Sunday, December 7, 2014

Hazelnut and Chocolate Meringue Cake

This week I was invited to a potluck with my co-workers. I wanted to make something new and seasonal, but I was stumped. After searching the web for new ideas, I came across this amazing recipe from Food & Wine and adapted it to fit my own cooking style! Meringue is a very technical thing to make. I had never made it before, but I decided to give it a shot! Below is the recipe and outcome. 

6 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups finely grinded hazelnuts
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 cup mini chocolate chips 
6 ounces melted dark chocolate
3 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
Chocolate shavings, for garnish


Preheat the oven to 350° and line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. 

Spread the hazelnuts on a third baking sheet and toast for 12 to 14 minutes, until browned. Let cool slightly, then transfer to a towel and rub to remove the skins. Pulse the hazelnuts in a food processor until finely ground. Lower the oven temperature to 225°.
In a bowl use a standing electric mixer if you have one fitted with the whisk (if you have one) or just use a regular electric hand mixer fitted with a whisk (Which is what I did) and beat the egg whites with the salt at medium-high speed until soft peaks form. 

Before being beat
After being beat! I love seeing the change!
Gradually beat in the granulated sugar at high speed until stiff. Beat in the vanilla and almond extracts. Fold in the hazelnuts and chocolate chips. Pour the melted chocolate down the side of the bowl and gently fold until the meringue is lightly marbled.
Folding in hazelnuts and mini chocolate chips
Marbling with the melted dark chocolate
Spread the meringue into three circles (approximately 8 inch diameters) and bake for 2 hours and 30 minutes, until crisp; rotate the pans halfway through baking. 

Before going into the oven: 8 inch meringue spreads
Turn off the oven, slightly open the door, and let the meringues cool completely.

In the bowl of the standing mixer, beat the cream with the confectioners' sugar until firm. 

Homemade whipped cream is so easy to make!
Remove the meringues from the parchment paper. Spread the whipped cream on the layers and stack them. Garnish with chocolate and refrigerate or freeze the cake overnight. When ready to serve, cut into wedges and serve at room temperature. 

Finished cake with meringue/whipped cream layers

Original Recipe Source:

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