Almond Meringue Layer Cake
1 cakes scale / convert
2 cups almonds, sliced
3/4 cup superfine sugar
2 tsp. superfine sugar
7 lg. egg whites, room temperature
1 tsp. cream of tartar
12 oz. bittersweet chocolate
1-1/4 cups creme fraiche (or heavy cream)
Preheat oven to 350°F. In a food processor, place the almonds and 3/4 cup sugar and process until the almonds are finely grated.
In a mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy, add the cream of tartar, and beat until soft peaks form when the beater is raised slowly. Gradually add the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, beating until stiff peaks form when the beater is raised slowly. Fold in the grated almond mixture.
Using a 1-gallon zip-seal bag with one corner cut off, or a pastry bag fitted with a large plain number 6 (1/2-inch) tip, pipe the batter on to the prepared baking sheets to form three 8-inch circles, starting with the perimeter and spiraling inward toward the center. Use a small metal spatula to fill in any gaps with the leftover batter and to smooth the surface. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or just until the discs begin to brown. Remove baking sheets to a rack. Loosen the circles from the sheets, and allow them to cool completely on the sheets before transferring to a work surface or serving plate. The will, have expanded to about 9-inches. To obtain a perfect circle, invert a cake pan over the circles and trim any excess with a sharp knife.
The recipe makes three discs. Freeze one for another use, or, if desired,to make a higher cake. Make extra ganache (1 pound chocolate; 1 2/3 cups cream) and use the third disc to create another layer. the original version makes a very low, European style cake.
Break the chocolate into pieces and process in a food processor until very fine. Heat the creme fraiche to the boiling point, and with the motor running, pour it through the feed tube in a steady stream. Process a few seconds until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and cool for several hours, until it reaches frosting consistency. In cool weather ganache can remain unrefrigerated for at least 3 days or as long as 2 weeks. At room temperature it remains spreadable.
Place one disc of the circles on a cardboard round or serving plate, and top with an even layer of about two thirds of the chocolate ganache. Place the second disc on top, flat side up. Refrigerate for at least one hour. Using a long metal spatula, spread the remaining ganache evenly on top of the succes and a thin layer around the sides. Place a few tablespoons of cocoa in a flour dredger or fine strainer, and sprinkle it evenly over the top of the succes. For decorative marking slightly press a cake rake on top of the cocoa and lift away carefully.
Store airtight, 5 days refrigerated. Remove from the refrigerator at least one hour before serving. Almond Meringue layer cake filled with chocolate ganache and dusted with cocoa.
Use superfine sugar (Castor) for the best texture. It is not actually necessary to use flour on the baking pan to keep it from sticking; however, the flour does have the desirable effect of keeping the success from spreading.
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