Chocolate and hazelnut meringue
Chocolate and hazelnut meringue: Serves six to eight.
YOU WILL NEED
175g/6oz hazelnuts, skinned and toasted
275g/9½oz icing sugar, plus extra for
110g/4oz/4 squares dark chocolate,
broken into pieces
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
4 egg whites
A pinch of salt
For the filling
300ml/10fl oz pouring cream
250g carton mascarpone cheese
225g/8 oz fresh raspberries
For the chocolate curls
110g/4oz/4 squares plain chocolate (at
least 70pc cocoa solids), broken into
Preheat the oven to 120°C/250°F/Gas Mark ½. Line three baking sheets with non-stick parchment paper. Draw a 20cm/8in circle on each piece of paper and then turn the paper over.
Place the toasted hazelnuts in a food processor with three tablespoons of the icing sugar and process to a fine powder. Add the chocolate and pulse until finely chopped. Set aside. Sift the remaining icing sugar and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl. Whisk the egg whites with the salt in a large bowl until very stiff, but not dry.
Whisk in the combined icing sugar and bicarbonate of soda. Carefully fold in the hazelnut and chocolate mixture until well combined. This is best done in a food mixer to make sure everything is mixed in well. Divide the meringue mixture among the three circles, spreading into rounds of an even thickness using a spatula. Bake for five minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 110°C/225°F/Gas Mark ¼ and bake for a further one-and-a-quarter hours until the tops of the meringue are crisp and the inside soft like a marshmallow. Transpose the baking sheets during baking to ensure even cooking.
Slide the meringues, still on the parchment, off the baking sheet and on to wire racks and allow to cool for about one hour, or until cold, then peel off the parchment paper.
To make the filling, whip the cream in a large mixing bowl until it holds its shape, then fold in the mascarpone. Place a meringue round on a serving plate. Spread with a third of the cream mixture and raspberries. Place the second meringue on top and press down lightly. Cover with another third of the cream mixture and raspberries. Position the final meringue on top. Chill in the fridge for at least four hours, reserving the remaining cream mixture and raspberries for the decoration.
For the chocolate curls, place 75g/3oz/3 squares of the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water and heat gently until the chocolate has melted. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining chocolate. Continue to stir until the chocolate is smooth and glossy. This will help temper the chocolate.
Pour the chocolate on to a very cold marble slab and allow to set at room temperature. If you put it in the fridge, the chocolate will lose its wonderful sheen. Holding a large sharp knife at a slight angle, carefully push the blade across the surface of the hardened chocolate to shave off long curls. Always push the blade away from you. You should end up with about 12 chocolate curls.
To serve, spoon the remaining cream mixture over the layered meringue and arrange the rest of the raspberries with the chocolate curls on top. Dust lightly with icing sugar and bring straight to the table. Cut into slices and serve.