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Hazelnut meringue torte with chocolate cinnamon mousse

The Hairy Bikers' alternative Christmas dessert makes a striking centrepiece and is perfect for chocoholics.

Ingredients

For the mousse
For the hazelnut meringue
For the topping

Preparation method

  1. For the mousse, mix 250ml/9fl oz of the cream and all of the cinnamon in a small saucepan and bring to the boil over a medium heat. As soon as the mixture reaches boiling point, remove the pan from the heat and set aside to infuse for 5 minutes.

  2. Strain the cream mixture into a clean pan and add the grated chocolate. Stir until melted then set aside to cool to room temperature.

  3. Meanwhile, whip the remaining cream in a bowl until stiff peaks form when the whisk is removed. When the chocolate and cinnamon cream has cooled, fold in the whipped cream. Cover the bowl with cling film and chill in the fridge for a good hour, or until firm enough to spread but not too firm.

  4. Preheat the oven to 140C/275F/Gas1. Line two large baking sheets with baking parchment.

  5. For the hazelnut meringue, beat the egg whites with an electric whisk until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed. With the beaters still running, gradually add the caster sugar and vanilla extract, whisking after each addition, until the mixture forms stiff, glossy peaks and all of the sugar and vanilla have been incorporated.

  6. Mix the icing sugar, cornflour and hazelnuts in a small bowl. Fold a large spoonful of the nut mixture into the egg white mixture until just combined, then gently fold in the remaining nut mixture until just combined.

  7. Divide the meringue mixture between the prepared baking trays and smooth out each dollop to make two circles of meringue each 25cm/10in in diameter.

  8. Bake the meringues in the oven for about 1 hour, or until dry on top but chewy in the middle. Set aside to cool. Once cooled, carefully peel off the parchment paper.

  9. To assemble the torte, place one meringue on a serving plate or cake stand. Carefully spread over the mousse mixture, then top with the second meringue.

  10. For the topping, mix together the icing sugar, cocoa powder and cinnamon and sift over the top of the meringue. Serve immediately.

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