Meringue Cream Torte is considered the "lightest cake of all." In Mexico, the topping is usually whipped cream, which smoothes out and hides any dips and bumps in the torte. The combination is lovely with crushed berries. But for the holidays, it is also delicious flavored with a hazelnut-and-chocolate spread. For all of its fragility, the torte can be made in advance, cuts neatly, and holds its shape.
Meringue Cream Torte Recipe
This outstanding Meringue Cream Torte recipe and photo are from the Sunset Magazine, November 2003.
5 large egg whites, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup granulated sugar*
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons hazelnut-flavored liqueur or cold espresso
2/3 cup chocolate-hazelnut spread**
1 cup whipping cream, divided
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate curls, optional
* Use superfine sugar because it dissolves faster than granulated sugar.
** Chocolate-hazelnut spreads, such as Nutella, are available in most supermarkets.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Butter and flour an 8-inch cake pan with a removable rim at least 3 inches tall (such as a springform pan).
In a large bowl with a mixer on high speed, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until frothy. Continuing to beat at high speed, add sugar in a slow, steady stream; continue to beat until mixture holds stiff peaks, 8 to 12 minutes. Beat in vanilla extract. Check out my article on Making Perfect Meringues.
With a flexible spatula, scrape mixture into prepared cake pan; spread mixture out to edges of pan and smooth out top.
Bake approximately 25 minutes, until top is lightly browned and feels firm when gently pressed in the center. Remove from oven and let stand for 20 minutes (meringue may shrink a little as it cools).
To remove from pan, run a thin knife between meringue and pan rim, then remove rim. Carefully invert meringue onto a plate, then slide a long, thin spatula between pan bottom and meringue and gently lift the bottom off. Invert meringue again onto another plate so that it is right side up. Let cool completely.
In a bowl, whisk hazelnut liqueur into chocolate-hazelnut spread.
In another bowl, whip cream until it holds soft peaks. Stir about 1/4 cup of the whipped cream into the chocolate/hazelnut mixture until no white streaks remain. Fold chocolate mixture into remaining whipped cream, then whisk gently until mixture has a loose, spreadable consistency (take care not to overbeat or it will curdle).
With the spatula, spread chocolate-hazelnut cream around sides and over the top of the meringue. If desired, sprinkle chocolate curls over the cake. Chill torte uncovered for at least 1 hour, or cover with a large, inverted bowl (it should not touch the cream) and chill up to 24 hours. Cut torte into wedges to serve.
Makes 6 to 8 servings.