Espresso Meringue Torte

I have a favourite saying when trying to convince my husband he still has room for dessert. “Come on,” I’ll say, “it’s fluffy, not stuffy!” This gluten-free confection fits the bill as a dessert that makes a perfect finish to a great meal. It’s light and flavourful but not too filling. Look for espresso powder in your favourite grocery store. While it might not make a fantastic drink, it is extremely versatile – I use it to add flavour to buttercream, to perk up sweet and savoury sauces. I don’t usually have caffeine in the evenings, but there’s not enough in here to cause any problems.  One of the things I love most about this dessert is that you can make the meringues up to a week ahead, whip the cream a few hours before and then it’s super fast to assemble.

Delicate meringue layers alternated with espresso-flavoured whipped cream make for a light, lovely make-ahead dessert.

Delicate meringue layers alternated with espresso-flavoured whipped cream make for a light, lovely make-ahead dessert that’s gluten-free!

Ingredients

For the meringue

  • 4 egg whites
  • pinch salt
  • 3/4 cup (200 mL) white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) espresso powder
  • 2 teaspoons (10 mL) cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the whipped cream filling

  • 2 cups (500 mL) whipping (35%) cream
  • 1/3 cup (90 mL) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) espresso powder

Method

  • Preheat oven to 270F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Trace three 8 inch (20 cm) circles and one 4 inch (20 cm) on the parchment paper if making a large torte or thirteen 3 inch (7.5 cm) circles if making individual servings.
  • In a large bowl, beat egg whites and salt on high speed until soft peaks form.
  • Combine sugar, espresso powder and cornstarch and add gradually while continuing to beat. When the mixture forms stiff peaks, beat in vanilla.
  • Spread a layer of meringue about 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) to fit traced circles on parchment.
  • Set oven timer then bake meringue in preheated oven for 1 hour. Turn off the oven, but leave meringue in oven until it cools down completely – overnight is good.
  • Working carefully as the meringues are very delicate, transfer cooked, cooled meringue to an airtight container and store for up to a week. If they crack a little, don’t worry as they’ll be covered with whipped cream.
  • When ready to serve, whip cream. As it thickens, gradually sprinkle in combined sugar and espresso powder. Continue whipping until very stiff. Note that cream can be prepared up to three hours ahead of time, covered, and refrigerated.
  • To assemble one large torte, place one of the large meringues on a serving plate. Top with a layer of whipped cream and place a second large meringue on top. Repeat the process.
  • To assemble four individual meringues, follow the process above using three meringues per plate, crumbling the remaining one; make six by using two meringues per plate.
  • Once you’ve assembled the dessert decorate the top with remaining cream then crumble the one remaining meringue and sprinkle over top. Dust with espresso powder and serve within 1 hour.

Serves 4 – 6.

espresso_meringue_torte_pinnable

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About Paula Roy

Welcome to my kitchen! I play with words and with food. I love simple dishes prepared with passion and am always seeking to find new methods to make food as fun and flavourful as possible. I'm also an enthusiastic explorer of faraway lands and cuisines.
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