Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Chocolate meringue gateau

World Nutella Day is here and personally, I will be keeping it simple by celebrating with a jar and a spoon. But, if you'd rather make more of an occasion out of the day, then decadence is the key. This gateau is a marriage of meringue, shortcrust pastry, chocolate, nuts and of course, Nutella. Meringue is simplicity at its sweetest – soft pillows of marshmallow with a crisp outer crust created out of nothing more than whipped egg whites and sugar. Combine this lightness with layers of rich chocolate and whipped cream and you have a dessert that will get any chocolate-lover’s heart a-flutter! It certainly got mine going!

Photography by Angie Lazaro 

Chocolate meringue gateau
(serves 8-12)

8 egg whites, at room temperature
500g castor sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup pecan nuts (or other nuts), finely chopped

Shortcrust pastry
225g Sasko Cake Flour
125g cold Stork Bake, chopped
½ cup icing sugar, sifted
3 egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp ice cold water

1 cups cream
200g dark chocolate, chopped
1 cup Nutella spread
200g white chocolate, chopped
2 cups cream
2-3T Amaretto liqueur
chocolate curls, to garnish

Place egg whites in a large bowl and whisk until soft peak stage. Gradually add the sugar in small amounts, whisking until stiff peak stage. Whisk in vanilla.
Pipe the meringue in 4 large spirals and sprinkle with the chopped nuts. Preheat the oven to 120°C, turn the oven off, prop the door open slightly with a wooden spoon and let the meringue discs dry for at least 8 hours or overnight.

Photography by Angie Lazaro 

For the pastry, place the Sasko cake flour, Stork bake and icing sugar in the bowl of a food processor and process in short bursts until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. While the motor is running, add the egg yolk and vanilla. Add the iced water and process until the dough just comes together. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and bring together to form a ball. Flatten into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 180ÂșC. Roll the pastry out to 3mm thick. Cut the pastry into a disc the same size as your meringue spirals. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden.

Photography by Angie Lazaro 

To make the fillings, heat the cream and pour ½ cup over each of the dark chocolate and white chocolate and stir until melted. Allow to cool. Place the pastry disc on a serving plate. Whip the cream with the liqueur. Spread the dark ganache on the pastry disc and spread with whipped cream follow with a meringue disc, the Nutella spread, more whipped cream, another disc, the white chocolate, the final disc and then finish with more cream. Refrigerate for 3 -4 hours before serving. Decorate with chocolate curls or drizzle with melted chocolate and top with chopped nuts. 

Photography by Angie Lazaro 

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