Created the same year the Concorde took flight, this torte is a combination of crisp, chewy, chocolate meringue layers sandwiched with chocolate mousse. An ultimate showstopper and a feast for your taste buds!
1 cup egg whites (about 7-8 large whites, no yolk traces!)
Set aside 2 9-inch cake pans. Line 3 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Draw 3 circles the same size as interior perimeter of your cake pans on 2 of parchment paper sheets. Flip parchment paper upside down so there will be no contact of food with ink. Set aside.
Set aside a pastry bag or plastic food storage bag fitted with a plain pastry tip approximately 1/4-inch in diameter.
In a mixing bowl, whip egg whites and sugar until very stiff. Depending on mixer used, this may take 10 or more minutes.
Meanwhile, sift together powdered sugar and cocoa powder.
Delicately fold whipped egg whites in with sifted ingredients. Do not overmix as it will make meringue runny.
Use 1/4 of meringue for decorative meringue sticks. Fill pastry bag and pipe long tubes over entire length of cookie sheet. Leave about 1/4-inch between each row, piping about 15-18 rows.
Drop remaining amount of meringue evenly into 3 parchment paper circles. Spread evenly flat and round with an offset spatula or a spoon, make sure to keep meringue about a 1/2-inch away from drawn circle mark. This is very important as meringue will expand a little and it needs to match up later with mousse.
Place meringue in oven. Bake for 90 - 120 minutes depending on the thickness of the meringue. (Don't worry about over baking. It can't burn.) During baking, open oven at least 8 times for about 5 seconds at a time. This will ensure that trapped steam can escape and meringue is crisp and dry when finished baking. Meringue is ready when it is crisp and sounds hollow when tapped on bottom. Remove from the oven and let cool. Use a pizza wheel or knife to cut the meringue tubes into 2-inch sticks. Once cooled, place both disks and sticks in a tight food storage bag.
Meanwhile, prepare chocolate mousse. Lightly oil two 9-inch cake pans and then line with plastic food wrap in a crisscross pattern. Set aside.
Chop chocolate in small pieces and set aside.
In a cold bowl, whip heavy cream to a thickened consistency (once whip leaves thick marks into cream it has been whipped enough). Do not whip cream as thick as you would to serve with pies or other desserts. (Whipping cream too stiff will result in lesser final volume and a heavy textured chocolate mousse.)
In a small cup, combine gelatin and water and set aside for 5 minutes.
Bring milk to a boil and remove from heat. Whisk in gelatin followed by chocolate. Whisk until mixture is very smooth. Pour mixture into a bowl large enough to hold chocolate mixture and whipped cream.
Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in cream. Do not over fold as this will cause mousse to become heavy.
Pour mousse into plastic lined cake pans. Place in a refrigerator for at least 3 hours or a freezer for about 2 or refrigerate overnight.
To assemble; place a chocolate meringue disc onto a serving tray. Remove a chocolate mousse from mold by pulling on edges of plastic. Flip upside down onto meringue. Remove plastic.
Place another meringue layer on top and repeat with chocolate mousse. Finish with remaining meringue layer.
Some of mousse will slightly hang over meringue sides. Spread this all over sides.
Stick meringue sticks all over sides and top of cake. Serve same day it is made or following day.