Decadent rich chocolate flourless cake covered in a crisp and chewy meringue is a chocolate lovers dream. Add hazelnuts and extra chocolate chunks in the meringue and this dessert becomes sublime.
Chocolate Hazelnut Meringue Cake
Small amount of vegetable shortening and unsweetened cocoa powder for preparing pan
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
¾ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
6 large eggs, separated
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon rum, preferably dark
¼ teaspoon salt
Tip: See Melting Chocolate – How to Melt Chocolate
1 cup hazelnuts, toasted, skins removed, coarsely chopped
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon cornstarch
4 large egg whites
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup granulated sugar
Tip: Use standard measuring cups and spoons or scales for accurate measuring.
Tip: To toast the hazelnuts, preheat oven to 350F and spread the nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake 10 to 15 minutes until the nuts begin to brown and fragrant and the skins crack. While the nuts are still warm, rub them between your fingers to remove the skin. Or, rub the nuts with a rough cloth to remove the skin. Or, place them in a mesh bag (like an orange or lemon bag) and rub the nuts between your hands over the kitchen sink. The skins will fall through the mesh into the sink and only the skinned nuts will remain in the bag.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare one 9 inch round springform pan; lightly grease the pan with shortening and dust with unsweetened cocoa powder.
- In a large bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and brown sugar until smooth and fluffy. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add melted chocolate, vanilla, rum and salt, beating until well combined. Set aside.
- In another large mixing bowl and using clean beaters, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Using a balloon type whisk or large rubber spatula, gently fold about ¼ of the beaten egg whites into the batter to lighten the batter, and then fold in the remaining egg whites.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Place the pan on a baking sheet with ½ inch sides to catch any leakage. Bake 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, while the cake is baking, prepare Meringue.
- In a small bowl, combine chopped hazelnuts, chopped chocolate, and cornstarch. Set aside.
- In another medium mixing bowl and using clean beaters, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar; continue beating until stiff peaks form, taking about 8 minutes. Using a balloon type whisk or large rubber spatula, gently fold the hazelnut mixture into the egg whites.
- Remove cake from oven after baking for 30 minutes. Using an offset spatula, carefully spread meringue mixture on top of the cake.
- Return cake to oven. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, or until meringue is lightly browned and crisp.
- Remove from the oven and place on a wire cooling rack to cool. Immediately run a thin knife around the edge of the pan, gently pressing into the side of the pan to avoid gouging the cake. This allows the meringue to contract away from the sides of the pan as it cools, helping to prevent cracks. The meringue may still crack, and this is OK. Let cool for 10 minutes, remove the sides of the springform pan. Place the cake on the wire cooling rack to finish cooling.
Tip: Serve cake using a pretty cake plate and cake server for a delightful presentation.
Makes 8 to 10 servings.
Source: Marha Stewart Living, February 2003
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