Elegant dessert which combines flavours of hazelnut and almond meringue with coffee and amaretto cream, finished off with smooth dark chocolate ganache. It is one of those recipes which you reach for if you need something really special. One advise only: serve small portions, it is really delicious but also very rich.
For the meringue:
- 4 egg whites
- 100g ground almonds
- 100g chopped hazelnuts
- 1 tbsp corn flour
- pinch of salt
- 1 cup caster sugar
For the coffee cream:
- 4 egg yolks
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 1/4 cup caster sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla paste or extract
- 1 tbsp corn flour
- 2 tbsp Amaretto
- 2 tbsp instant coffee
- 220g soft unsalted butter
For the chocolate ganache:
- 180g dark chocolate
- 3/4 cup double cream
- handful of walnuts or hazelnuts
In a food processor blend the almonds, hazelnuts and corn flour until fine and well combined.
To make the meringue whisk the egg whites, when starting to hold stiff peaks, add sugar, one tablespoon at a time and continue whisking.
When the meringue is stiff and shiny, add a pinch of salt and gently fold in ground almond and nut mixture.
Spread the meringue mixture onto a lined baking sheet and form a 30cm x 28cm rectangle.
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 130C for 90 minutes, do not open the oven while you are baking the meringue. When ready, turn the oven off, open it slightly and leave for about 20-30 minutes to cool a little.
While meringue is in the oven prepare the coffee cream. Pour the milk into a saucepan and bring to the boil, while waiting beat the egg yolks with corn flour, sugar and vanilla and when milk is hot add some of it into the egg yolk mixture, stir quickly until well combined, then place back in a saucepan, stir all the time until the creme patissiere is thick. Pour the mixture into a bowl, cover with foil (it should touch the top of the cream) and leave to cool.
Dissolve the coffee in Amaretto and set aside. Beat the butter until fluffy, then add the creme patissiere, a little at a time and keep whisking. When well combined add dissolved coffee and mix. Place in the fridge until needed.
To make chocolate ganache place chopped dark chocolate in a bowl, warm up the cream in a small saucepan and when hot, pour over the chocolate. Leave for couple of minutes then stir. Place in the fridge until thickened.
When the meringue is cooled, cut into three equal-sized rectangles. Place the first rectangle on a place and spread a thin layer of chocolate ganache on top, pipe half of the coffee cream on top, then cover with second layer of meringue and repeat. Spread remaining chocolate ganache on top and around the sides of the cake. Decorate with walnuts and leave in the fridge to set for at least and hour.