I’ve been making this dessert for years and it’s definitely a crowd pleaser. I usually fill the layers with a mixture of kiwi, banana, raspberries and strawberries, which gives a nice variety of colours and textures but just one type of fruit can also be terrific. This torte base is essentially a pavlova with hazelnut meal folded in at the end. Hazelnut meal is one of my besties in the kitchen – there is virtually no dessert that can’t be made better by substituting at least some of the flour content in a recipe with hazelnut meal.
6 large egg whites, at room temperature
1? cups (300g) caster sugar
1½ cups (165g) hazelnut meal
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
2 cups (500ml) cream
? cup (40g) icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste OR
natural vanilla extract
the fruit needs to be sliced before the
ganache is made
3 bananas, sliced into 5mm thick pieces
2 punnets strawberries, sliced into
5mm thick pieces
3 kiwifruit, peeled, halved, sliced into
5mm thick pieces
100g dark chocolate, chopped
Special Equipment: electric cake mixer
Preheat the oven to 140?C or 130?C fan-forced. Line 3 baking trays with baking
paper and draw a 20cm diameter circle on each sheet. Set aside.
To make the torte base, beat the egg whites in a large clean mixing bowl (preferably
stainless steel or glass) with an electric cake mixer until soft peaks form. Keep
beating, gradually adding 1 tablespoon of the caster sugar at a time. Beat until all
the sugar is incorporated and you have a meringue with stiff peaks. Sprinkle with the
hazelnut meal and vinegar and gently fold into the meringue. Divide into 3 batches
and spread evenly onto the trays using the drawn circles as a guide. Bake for 1 hour
(if you are using 2 levels of your oven, swap the trays at halfway time) then switch
the heat off and leave in the oven to cool completely – overnight is best. You may
prep these up to a few days before and store in an airtight container.
In a medium bowl combine the cream, icing sugar and vanilla and whip until stiff
peaks form. Refrigerate until required.
To make the ganache, heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until
bubbles begin to appear. Remove from the heat, add the chocolate and stir until all
the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Be careful not to overboil the
cream as it will separate and give you a lumpy ganache. Allow ganache to rest for
1–2 minutes then fill a small icing bag with a 2mm nozzle.
Begin to assemble the torte by placing one of the torte bases onto a plate or cake
stand. Spread one-third of the cream on and then fan out different types of the
sliced fruit so the colour is nicely distributed. Zig zag one-third of the ganache over
the first layer of cream and fruit. Repeat the process with another layer of the torte
base, cream, fruit and ganache on the second and top layer. You may chill the torte
for a short while but it is best to assemble it shortly before serving.
When beating egg whites, always make sure you have a very clean dry bowl and
well separated eggs as any fat content will prevent the albumen from frothing
Instead of the crème chantilly, you may use the leftover egg yolks to make
a chocolate crème patissiere to fill the layers with (see page 212).
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