If you’re looking to cater for a large crowd of chocolate lovers, look no further. If eaten as soon as it’s assembled, you can appreciate the contrast of crunchy meringue to soft mousse. Once stored, it’s equally delicious and easier to cut as the chocolate mousse seeps into the meringue.
Chocolate Date Meringue Discs:
Preheat the oven to 160°C (315°F). Line two large baking trays with baking paper.
Using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, whip the egg whites with the cream of tartar on medium–high speed until medium peaks form, then gradually add the sugar. Continue to whisk for a minute to dissolve the sugar. Fold the chopped pecans, dates and chocolate through the meringue using a spatula.
Divide the meringue mixture into four equal portions then spread the meringue on the baking trays into four individual discs, approximately 23 cm (9 inches) in diameter. Bake for approximately 15 minutes, until lightly coloured. Cool at room temperature. (The meringue discs can be pre-made and stored for a week prior to assembly if well wrapped.)
Milk Chocolate Mousse Filling:
Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Put the cream (a) and the vanilla bean paste in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and whisk until the chocolate melts and you have created
A smooth ganache. Allow to cool to touch, but not so far that it sets.
Whisk the cream (b) to a semi-whipped consistency (see page 16) and fold it through the ganache until combined.
Preheat the oven to 150°C (300°F). Put the pecans on a baking tray lined with baking paper and roast them for approximately 15 minutes. Remove them from the oven and, once cool, cut them into large chunks.
Temper the chocolate (see pages 12–14). Cut 30 x 10 cm (12 x 4 inch) rectangles of baking paper and either pipe with a paper piping (icing) cone (see page 19), or spoon on a 1.5 cm (5/8 inch) dot of tempered chocolate, and smear it into a curved shape with your thumbs. Repeat this process to create chocolate garnishes for the top of the cake. Leave the garnishes at room temperature to set for approximately 20 minutes. If your room temperature is too warm (more than 23°C/73°F), place them in the refrigerator for no more than 5 minutes.
Place one of the meringue discs on your chosen plate, then take a quarter of the prepared milk chocolate mousse filling and spread it evenly over the meringue disc using a palette knife. Layer with a second meringue disc and repeat the process until all the meringue discs are layered with the milk chocolate mousse filling. Place the remaining mousse filling on top of the fourth disc.
Place the curved chocolate garnishes, standing upright, on top of the cake with the widest point on the base. Randomly place the garnishes on the top surface of the mousse and scatter the pecans over. Dust with icing sugar just prior to serving. This cake can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
Nutritional analysis per serving (20 servings)
Note: The information shown is Edamam's estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.
Recipe and Image from Chocolate by Kirsten Tibballs (Murdoch Books).
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