In 2017, when we were visiting our daughter-in-law Liv's family in Copenhagen, Eva, her mother, made a delicious meringue torte for us, similar to the schaumtorte of my childhood, a dessert the German part of my family served at Passover, but one that I always thought was too sweet. I loved that the hazelnuts and the dark bitter chocolate of Eva's recipe cut the sweetness of the meringue. Now it is part of our Passover Seder menu, though it also works beautifully throughout the year, espe­cially for gluten-free friends. During the pandemic, when I was in New Orleans, I substituted local pecans for hazelnuts.

Serves 8 to 10

  • 4 large egg whites

    TST-My Life in Recipes book cover My Life in Recipes: Food, Family, and Memories Joan Nathan
  • ½ cup (100 grams) granulated sugar

  • 1 cup   (about 135 grams) hazelnuts, toasted and roughly chopped

  • 6 ounces (170 grams) dark (70%) chocolate, cut with a serrated knife into bite-sized pieces (1 cup)

  • 1 to 2 cups (about 180 to 360 grams) strawberries, hulled and sliced, for garnish

  • 1 cup (236 ml) heavy cream, or one 15-ounce (443-ml) can full-fat coconut milk, chilled (do not shake)

  • Cocoa powder, for dusting (optional) 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and cut a parchment circle for a 10-inch springform pan, or line a sheet pan with parchment.

  2. Whip the egg whites in a stand mixer at medium speed; after peaks begin to form, then slowly add the sugar. Beat until the mixture is shiny, with stiff peaks. (It is ready when you can turn the bowl upside down without having the egg whites fall.) Carefully stir the nuts and chocolate into the meringue, then spoon it into the prepared springform pan or in a rustic large circle (or six smaller circles) on the sheet pan.

  3. Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees; lower to 300 degrees and bake 20 more minutes. Turn off the oven, and let the meringue cool in the oven.

  4. Carefully move the meringue to a serving plate. Just before serving, cover it with sliced strawberries. Then whip the cream and spoon it on top. (!fusing coconut milk, scrape the layer of chilled cream from the top of the can, and whip it until fluffy; save the liquid remaining in the can for smoothies or soups.) You can also just dust the strawberries with cocoa, or serve as 1s.

Note If you live in a humid environment, your meringue is more likely to weep. To avoid this, stir I teaspoon potato starch or cornstarch into the sugar before slowly adding it to the egg whites.

From MY LIFE IN RECIPES: Food, Family, and Memories by Joan Nathan. Reprinted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © 2024 by Joan Nathan. Recipe photograph copyright © 2024 by Gabriela Herman.

When you shop using our links, we earn a small commission. It’s a great way to support public media at no extra cost to you.