Hazelnut and chocolate meringue torte

Murdoch Recipe Article Lead - narrow
Murdoch Recipe Article Lead - narrow 

This heavenly combination of chocolate, meringue and hazelnuts is highly appealing. It's a terrific do-ahead dessert and one that family and friends are bound to request time and again.

Ingredients

135 g (4¾ oz/1 cup) roasted and skinned hazelnuts

4 egg whites, at room temperature

220 g (7¾ oz/1 cup) caster (superfine) sugar

1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract

1 teaspoon white vinegar

200 g (7 oz) dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), melted

Chocolate mousse

150 g (5½ oz) dark chocolate, finely chopped

375 ml (13 fl oz/1½ cups) thickened (whipping) cream

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 160°C (315°F/Gas 2–3). Line 2 large baking trays with non-stick baking paper. Draw two 10 x 25 cm (4 x 10 inch) rectangles on one lined tray, leaving a little room between for spreading, and one rectangle on the other. Turn both pieces of paper over.

2. Finely chop 115 g (4 oz/¾ cup) of the hazelnuts. Coarsely chop the remaining nuts and put in an airtight container.

3. Use an electric mixer with a whisk attachment to whisk the egg whites in a medium bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar, a little at a time, whisking well after each addition. Whisk for a further 2–3 minutes or until very thick and glossy. Add the vanilla and vinegar and whisk for 30 seconds or until combined. Use a large metal spoon or spatula to gently fold in the finely chopped hazelnuts.

4. Divide the meringue mixture among the marked rectangles and use a palette knife to spread it out evenly. Bake for 30 minutes or until dry to touch. Turn the oven off. Cool completely in the oven, with a wooden spoon keeping the door slightly ajar.

5. Spread three-quarters of the melted chocolate over the cooled meringue rectangles and leave to set. Reserve the remaining melted chocolate.

6. To make the chocolate mousse, put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Bring 100 ml (3½ fl oz) of the cream just to a simmer, then pour over the chocolate. Stand for 1 minute, then stir gently until melted and well combined. Set aside at room temperature until the mixture has cooled completely.

7. When the chocolate mixture has cooled, use an electric mixer with a whisk attachment to whisk the remaining cream until soft peaks form (do not whisk the cream past soft peaks or it will curdle later). Add the chocolate mixture and use a spatula or large metal spoon to fold together until just combined. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm.

8. Place a meringue rectangle on a serving platter. Spread with half the chocolate mousse. Continue to layer the remaining meringue rectangles and mousse, finishing with meringue. Warm the reserved chocolate until it is melted again, then drizzle over the torte and refrigerate overnight.

9. Remove from the refrigerator 1 hour before serving. Serve sprinkled with the coarsely chopped hazelnuts.