Dessert queen Claire Saffitz may be known for her elaborate empanada creations, but luckily for all of us newbie bakers, she has a way of explaining tricky techniques to set you up for success. This Flourless Chocolate Meringue Cake (from her new cookbook, What is for dessert) will expertly teach you how to make a brilliant meringue, with the added benefit of decadent deliciousness at the end.
“Meringue is a magical mixture of egg whites and sugar that can be used in so many ways,” Saffitz writes, “but I first knew it could be baked directly on top of a cake when I saw pastry chef Liz’s recipe. Prueitt for Sweet Potato Tea Cake with Meringue It seemed like an exceptionally clever technique that I wanted to try, and it made sense to use it on a cake where meringue is already part of the recipe, like flourless chocolate cake. attractive on top of the cake, but is baked into a light, crispy shell that yields to the rich crumb.”
Plus, as she points out, this dreamy dessert is dairy-free and grain-free, making it Passover-friendly and naturally gluten-free.
What is for dessert? Copyright © 2022 by Claire Saffitz. Photographs Copyright © 2022 by Jenny Huang. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Random House.
1. Place an oven rack in the center position and preheat oven to 350°F. Brush bottom and sides of 9-inch springform pan with oil, making sure to coat all the way down the sides. Line the bottom with a round of parchment and brush with more oil, then set the pan aside.
2. Fill a medium saucepan with about 1 inch of water and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, then reduce heat to maintain gentle cooking. In a large heatproof bowl, combine the chocolate, oil, coffee, and 1½ teaspoons of salt and place over the saucepan, taking care that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water (this is called a double boiler). Stir occasionally with a flexible heatproof spatula until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is completely smooth, then remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
3. Add the egg yolks, vanilla, and ¼ cup (50 g) sugar to the chocolate mixture and beat vigorously to combine. Beat in the almond flour until well combined. It will look broken and separated, which is fine! Add ¼ cup (57 g) of water and shake vigorously until the mixture comes together and looks smooth and glossy. Set the bowl aside.
Four. Make the meringue: In a clean, large, non-plastic bowl, using a hand mixer, beat the egg whites and remaining pinch of salt on medium-low speed until the whites are broken and foamy, about 20 seconds. Increase speed to medium-high and continue to beat until the whites are foamy and opaque, about 30 seconds, then gradually add the remaining ¾ cup (150 g) of sugar in a slow, steady stream, beating constantly. Once all the sugar has been added, increase speed to high and continue beating until you have a glossy, dense meringue that holds a stiff peak on the beaters. Try not to over-beat, or the whites will get a dry, grainy texture and difficult to incorporate.
5. Make the dough: Scoop out a heaping cup of the meringue and set aside to swirl on top of the cake. Scrape about half of the remaining meringue into the bowl with the chocolate mixture and gently fold in until just a few streaks remain. Scrape up the rest of the meringue and fold until you have a light, airy, evenly mixed batter. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, then spoon the reserved meringue over the entire surface. Use a skewer or toothpick to stir the meringue into the batter. Swirl a little or a lot; up to you.
6. Bake the cake until the surface rises and cracks, the meringue is lightly browned, and when you insert a toothpick or cake tester, the cake comes out shiny but clean, 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven and place it on a wire rack, then immediately run a paring knife or small angled spatula between the top of the cake and the edge of the pan to loosen any areas that may be stuck (this will help the cake cake sets evenly as it cools). Cool the cake completely. Re-cut sides to loosen cake, then remove outer ring from pan.
Do it ahead? Yes. Wrapped tightly and stored at room temperature, this pie will keep for up to 4 days, but it’s best eaten the first day or two while the meringue topping is still crisp (it will soften over time).
Do this without nuts? Yes. Although not a common ingredient in most grocery stores, sunflower seed flour is a good nut-free alternative to almond flour.
Use a stand mixer instead of a hand mixer? Yes. Combine the egg whites and salt in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and continue with the recipe as written, keeping in mind that the meringue will whip up faster and will be easier to over-beat in the mixer. stand mixer.