Moroccan Cake (Le Russe)

READY IN: 1hr 35mins


  • Meringue
  • 6
    egg whites, at room temperature
  • 14
    teaspoon salt
  • 14
    teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 14
    cups superfine sugar
  • Ganache
  • 1 13
    cups hazelnuts, toasted and peeled
  • 3
    tablespoons superfine sugar
  • 7
    ounces good-quality semisweet chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 14
    cup brewed coffee (optional)
  • 1
    tablespoon brandy or 1 tablespoon rum


  • Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C). Generously grease 3 (8-1/4-inch) pie pans or molds; Cut 3 rounds of waxed paper to line the bottom of each mold and generously grease the waxed paper.
  • To prepare the meringue, in a large bowl, using an electric mixer on high speed, beat the egg whites with the salt and cream of tartar; Slowly add the sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form; Divide the egg whites among the three molds and smooth the tops with a spatula; Place in the oven and immediately decrease the heat to 275°F (135°C); Bake until the meringue is hard but not brown, about 1 hour; (At this point, you can turn off the oven and let the meringues stand for a few hours or overnight).
  • To prepare the ganache, reserve 12 hazelnuts for garnish; In a food processor, grind the remaining nuts with 1 tablespoon of the sugar until you have a fine meal.
  • Combine the chocolate, coffee, brandy, and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in a heatproof bowl; In a large, heavy skillet, bring water to a simmer over medium-high heat; Remove the skillet from the heat; Place the bowl filled with the chocolate mixture in the skillet and stir gently until the chocolate melts; Set aside and allow to cool slightly.
  • Pour the cream into a large chilled bowl and whip with an electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form; Gently fold the melted chocolate into the whipped cream, and then fold in half of the ground nuts.
  • To assemble the cake, carefully peel the paper from the bottom of each meringue; Set one round on a serving platter; With a spatula, spread one third of the ganache over the top; Cover with a second round, and repeat the procedure; Top with the third round, and spread with the remaining ganache, spreading it over and around the sides of the cake; Sprinkle with the remaining ground hazelnuts and garnish with the whole nuts; Refrigerate for 2 to 6 hours before serving.