). 

7. Remove from the heat and plunge into a bowl of iced water to cool and thicken slightly. When the caramel is ready, take a spoonful from the pot and start the spiral by winding down towards the end of the spoon handle. Working quickly and smoothly continue to wind the sugar strand along the handle, until you reach the end. 

8. Allow the sugar spiral to cool for 20 to 30 seconds before you attempt to remove it. Place on a baking mat to cool completely. Repeat the process 5 more times to make 6 spirals. 

9. Pour the crème anglaise into a large shallow serving dish. Spoon the poached quenelles onto the crème anglaise and decorate with the almonds, angelica and cherries. Top with caramel spirals. 


1. Make sure not to get egg yolk in the egg whites when you separate the egg whites from the egg yolks. Egg yolk contains fat and even a speck of yolk can prevent a bowl of whites from whipping properly. Do not over whip the egg whites, or they will not expand and rise in the oven. 

2. The poaching liquid can not boil or the meringues will puff up then collapse. 

3. Do not get the caramel too hot. The trick is to get it to just the right thickness. If the caramel is too hot or cooked too long it will crystalize and seize. The caramel is ready to work with then a spoonful is lifted then dropped back into the pan, and it pours slowly. 

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