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Le Succes

Grind the hazelnuts for this recipe yourself, as the flavour is far better and they should be a little coarse.

ingredients

260 g (9 1/2 oz) ground toasted hazelnuts
275 g (10 oz) caster sugar
30 g (2 tbsp) plain flour
6 egg whites
30 g (2 tbsp) Vanilla Sugar (see note)
1 portion Cooked Egg Yolk and Bultercream Filling flavoured with chocolate
1 whole toasted hazelnut for decoration

method

1. Cover three baking sheets with greaseproof paper. Draw the chosen shape on each.

2. Mix together 165 g (5 1/2 oz) hazelnuts, 140 g (5 oz) sugar and the flour; set aside.

3. Whisk the egg whites in a large, spotlessly clean bowl until they hold firm, snowy peaks.

4. Beat in the rest of the sugar and vanilla sugar until the mixture is firm and glossy.

5. Using a large metal spoon, lightly fold in the nut, sugar and flour mixture. Divide the mixture evenly between the three baking sheets and level out, taking care not to break down the delicate aerated structure. Because of the nut content the succes bases rise little.

6. Bake them in the preheated oven at 150°C (300°F) Gas 2 for about 1 hour until lightly coloured; they will feel slightly soft to the touch while warm but become crisp and brittle as they cool.

7. Leave on the papers to cool on wire racks.

8. Prepare the chocolate buttercream filling. (If it has been previously chilled, bring to room temperature for an hour before it is needed.)

9. To assemble the cake trim the meringue bases to the same size. Place one on a wire rack. Spread one-third of the buttercream over it and cover with the second layer.

10. Smooth over half the remaining cream and place the last meringue on top.

11. Cover the top and sides of the cake with the remaining cream. Press the last of the hazelnuts all round the side of the cake. Place one whole hazelnut in the centre.

12. Transfer to a serving dish and chill for at least 3 - 4 hours or, if possible, overnight. The top may be piped with a chocolate buttercream decoration if wished.

Note To make vanilla sugar, put a whole vanilla pod cut into pieces into a close-stoppered jar filled with caster sugar. Top up the jar with more sugar as it is used. The pod will keep fresh for up to a year.

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