Author Notes: Invented in 1927, Postre Chajá consists of layers of sponge, meringue, whipped cream, apricots and – occasionally - dulce de leche. The meringues and sponge can be prepared ahead, and the assembly is quite straightforward. Instead of the impressive 5cm molds I used you could make it in a 20cm springform tin. —Ginger
Makes: 16 small portions
grams caster sugar
medium eggs, separated
grams plain flour
teaspoons vanilla sugar
fresh apricots - you can use tinned ones, too
milliliters whipped cream
grams dulce de leche (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 140C. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment on which you have drawn the outline of the tin you are going to use.
- Beat the 2 egg whites in a clean bowl until they form soft peaks; add 100g sugar, one or two spoonfuls at a time, whisking briskly.
- Use a small freezer bag with a corner cut off – or a proper piping bag – and pipe a circle the size you would like the finished product to be, and then fill the inside up until they reach the required height. Make two or 3 extra ones as you will need meringue crumbs to decorate the top.
- Put the tray in the middle of the oven and bake for 1 hour. Switch off the oven and let them dry until they are fully dry, or overnight.
- Grease the bottom of the cake tins and line the sides with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 180C.
- Using an electric mixer, beat 3 egg whites until they begin to thicken, then add 40g of the sugar and keep beating until they are beginning to form soft peaks.
- In a separate bowl, beat the 3 yolks with 50g sugar and 3 tsp vanilla sugar until pale. Add the egg whites and sift over the flour and cornflour, using a spatula or a wooden spoon to fold in.
- Spread the mixture evenly in your cake tins and bake for 20 minutes. Use a toothpick to check if they are ready: it should come out clean or with little crumbs. Leave to cool before turning on to a wire rack.
- Cut the apricots into thin wedges. Put them into a sieve on top of a bowl, sugar them a little and collect the juices.
- Whip the cream until it begins to thicken, then add 2 tsp vanilla sugar and beat until it forms soft peaks.
- Make a syrup by bringing 200ml water with 150g sugar to boil, stirring it until the sugar is fully dissolved. Leave to cool and add the apricot juices.
- Assemble the cakes as follows: 1 Soak one layer of sponge in half the syrup. 2 Spread the dulce de leche on the sponge, before you 3 top it with the layer of meringue. 4 Spread the sliced apricots and half the whipped cream on it, then 5 add the second layer of sponge, soaked in the rest of the syrup. 6 Cover the cake with the rest of the whipped cream, followed by 7 meringue crumbs, sprinkled over the cream. 8 Decorate with the remaining apricot slices
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Recipe with Egg Whites