Perhaps we will never know, who Laurence and Veronique were who inspired this recipe, which was created by the Belgian chef, Pierre Wynants.

Le gateau aux chocolats ‘Laurence et Veronique’
(for 8 – make at least 24 hours before eating)

White chocolate cream:

  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 vanilla pod cut lengthways, seeds scraped out (or you could just use vanilla paste)
  • 3 oz white chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 oz castor sugar
  • ½ sachet powdered gelatine dissolved in 6 tbsp water – you will need some of this for the chocolate sauce
  • 10 fl oz crème fraiche (or 5 fl oz each of double cream and soured cream)

Almond and hazelnut meringue

  • 2½ oz blanched almonds/1½ oz blanched hazelnuts ground together and mixed with 2 oz castor sugart and 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 2 large egg whites

Dark chocolate cream

  • 6 oz dark chocolate broken into pieces
  • 1 fl oz strong coffee
  • 1 oz
  • 3 oz butter

Decoration

  • 2 oz  dark chocolate grated into large curls
  1. begin with the white chocolate cream – put milk, white chocolate, vanilla  in pan and heat gently, stirring from time to time
  2. meanwhile mix yolk and 1 oz sugar thoroughly until very smooth
  3. add milk/chocolate mixture to yolk/sugar mixture, mix very well and cook very slowly over low heat, until very thick DO NOT BOIL!!!
  4. take from the heat and add 2 tbsp gelatine, stirring very well so it is completely mixed in, leave to cool but stir from time to time
  5. beat the crème fraiche (cream/sour cream) until it is firm and add half to the cooled white chocolate mixture, mix well and pop in the fridge
  6. now the meringue – beat the egg whites until stiff and fold in nuts/sugar/flour
  7. spread over a 6½ inch x 3½ inch baking tray lined with baking parchment
  8. cook in preheated oven 400°C/200°F/gas mark 6 for 12 mins, then leave to cool
  9. and now the dark chocolate cream – add the coffee, sugar and chocolate very carefully until the chocolate has completely melted and mixed in with the other ingredients DO NOT BOIL!!!
  10. stir in the butter very well, then add the rest of the gelatine, stirring really well so it is completely mixed in, leave to cool
  11. when the dark chocolate is cool, add in the rest of the crème fraiche(cream/sour cream)
  12. line a 10x3x2½ inch baking tray with parchment (you might want to run strips of parchment underneath, for and aft to act as handle to lift)
  13. pour in half of the dark chocolate cream and spread it evenly  across the tray, cut the meringue in half and place one half on top of the chocolate in the tray
  14. spread all of the white chocolate cream onto the meringue and spread it evenly and lightly, then put the other half meringue on top
  15. cover the top with the remaining dark chocolate cream then refrigerate for 24-48 hours
  16. to serve, cut into slices and decorate with the chocolate curls

It sounds complicated but actually it isn’t – each of the processes are quite simple, and as long as you take care structuring the gateau it should be fine – and even if it doesn’t quite look as you might hope, I’m sure it will taste delicious!

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