• 3/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted
  • 3/4 cup whole almonds, toasted
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 8 egg whites, at room temperature
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup whole almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 3/4 cup creme fraiche
  • 3/4 cup creme fraiche
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350. Butter bottom and sides of a 12-by-18-inch baking pan. Fit a sheet of parchment paper into the bottom of the pan. Butter parchment and dust with flour. Rub hazelnuts between hands to loosen and remove skins. Pulverize almonds and hazelnuts with sugar and cornstarch in a food processor. Whisk egg whites until frothy. Add pinch of salt and increase whisking speed, beating until egg whites form soft, glossy peaks. Sprinkle ground nut mixture over egg whites and fold nuts into egg whites. Smooth nut meringue onto baking sheet with spatula. Bake for 20-25 minutes until pale golden brown. Cool.

Lightly oil a baking sheet. Sprinkle sugar into a heavy saucepan in an even layer. Melt sugar over low heat, tilting pan to ensure it melts evenly. Continue cooking until sugar turns a light amber color and caramelizes. Remove from heat and immediately stir in nuts with a wooden spoon. Pour mixture onto oiled baking sheet in an even layer and allow to cool completely. Break up praline with your hands and finely chop with a large knife (or crush with a mallet).

Heat creme fraiche in a saucepan until it just begins to boil. Remove from heat and add chocolate, stirring until it’s completely melted. Set aside to cool.

Whip together creme fraiche, cream, sugar, and vanilla until mixture becomes glossy and begins to hold shape. Continue beating until stiff. Add 2/3 cup whipped creme fraiche mixture to chopped praline and stir together.

Cut meringue into four rectangles, each about 4-by-12-inches. Lay down one rectangle on serving dish. With an offset spatula, evenly spread 3/4 cup cooled chocolate ganache over it. Cover and refrigerate the remaining ganache. Add second piece of meringue and evenly spread all the plain cream over it. Top with another rectangle of meringue.  Spread with prailine cream.  Top with final piece of meringue.  Wrap marjolaine in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Before serving, remove marjolaine and ganache from refrigerator. Trim rough edges with a long serrated knife. Gently rewarm ganache to a spreadable consistency, over warm water, and spread smoothly over top and side of cake.

Adapted from David Lebovitz: Ready for Dessert


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