This rich and decadent dessert has all the best flavors of the holiday season. Make the components ahead of time and assemble just before serving to really wow your guests.Sam Henderson, Today's Nest
For the Meringue Disks:
3/4 cup almonds
1/2 cup superfine sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
4 egg whites
1/3 cup superfine sugar
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
1/4 cup of sliced almonds
For the Mousse:
2 1/4 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
1/3 cup of water
3 3/4 cups heavy cream
18 ounces white chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.
2. Draw 2 7-inch circles on 2 separate sheets of parchment paper with at least 1 inch of space all the way around. Turn over onto a baking sheet so circles show through the back side. Set aside.
3. Grind almonds, 1/2 cup sugar and cornstarch together until you get the consistency of cornmeal. Set aside. Tip: Be careful not to grind the almonds too fine or they will become oily and clump.
4. Whip eggs and cream of tartar on medium speed until you reach the soft-peak stage.
5. Turn mixer to high speed and very gradually sprinkle in the 1/3 cup superfine sugar. Whip on high speed until very stiff peaks form.
6. Gently fold in ground almonds (Images 1 and 2).
7. Transfer the batter to a piping bag or large freezer bag with tip cut off at about 1/2 inch.
8. Starting in the center of a circle, pipe an outward spiral of batter all the way to the edge of the circle outline. Repeat for the other 3 circles.
9. Bake for 1-1/2 to 2 hours or until completely dry.
10. Turn the oven off and allow the meringues to cool in the oven.
1. Sprinkle gelatin over 1/3 cup of water. Let soften for 5 minutes.
2. Bring 1 1/4 cups of cream to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat.
3. Add gelatin to the heated cream and stir until dissolved.
4. Put chocolate into the bowl of a food processor.
5. With the processor running, add hot cream mixture in a slow, steady stream. Process until smooth.
6. Transfer to a medium bowl, cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
7. Stir until smooth.
8. Whisk remaining 2 1/2 cups of cream to nearly stiff-peak stage.
9. Gently fold into chocolate mixture.
10. Refrigerate mousse, covered, until ready to assemble.
11. Stir until smooth before using.
1. Place a small dab of mousse on the serving dish to hold disk in place.
2. Add first meringue disk and top with 1/4 of the mousse (Image 1). Top with sprinkling of dried cranberries (Image 2).
3. Repeat layers of disk, mousse and cranberries until you reach the top. Add a sprinkling of sliced almonds.
Note: If there will be a delay between cooled meringues and assembly, be sure to store the meringues in an airtight container. This dessert is best served right away, but could be kept in the refrigerator briefly; however, the meringues will soften.