Milk chocolate and thyme gateau

Serves 12 people
Prep 4 hours
Cook 1 hour

Ingredients
  • 200g hazelnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
  • 175g pure icing sugar
  • 6 egg whites
  • ½ tsp cream of tartar
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 1½ tsp vanilla paste
  • 650ml thickened cream
  • 2 bunches thyme
  • 2 gold strength gelatine leaves, softened in water
  • 200g milk chocolate, chopped
  • 80g dark chocolate, chopped
  • dark chocolate glaze, whipped cream and candied thyme sprigs, to garnish
Instructions

1 Preheat oven to 180°C. Place 150g hazelnut with 150g icing sugar in a food processor and grind until fine, then set aside.

2 Combine the egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beta with the whisk attachment on medium speed until foamy. Increase speed to high, then begin adding the caster sugar 2 tsp at a time, until thick and glossy meringue forms.

3 Fold in the vanilla and hazelnut mixture, then load into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm nozzle. Draw three 18cm circles on the reverse side of non-stick baking paper, then pipe on the mixture in a spiral. Dust with the remaining icing sugar, then bake for 20 minutes, until golden and crisp. Cool on the tray.

4 Put 300ml cream and the thyme in a small saucepan and set over a moderate heat. Simmer gently for 5 minutes. Combine the chocolates in a bowl, then strain over the cream and whisk until smooth. Heat 50ml cream, then dissolve the softened gelatine in this. Whisk into the chocolate mixture. Allow to cool to room temperature. Whip the remaining cream to soft peaks and fold in gently.

5 Trim the dacquoise discs to size with a very sharp knife, then place one in the bottom of an 18cm ring mould and spoon half the mousse over. Repeat, then finish with the final dacqouise disc. Refrigerate for 2 hours, until firm.

6 Unmould the cake and cover with dark chocolate glaze. Once firm, decorate with whipped cream and candied thyme sprigs.