Yes, there was dessert at the Sunday lunch. On the Saturday I made a Hazelnut Meringue Torte that is also gluten-free. You need to make it a day ahead as it’s best served around 12 hours after making it. I like being able to make desserts a day ahead as it takes a lot of pressure off the day of the event.
On the Sunday and a few minutes before the guests were to arrive, I asked Carl to help me with photographing the torte and so Carl carried it out onto the verandah and we took some lovely images of it. I brought it back into the kitchen and was holding the cake stand with one hand while opening the fridge door with the other when I heard a splat and behold! I looked over to my hand holding the cake stand and there was no torte. It was, no more.
Casting my eyes further south, there was my torte lying splattered on the kitchen floor.
I screamed. Carl came running. Miss Arabella stepped into the scene and trying to be helpful asked, ‘Do you have time to make another one?’ I was standing there still holding an empty cake stand in my right hand and there was pork roasting on one shelf of the oven and potatoes cooking in duck fat on the other. ‘No, Arabella, I’m not a magician; I won’t be able to conjure up another torte between now and when the guests arrive in five minutes’. ‘What happened?’ asked Carl. ‘Isn’t it bloody obvious?’ I wanted to scream. ‘I must have tilted the cake stand ever so slightly when I was trying to get it into the fridge and then the torte, which I thought was pretty much stuck to the platter, just shot straight off like a skier down a mountain’. ‘It can be fixed’, said Carl. Do you ever feel like stabbing an optimist? Carl got down on his hands and knees and used two metal spatulas to gently lift the deflated top layer off the floor. It hadn’t actually come into contact with the floor as part of it still had the bottom layer under it and the other bit was protected by berries. The salvaged section was carefully placed onto another platter and put into the fridge. The dogs were brought into the kitchen for a breakfast only dreams are made of and with their wagging tails and smacking lips they knew all their Christmases had come at once. When it came time to serve the dessert, Carl brought out the camera and showed them the photos. And while they were still salivating over the images, I knocked them back into reality by producing a single-layered, battered and deflated cake. And they were very kind about it!
If you make this, either carry it carefully or smear a little whipped cream onto the serving dish then put the first layer down on that bit of cream. This will help the cake adhere to the platter and help avoid tears in the kitchen. Hazelnut Meringue Torte Serves: 6-8 Degree of Difficulty: 3/5 Cost: This really is just a few eggs with nuts and sugar. You can decorate it with any berries you like so best to use whatever is in season. Blueberries are reasonably priced at the moment but raspberries are highway robbery. Begin this recipe a day ahead.
- 6 egg whites
- 1 1/4 cups caster sugar
- 1 1/4 cups ground hazelnuts
- 300mls (.6 of a pint) of whipping cream
- fresh berries
Pre-heat oven to 150C (300F). Grease 2 x 20cm (8 inch) springform pans with butter then line with baking paper. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Beat in half the sugar and continue to beat until the mixture holds stiff peaks. Fold in the remaining sugar and nuts with a metal spoon, being careful not to deflate the egg whites. Divide between cake tins and place in the oven for 40 minutes. (The cakes should be dry and crisp on the top). Turn out the cakes onto a wire rack and when cool, remove the paper. Whip cream and smear a little on the serving plate. Place one cake on the smeared platter. Cover cake in half the cream and decorate with berries. Place remaining cake on top of the berries. Cover in remaining cream. Decorate with berries. Place in fridge until ready to serve. (Cake will be at its best if left in fridge for around 12 hours). If you liked this post, you’re welcome to share it.