2 large egg whites
100g caster sugar
25g dark chocolate, very finely grated
1 tbsp cocoa powder
40g flaked or finely chopped almonds (optional)
150ml fresh cream
100g dark chocolate, chopped
1 tbsp Baileys (optional) , or a splash of brandy
Chocolate caraque, to decorate (see separate recipe)
Preheat Oven to 120°C
- Place a sheet of baking parchment on a baking tray and mark out three circles. Each circle should be 10cm in diameter.
- Whisk the egg whites until frothy. Add the caster sugar a little at a time, beating with each addition. When all the sugar has been added and the mixture sufficiently stiff that the bowl can be turned upside down, it is ready.
- Mix together the grated chocolate and cocoa powder and lightly fold into the meringue mixture until evenly dispersed.
- Divide the mixture between the three shapes and spread out to fit. Smooth the surface and scatter with the almonds, if you are using them.
- Bake until crisp and dried-out (usually about 1 and a half hours) but still a pale colour. Cool on a wire tray.
- These can be made in advance and kept in an airtight container for a week or so.
- Prepare the chocolate cream early on the day of serving to give it time to cool. It can be cooled in the fridge, but take care not to let it stiffen too much.
- Put the fresh cream into a saucepan and bring just barely to the boil. Take off the heat and add the chopped dark chocolate, stirring until it melts. If necessary, return to the heat for a little extra warmth. When all of the chocolate is melted, stir well and allow to cool until the mixture thickens enough to whip. Whip it lightly, adding the Baileys by degrees, if you are using it.
- Place the first layer of meringue on the serving plate and spread the chocolate cream over the top. Add the other two layers of meringue, spreading chocolate cream between them and then over the top.
- Decorate the top with the chocolate curls or drizzle with any leftover chocolate cream.