Recently I made strawberry icecream; it left me with three egg whites. Though Duncan may goad me, I'm too lily-livered to attempt macarons. I have a few white-only recipes tucked away and tagged (David Lebovitz has more still!). The one that appealed most to me was Hannah's chocolate date meringue torte - first because it requires precisely three egg whites, and second because it reminded me of a Soulmama dessert I loved long ago.
I find meringues a little too sweet and insubstantial but folding in some almond meal takes it to more appealing places. The crust gives way to a more satisfying chew and gentler sweetness. Dates and dark chocolate chips are the perfect accents. I'm always a little intimidated by the prospect of keeping whipped whites airy, but this cake had a lovely lightness in spite of my heavy hand.
The highest compliment I could pay this recipe is that I might find myself having to make yolk-based icecream because of this meringue cake, rather than the other way around.
My kind of meringue
(very slightly adapted from a recipe at Wayfaring Chocolate,
credited there to Good Taste Magazine)
120g dark chocolate, chopped roughly or in chips
3 egg whites
110g castor sugar
120g dried pitted dates, chopped
Preheat an oven to 180°C. Line a cake tin (mine was ~22cm square) with paper and lightly spray it with oil.
In a food processor, grind the almonds to meal. When they've become a coarse powder, add the chocolate and pulse briefly to chop the chocolate a little more finely and mix it through the almond meal.
Place the egg whites in a large bowl. Beat them to soft peaks with an electric mixer. Gradually beat in the sugar until the meringue mixture is thick and glossy. Gently fold in the almond/chocolate mixture, and then the dates, until just combined.
Pour the mixture into the cake tin, smooth over the top a little, and bake for about 30 minutes, until lightly browned. Allow the cake to cool completely before slicing and serving.