chocolate meringue tower

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Called a vacherin glacé, a meringue tower is three layers of pavlova with a whipped cream sauce in between the layers. It is incredibly sweet.

4 large egg whites, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 1/3 cups superfine sugar
1 cup toasted slivered almonds, ground fine
1 8-oz block cream cheese
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup chocolate chips
chocolate syrup
toasted slice almonds, optional

Preheat oven to 300˚F/175˚C. Prepare 2 baking trays. Line them with parchment paper. On one parchment, draw two 8-inch circles about an inch apart. On the second piece of parchment draw one 8-inch circle in the center. Flip over and set aside.

Place egg whites, vanilla, and cream of tartar in a large mixing bowl. With an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip on medium speed until soft peaks form (the tips curl over). Gradually add the sugar 1 tablespoon at a time, beating on high speed until stiff glossy peaks form (the tips stand up straight). Gently fold in the 1 cup ground almonds.

On the prepared parchment papers, mound and smooth the meringue inside the circles. Bake 35 minutes. Turn off the oven and let the meringues sit for one hour in the oven. Do not open the door. After one hour, take out the meringues and gently peel off the parchment one meringue at a time. If not using right away, wrap airtight and place in an airtight canister until ready to use. In Bangkok’s humidity this is an essential step.

One to two hours before serving, make the sauce. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, place the cream cheese and butter. Blend until smooth. Add the sugar and the cream. Exchange paddle for the whisk attachment and whip until soft peaks form (the tips curl over). This can be made ahead, in which case, cover and chill until ready to use.

To assemble, place one meringue disk on a plate. Spoon 1/3 of the sauce on top. Sprinkle 1/3 of the chocolate chips and toasted sliced almonds, if using, on top. Cover with another disk and repeat two more times. For the top layer, drizzle chocolate syrup over the top. Chill 1-2 hours. Serve cold.

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