Bake on Saturday, Dessert

Chocolate Meringues and a Mousse-Meringue Stack

A recipe for chewy chocolate meringues and a decadent triple chocolate mousse-meringue stack.

The cafe Sweet Diablo in Washington, DC claims to have the best chocolate cake in the world.  The first time I visited the cafe, I decided to try it even though I’m kind of picky about my cake.  However, the cake at Sweet Diablo, a creation of Carlos Braz Lopes, is pretty darn good.  Cake, though, is a misnomer.  It’s really a dark chocolate mousse encased in two layers of thin, crispy chocolate meringue and topped with a gooey chocolate ganache.  Still delicious, just not really cake.

After going again last week to get a last slice of cake before moving out of DC, I started thinking that I maybe I could recreate Chef Lopes’s dessert in my own kitchen.  I knew I could make all the parts separately…so why couldn’t I put them all together?

Well, Chef Lopes must have some tricks up his sleeve because what I made was great, but a much lighter version of his dark chocolate confection.  My results were totally inspired by him, though, even though other chef’s like Nigella Lawson have recipes for similar treats already.

My mousse-meringue stack.
My mousse-meringue stack.

This recipe only requires a few ingredients, but it does take some time.  You may want to employ your little sister as gopher/sous chef.  The recipe for the chocolate mousse I used can be found here, but to make a small chocolate stack you only need about 1/4 of the amount the recipe makes.  One six-inch chocolate stack was the perfect size for serving four.  The meringue recipe below makes four six-inch circles, plus a little more.  Alternately, you can just make meringue drop cookies with the recipe–it’ll make about 30 cookies, give or take (but depending on the size).

meringues01
Drop meringues.

Chocolate Meringues

Adapted from Nigella Lawson.

Ingredients

3 large egg whites

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1 heaping T cocoa powder

1 tsp vinegar

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 285 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line cookie sheets with parchment (or silpats).  If you are making a stack, trace four six-inch circles onto the parchment.  If your parchment keeps rolling in on itself, spray the cookie sheet lightly with cooking spray.

With a mixer, beat the egg whites.  When they begin to foam, begin adding the sugar a little at a time (I did about 4 separate additions).  Beat to the stiff peaks stage.

Sift the cocoa powder over the egg whites.  Add the vinegar.  Fold gently until both are completely incorporated.

If making meringue rounds, use an offset spatula to fill in the circles you have traced onto your parchment paper.  Alternately, drop the meringue by spoonfuls onto the parchment, leaving about an inch in between each.

Bake for one hour.  After an hour, turn off the oven but leave the meringues in the cooling oven to dry completely for several hours (I left mine for four hours).

Chocolate Meringue Stack

For two stacks (eight servings), you need one batch of the above meringues, baked into four six-inch rounds, and about a 1/2 recipe chocolate mousse.  Or, you could make one tall stack using all four meringue rounds.

Spoon chocolate mousse on top of one meringue.  Place another meringue on top.  Cover with chocolate ganache or another layer of mousse.  Refrigerate briefly before serving, but not for longer than an hour or the layers will slide!

mousse meringue

Question: Do you have a favorite chocolate cake?  I absolutely LOVE this recipe from Smitten Kitchen! 

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