London, 31st May 2012 – What does the Royal Family mean to a foreigner living in the UK like me?
Italians living in Italy are in love with the British Royal Family; there is something magical about The Queen, the palace and the jewels that make Italians dream the fairytale.
When I moved to the UK ten years ago, I realised that the Royal Family is a political institution which represents the UK at home and abroad, and The Queen fulfils this role brilliantly.
The Diamond Jubilee gives the opportunity to celebrate The Queen and recognised her work. I am happy to be here and celebrate together with all the rest of the UK. I will have blue, red and white balloons at my door and my kids will wear homemade paper crowns. I like to suggest baking a special cake for marking the event.
My mother in law, Birgit is a gifted baker. When we were her guests in Denmark she prepared dishes inspired by the New Nordic Kitchen movement along with classic recipes like this scrumptious Hazelnut and Chocolate Dacquoise using the recipe from Rick Stein’s French Odyssey cookbook. A rich and velvety chocolate cream is placed between three light and nutty meringue layers. A perfect Royal treat! Recipe with step by step pictures
HAZELNUT and CHOCOLATE DACQUOISE
SERVES 8-10, PREP & DECOR 30 MINUTES, COOK 2HR
- 50 g hazelnuts
- 4 large egg whites
- 225 g caster sugar
- baking parchment
- 100 g chocolate
- 150 ml crème fraiche
- 150 ml fresh whipped cream
- double cream
Preheat the oven to 200˚C and roast the hazelnuts for 5 -6 minutes or until light golden. Peel and hack them finely.
In a large bowl whisk the egg whites until stiff and start to form peaks; gradually add the sugar while whisking on fast speed. Finally, fold the hazelnuts into the meringue mix (save few for the topping).
Draw three circles with a diameter of 20 cm on the baking parchment (use a cake/tart pan as a template) and then, spread gently the meringue mixture on top of each circle, filling in the circles thinly and evenly. Sprinkle the remaining hazelnut on top of one of the three circles.
Preheat the oven to 110° C (no fan) and bake the meringue layers for 2 hours or until crisp. Once baked turn the oven off and leave the meringue layers inside for another 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water and let it melt. When the chocolate is cool, gradually add the crème fraiche and whipped cream. Whisk until combined.
Assemble the cake two hours before serving it. Spread the chocolate mixture evenly over the first meringue layer, and repeat using remaining layers. Place on the top of the cake the meringue layer sprinkled with hazelnuts.
Decorate with fresh strawberries and refrigerate.
Serve with double cream!