This gorgeous layered meringue cream cake is rich and yet impossible to resist ! Serve slim slices to your friends – they can, and probably will, always come back for ‘seconds’. This is a perfectly decadent afternoon tea cake or dress it up with some caramalised bananas and cream at the side for a glamorous dinner party dessert. You can also just simply layer the meringue with fresh fruit and cream - think mango, or fresh berries, for a simpler version.
For the Wattleseed Hazelnut Meringue
50g shelled hazelnuts, finely choped (or hazelnut meal)
1 dessertspoon (approx 10g) roasted and ground wattleseed (or use the grounds from making the wattleseed and honey cream)
4 large egg whites at room temperature
1 cup (220g) castor sugar
For the chocolate ganache
i cup good quality dark cooking chocolate, chopped
50g unsalted butter
1 cup thickened cream
For the Wattleseed Honey Cream
1 tablespoon (20g) wattleseed
1/4 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons honey, slightly warmed to a stirring consistency
21/2 cups thickened cream
To make the meringue
Preheat the oven to 110C.
Line three baking sheets with non-stick baker’s paper and mark out 3 circles of approximately 20cm diameter. Spray lightly with baking spray (oil)
Pour ¼ cup of boiling water over the wattleseed and let cool to room temperature. By this time the wattleseed should have absorbed all the water and the seed should be swollen and softer.
Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until firm. Slowly add the castor sugar and whisk until stiff peaks form. Fold 2/3rds of the hazelnuts and all of the wattleseed through the glossy meringue mix.
Divide the meringue mix into three portions and using a spatula or palette knife spread the meringue in each circle marked on the baker’s paper. Scatter the remaining 1/3rd of hazelnuts across the top of each meringue disc.
Place in the lower shelf of the oven and cook slowly for up to two hours. The meringue discs should be firm to touch and lightly browned. The meringue will crisp further when cool.
To make the chocolate ganache
Heat the cream and butter in a small saucepan until it comes just to the boil, then immediately remove from the heat, and add the chopped chocolate. Stir with a wooden spoon until the chocolate melts and the mixture becomes, a rich chocolate colour, and is completely smooth and glossy. Set aside to cool and refrigerate until ready to use.
To make the Wattleseed Honey Cream
Bring the water to the boil with the wattleseed. Simmer for 5 minutes and then let completely cool. Once cool strain through a very fine sieve to remove the wattleseeds. Reserve the seeds to use through the meringue.
Whisk the cream until whipped and then fold through the wattleseed and honey. If the honey is thick place the amount required in the microwave for a few seconds only to slightly warm so that it may be incorporated easily into the cream.
Carefully remove each meringue disk from the baker’s paper. Spread carefully and evenly the chocolate cream over the surface of two of the meringue discs.
Spread half of the cream over the top of the first disc and then layer with the second. Repeat the process and top with the remaining meringue disc. Refrigerate for at least two hours.
Dust with pure icing sugar and serve in slim slices with fresh cream at the side.
This dessert is best eaten on the same day it is made.