This beautiful, fanciful dessert should be finished the day before your Easter supper so the textures can settle. The meringue can be made into either round or square discs.

Note: If the weather is humid, meringues are not a good idea since they become sticky.

Makes 8 to 10 servings

Preparation Time: 1 hour

Cooking Time: 3 to 4 hours

Meringue

8 egg whites

1 1/2 cups superfine sugar

Pinch of salt

2 cups heavy whipping cream

2 cups coarsely chopped best quality bittersweet chocolate,

1 1/2 cups roughly chopped hazelnuts or almonds

4 cups halved strawberries

Pre heat oven to 250°

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and trace around a form, like a bowl or a box, to create the shape of your 3 meringues.  Each should be at least 12 inches across.
Egg whites will whip more easily if they are room temperature before you begin.   In your electric mixer, whip egg whites and pinch of salt until they begin to foam.  Slowly add in the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time until it’s all incorporated.  Continue to beat meringue until stiff and glossy, about 6 minutes total.
Transfer meringue to a pastry bag with a large tip.  Following your outline, fill in the 3 forms you outlined by starting in the center and piping around in a tight spiral
Place the sheet pans in pre-heated oven for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  Turn off the oven and leave them in the warm oven to continue drying, up to over night.
To assemble

Whip the cream (DIRECTIONS TO FOLLOW)
Select your serving dish (you will not be moving this dessert later). Put down the first meringue disc; spread on 1/2 of the whipped cream, cover this with a layer of 1/2 of the chopped chocolate, 1/2 of the strawberries and 1/2 of the almonds. Add the next meringue disc on top; settle it gently into place with your fingertips. Repeat the layering and complete with the final meringue disc.  Again, exert gentle even pressure to settle the dessert.
Wrap the Torte completely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 8, up to 24 hours. Slice with a serrated knife as you would a tall layer cake.

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