This luscious dessert -- based on a classic French recipe -- was brought to us by pastry chef Bill Yosses.
FOR THE COCOA MERINGUE
- 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, plus more for dusting
- 1/3 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 6 large egg whites
- 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
FOR THE GANACHE
- 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup heavy cream
FOR THE HALVAH CREAM
- 2 cups milk
- 1/2 cup tahini
- 7 tablespoons honey
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 1/2 cups crumbled plain halvah
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
Prepare the cocoa meringue: Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a marker, trace three 8-inch circles total on parchment (2 on one sheet, 1 on another); turn paper marked side down on baking sheets; set aside. In a large bowl, sift together confectioners' sugar and cocoa powder; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar and a tablespoon of the granulated sugar; beat until soft peaks form. With mixer running, gradually add the remaining 11 tablespoons granulated sugar, beating until stiff glossy peaks form. Fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the confectioners' sugar and cocoa mixture, then fold in remaining whites.
Transfer meringue to a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip. Starting just within the marked circles, pipe meringue, working inward in a spiral pattern. Bake for 2 hours. Turn off oven allowing meringues to dry out until oven is completely cool, at least 4 hours and up to overnight.
Prepare ganache: Place chocolate in a medium bowl. In a saucepan, bring cream to a boil. Pour cream over chocolate, and let stand for 3 minutes. Whisk to combine. Refrigerate, covered, until thick enough to spread, 1 to 2 hours.
Prepare halvah cream: Bring milk to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Meanwhile, in a large heatproof bowl, whisk together tahini, honey, cornstarch, and egg yolks. Whisk a little of the hot milk into the tahini mixture. Continue to whisk while adding remaining milk. Return to saucepan, and bring to a boil while whisking. Boil, whisking constantly, until very thick, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, and whisk in half of the crumbled halvah. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.
Whip heavy cream just until soft peaks form. Gently fold whipped cream and the remaining crumbled halvah into the chilled tahini mixture.
To assemble: Set aside nicest meringue disc for top layer. Place one meringue layer on an 8-inch cardboard cake round or a plate. Spread 1/3 of the halvah cream over meringue. Top with second meringue disc. Spread evenly with ganache. Top with another 1/3 of the halvah cream, spreading evenly. Top with last meringue disc. Ice outside of cake with remaining 1/3 halvah cream. Freeze for 1 to 2 hours.
Before serving, dust top with confectioners' sugar. To slice, use a serrated knife dipped in hot water. Wipe dry between slices.