For most French pastry chefs, a good génoise (sponge cake) is the foundation for dozens of different desserts. This recipe marries the tender cake with a layer of rich hazelnut mousse.
- For Genoise:
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 4 eggs
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- For Meringue:
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup water
- 4 egg whites
- For Hazelnut Mousse:
- 1/2 pound unsalted butter
- 1/4 pound hazelnut paste
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 cups sugar-roasted almonds (double recipe)
Companion recipe: Sauteed Figs with Roasted Almonds and Cream Mousseline
Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F. Butter and flour a 10-inch cake pan; set aside.
FOR GENOISE: In a large heatproof bowl, combine the sugar and eggs. Place over (not touching) gently simmering water in a pan. Whisk until it feels lukewarm. Remove from the pan and, using an electric mixer set on high speed or a wire whisk, beat until cool and the batter falls in a thick ribbon that holds its shape for 3 or 4 seconds, about 15 minutes. Sift the flour over the batter and, using a rubber spatula, fold it in. Pour into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
Bake just until the cake springs back to the touch, about 20 minutes. Invert onto a rack, carefully lift off the pan and let cool completely.
FOR MERINGUE: In a small saucepan, bring the sugar and water to a boil. Meanwhile, in a bowl, using an electric mixer set on high speed, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Continue to boil the sugar-water mixture until it reaches the soft-ball stage, 240 degrees F. on a candy thermometer.
With the mixer set on medium speed, beat the sugar mixture into the egg whites. Reduce the speed to low, and continue beating until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 5 minutes. Scoop the meringue onto a baking sheet, spread it out in an even layer and refrigerate until cool.
FOR MOUSSE: Place the butter in a large heatproof bowl. Place over (not touching) gently simmering water in a pan. Let stand until very soft. Add the hazelnut paste and, using a wire whisk, beat until no lumps remain. Remove from the pan and beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, until creamy. Then gently fold in the meringue.
TO ASSEMBLE: Set aside a springform cake pan 10 inches in diameter and 4 inches deep. Using a long, serrated knife, cut the génoise to form 3 layers.
Spoon one-third of the mousse over the bottom of the pan. Top with a génoise layer. Repeat the mousse and génoise layers, ending with a génoise layer. Cover and refrigerate until set, about 2 hours.
To unmold, run hot water over a knife blade, wipe dry and slide the blade between the mousse and pan sides. Invert a plate over the pan. Holding the pan and plate together, flip them and lift off the pan. Sprinkle the almonds on the top and sides and serve immediately.
Recipe reprinted by permission of Weldon Owen. All rights reserved.
nutrition information per serving
651 calories; 34g total fat; 220mg cholesterol; 59mg sodium; 80g carbohydrates; 2g fiber; 10g protein
These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.
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