7 egg whites
380 g caster sugar
2 tsp cornflour
1 tsp white vinegar
150 g hazelnut meal
100 g good quality 75% cocoa dark chocolate, broken into pieces, to serve
40 g roasted blanched hazelnuts, chopped, to serve
Mocha creme filling
200 g good-quality 75% cocoa dark chocolate, broken into pieces
600 ml pouring or thickened cream
250 ml creme fraiche
1 tbsp strong prepared espresso coffee, chilled (see tip, below)
2 tbsp confectioners' sugar
- Preheat oven to 140°C. Draw 20cm circles on 4 pieces of baking paper. Turn paper over so circle is on the bottom and place on 4 baking trays. Alternatively, if you have a large enough oven and baking trays, draw 2 x 20cm circles on 2 pieces of paper.
- Put the eggwhites in a large, clean, dry bowl (reserve yolks for scrambled eggs). Using electric beaters, beat the eggwhites slowly until a frothy foam forms. Increase the speed until soft peaks form. Add 1 cup of the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating constantly. Add remaining sugar in a steady stream and beat until the mixture is stiff and glossy. Whisk in the cornflour and vinegar. Then fold in the hazelnut meal using a large metal spoon.
- Divide mixture equally between the 4 circles, spreading to the edges. Bake for 40 minutes, or until the edges are set but the inside is still a bit gooey. If you don’t have room for all 4 trays at once, bake them as soon as possible after the first batch. Cool on the trays. The meringues can be stored in airtight containers for 24 hours if not using immediately.
- Meanwhile, make the mocha filling. Melt the chocolate in the microwave or in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes then stir in 1/2 cup of cream.
- Whisk the remaining cream, crème fraîche, espresso and icing sugar together until stiff peaks just form. Fold in the cooled chocolate mixture – if the chocolate mix is too warm it may start to set when it touches the cold cream, so fold it in quickly.
- Carefully remove the baking paper from the cooled meringues and place one on a serving plate. Spread with 1/3 of the mocha filling. Top with the second and third circles and remaining filling. Top with the final meringue.
- In a clean bowl melt remaining chocolate in a microwave or over a saucepan. Drizzle melted chocolate and scatter nuts over cake.