Ok, here is my New Year’s resolution – “I want to start cooking out of my comfort zone”. That said, I had asked my family, as Christmas gift, to give me money because I wanted to take a pastry course in Paris with Pierre Hermé (Oh my God, this is still a dream!!!).
So, being all excited about the perspective of doing my pastry course, I gave my 33 year old “foodie” son, a dessert to choose from several Pierre Hermé cookbooks I own.
He chose the Megève Cake. I looked at the recipe and thought he must be out of his mind, how on earth could I ever achieve that standard of dessert.
But, having made my decision that I would do no matter what he chose, I got on with it (ok, I confess, I kind of changed a few things here and there) and made it.
I was so proud of the final result, it looked so amazing, I even decorated it with little edible gold droplets. But the best part came when I served it. It was meant to be in the fridge for 2 days but there was no way anyone wanted to wait, so I served it the following day. Everyone was saying it was the most delicious and balanced cake they had ever eaten because the chocolate mousse filling has no sugar so it is the perfect balance with the meringue. So, let’s see what you think. Note: the recipe has many steps but that's because I like to explain well the way I went about. Don't be taken aback from trying it, it wasn't that hard to do it. —Maria Teresa Jorge
On a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites. When they reach soft peaks add 4 ounces of the sugar and the vanilla extract and continue whisking. When they reach medium hard peaks add the remainder of the sugar and beat until they are very hard, glossy and smooth.
Pre-heat the oven to 210º F.
Line 3 baking trays with parchment paper. On the reverse side of the paper draw 3 circles of 9 inches diameter on each paper. Butter and flour the parchment papers (don’t skip this process because it will make it very easy to remove the parchment paper from the meringue without breaking them).
Divide the meringue in 3 equal parts and spread on the 3 circles with the back of a spoon and a metal spatula, or use a piping bag with a thick plain nozzle. With the aid of a spatula, smoothen the surface, so they have equal height and the surface is as flat as possible.
Cook the meringues for 1 1/2 hours each. If you have a convection oven with more then one rack you can fit all of them in at the same time. They will come out quite white and very dry.
Allow to cool and remove the parchment paper which will come out very easily while still warm.
For the chocolate filling mousse:
Cut the chocolate in small pieces and melt it in a bain-marie. Allow to cool to 100ºF.
Warm up the milk to 100º F.
In a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, whisk the butter until very fluffy. Add the cooled melted chocolate slowly in a stream, scraping down the sides and bottom to make sure the mixture is well blended.
In a bowl, beat the egg yolks until they get fluffy and lighter in colour. Add the warm milk and whisk until well incorporated.
Add the egg yolk and milk mixture to the chocolate butter mixture and whisk until well combined.
Whisk the egg whites to medium soft peaks.
Fold 1/3 of the egg whites with a spatula in the chocolate mixture. Then pour the chocolate mixture over the remaining egg whites and fold gently with a spatula until well mixed.
Cover the bowl and chill for 2 hours.
Staking the meringue and chocolate mousse:
Put a meringue disk on a serving plate. With a spatula gently spread 1/3 of the chocolate mousse evenly over the top. Add the second meringue disk and gently spread 1/3 of the chocolate mousse. Add the third meringue disk and cover with the remainder 1/3 of chocolate mousse but this time use a very fine coating on top and the rest around the sides to cover completely (see photos 2 and 3)
Chill for 2 days.
Pour the glaze that should be at 100ºF on the cake, spreading with a long metal spatula so the glaze coats the top and sides evenly. Allow the glaze to set for about 1 hour. This is best done with the cake on a cooling rack over a baking tray so the excess glazing can drip in the tray and the serving dish doesn’t become full of glaze.
Soft Chocolate Glaze:
Put the cream in a pan over medium heat. Open the vanilla pod in half and scrape out the seeds. Bring to a boil and remove from the heat and allow to infuse for 15 minutes.
Bring the cream back to a boil again, discard the vanilla pod and stir in the chopped chocolate and corn syrup with a wooden spoon or spatula until smooth and shiny.
Allow to cool to 100ºF and use to glaze the cake as per step 18.