Autumn Meringue Cake

If I'm printing a recipe that has 2 or more pages, it's probably a Pierre Hermé recipe. The recipes of this world-famous pastry chef are known to be intimidating. But I just think to myself "Whatever. Stay cool and if it doesn't work out, throw it away." The recipe is called 'Autumn Meringue Cake', but I really don't understand 'autumn'. You should make this cake when you're craving for a rich chocolate cake, which happens to me a couple of times throughout the year, not just in the fall.

Autumn Meringue Cake recipe: Pierre Hermé's 'Desserts'.

Ingredients for the meringue:
- 4 large egg whites
- 1 cup sugar (I believe in using 3 tablespoons of sugar for 1 egg white, so I used about 3/4 cup)
- 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Ingredients for the mousse:
- 9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 6 ounces (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 4 large eggs, seperated
- 3 tablespoons chocolate sauce, see below recipe (I forgot to do this, and it was just fine)
- 1 tablespoon sugar (I accidentally used a little more)

Ingredients for the chocolate sauce: (from my experience with Pierre Hermé's recipes, this is always too much)
- 4 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (I used only 1 ounce)
- 1 cup water (3 tablespoons)
- 1/2 cup creme fraiche or heavy cream (1 tablespoon)
- 1/3 cup sugar (1 tablespoon)

Ingredients for the chocolate glaze:
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 3 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 4 teaspoons unsalted butter, softened, cut into pieces (I omitted this)
- 7 tablespoons chocolate sauce, see below (I used about 5 tablespoons)

Instructions for the meringue disks:
- Preheat the oven to 250F/120C.
- Line 3 baking sheets with wax paper. Pencil the outline of three 9-inch disks on the wax paper. (mine were smaller, 7 or 8 inch)
- In a large bowl, whip the egg whites on high speed with a clean mixer until they turn opaque and form soft peaks.
- Still whipping on high speed, gradually add half of the sugar and continue to beat until the egg whites are glossy and hold firm peaks.
- Beat in vanilla. (I also added 1 drop of red food colouring, this gives the meringue disk a salmon colour when they are done)
- Working with a large rubber spatula, gradually fold in the remaining sugar. (I did this with the mixer) Work as quickly and delicately as you can to incorporate the sugar without deflating the egg whites.
- Fit a pastry-bag with a plain 1/2-inch tip. (I don't have this, so I took the tip off the pastry and used nothing, just the ending of the pastry-bag) Fill the pastry-bag with the meringue and begin piping the batter at the center of a circle. (it's easier beginning at the end) Work your way in a spiral and pipe with light, consistent pressure and try to keep the disks thin, they shouldn't be more than 1/3 inch high. (mine were too thick, so I only got 2 meringue disks out of the batter, but it all worked out fine)
- Place the baking sheets in the oven and insert a wooden spoon into the oven to keep the door slightly ajar. (I never do this)
- Bake the disks for 1,5 to 2 hours, until firm and ver lightly caramel colour, rotating the pans as necessary. (I had to bake mine for 2 hours, I rotated them every 45 min)
- Turn off the oven and continue to dry the meringue for another 8 hours, or overnight, with the door closed. (before I did this, I placed the disks upside down, so the bottom would dry, I really recommend doing this!)

Instructions for the chocolate sauce:
- Place all the ingredients in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.
- Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring frequently, until the sauce thickens and coats the back of a spoon. This can take about 10 to 15 minutes and shouldn't be rushed. (it took me 7 minutes)

Instructions for the chocolate mousse:
- Melt the chocolate in a metal bowl over, but not touching, simmering water.
- Set the chocolate aside to cool to 104F/40C. (I don't have a thermometer, I let it cool for about 10 min)
- Put the butter in a bowl and mix with an electric mixer on high speed until it is light and fluffy.
- Lower the speed and add the chocolate in 3 additions, increasing the speed after each addition. You want to beat as much air as possible into this mixture.
- Add the 4 egg yolks and mix until well blended.
- In a dry, large bowl, start whipping the egg whites, then add the sugar and whip until the whites hold sof peaks.
- Working with a large, flexible spatula, fold 1/4 of the whites and chocolate sauce into the chocolate mouse to lighten it.
- Then fold in the rest of the whites. The mousse is now ready to use.

Instructions for the chocolate glaze:
- In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the heavy cream to a boil.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the chocolate, stirring gently with a spatula. (I used a wooden spoon)
- Warm the mixture over simmering water until it reach 140F/60C. (I didn't warm it over simmering water, I just put it back on the stove)
- Stirring gently, blend in the butter and the chocolate sauce.
- To get the best coverage, the glaze should be about 114F/45C. (I poured the chocolate glaze into another pan so that it would cool a bit)

Instructions to assemble:
- Place the meringue disk, flat side down, on a plate.
- Spread 2/5 of the mouse evely over the disk.
- Cover with the second disk, then another 2/5 of the mousse, then cover with the third disk. (I only had 2 disks, place the last disk with the flat side up!)
- Spread the rest of the mouse over the top and the sides of the cake.
- Place the cake on a cooling rack and put a sheet of paper undernath it to catch the drips.
- Pour the glaze over the cake, let it run down the sides.
- You can serve the cake now or allow the glaze to set in the refrigerator.

The meringue disks baking in the oven.

Melting the chocolate for the chocolate mousse.

Melted chocolate, hmmm!

Folding in the egg whites

Assembling the cake.

The first piece! It's really rich.


Katiecakes said…
Oh yum!

I found you on Flickr and I'm glad I did! Everything looks amazing :)

I may have to give this cake a try though, it looks delicious!

Katie xox
Paris Pastry said…
Thank you!

It's really delicious, and not THAT difficult to make.
vanilla143 said…
I know that this was posted LONG ago, but I have a question. This lists ingredients and instructions on how to make a sauce a mousse and a glaze. However I do not see where you put the sauce on the cake. Can you help me please.
Paris Pastry said…
The chocolate sauce goes into the mouse mixture. Good luck!

Let me know if you have any other questions.
di_ani said…
This is a great cake -
crunchy meringue base, fine chocolate mousse and glaze ganache -
chocolate pleasure.
Thanks for the nice recipe, Diana
Frederique said…
This recipe is amazing. I agree that a little salt would be an improvement. I just wanted to point out a mistake that is quite costly. You should cook the meringue cakes on PARCHMENT paper, not wax paper or they will stick to the sheet pans and crumble into pieces when you attempt to unstick them but definitely worth making and quite easy.

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