Tarte à la neige

Very recently an avid blog reader of mine set me a tough challenge: to create a pie or cake after the theme of “tarte à la neige”. This certainly made allusion to my infantile love for snow and my growing fondness for the Alps. I was free to create anything I wanted but it should not follow any existing recipe and should be presented as a pie. 

Well here’s what I came up with. It was really delicious and I will certainly make it again without any hesitations.

The base of the mountain:

Melt 100g of medium-dark chocolate with 100g of unsalted butter in a bain-marie.
Mix 100g of caster sugar with 3 egg yolks until the mixture turns foamy and pale yellow.
Add the sugar-egg mixture to the chocolate mixture (which should have cooled down a bit to avoid any egg curdlings) and stir well.
Incorporate 100g of sifted flour and 1/3 of a pack of baking powder.
Mix 3 egg whites until you get stiff peaks and gently fold under the batter.
Lastly, add 50g of chopped hazelnuts to give your mountain a bit of a rocky texture.

Pour the batter into a round cake pan (lined with greaseproof paper) and bake for about 1 hour at 180 degrees Celcius.

Remove the mountain base from the pan and let it cool down.

The middle part of the mountain:

Once cooled down, place the mountain base onto a cake dish to assemble the rest of the mountain.
Gently place one layer of very good raspberries onto the base. As we are not in season I used defrosted raspberries (e.g. Frosta ones are really delicious). To make them stick I used “Tortenguss” which is a mixture of gelatine and starch that you cook with water following the instructions on the package.

The snow layer:

Mix 350ml of whipping cream with a little bit of sugar and vanilla sugar (with real vanilla of course, please no extract) until quite stiff.
Shape the whipped cream into a mountain peak.

Voilà, now enjoy!

Oh, and the next challenge by my gourmand reader has already been set:
A regressive dessert using Carambar (these very French caramel sweets). So, stay tuned!

photo credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Matterhorn_from_Domhütte_-_2.jpg

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