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Whipping up a meringue indulges the pastry geek in me. I never tire of watching a liquid egg white inflate as it foams up and then, with the help of sugar, transform into a beautiful, thick and glossy mixture that you can spread or pipe into almost any shape. (Of course this reverence partly comes from many a failed attempt at a voluminous meringue.) That said, making a meringue is really not difficult, just remember the rules: start with a clean, dry bowl and remove even the slightest speck of yolk.
The meringues in this torte are based on a classic baked meringue called a hazelnut dacquoise. Toasted, ground hazelnuts, and malted milk powder are gently folded into the meringue. The meringue is piped or spread into discs, then baked at a low temperature for a long time until dry and crispy. When cool, the meringues are layered and frosted with a bittersweet chocolate ganache that balances out the sweet meringue. As the cake rests, the meringue layers soften ever so slightly, while still retaining a nice crunchy texture. For as rich as this torte is, it's surprisingly light. For a luxurious gluten-free dessert, simply omit the malted milk powder.
About the Author: Yvonne Ruperti is a food writer, recipe developer, former bakery owner, and author of the new cookbook One Bowl Baking: Simple From Scratch Recipes for Delicious Desserts (Running Press, October 2013), and available at Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, Powell's, The Book Depository. Watch her culinary stylings on the America's Test Kitchen television show. Follow her Chocoholic, Chicken Dinners, Singapore Stories and Let Them Eat Cake columns on Serious Eats. Follow Yvonne on Twitter as she explores Singapore.