While looking for ways to use lots of egg whites left after baking panettone for Easter, I stumbled upon a popular soviet cake called “Count ruins” or “Earl’ count ruins cake”.
Today we’ll try one of the most popular versions of the “Count ruins” – meringues with butter and condensed milk cream, nuts and chocolate glaze. I must say right away, this cake is for those who love sweets with sweets. But the game of textures is OMG! This is what I would cook it many more times for. Meringue crunches on the outside, and inside it is viscous, like nougat, a cream with a taste from childhood tightly holds baked meringues together and prevents them from getting wet. And glaze, glaze … The subtle bitterness of cocoa sets off sweetness, and the dense texture instantly melts in your mouth.
If you want to reduce the sweetness and refresh the cake, add prunes or fresh fruits between layers. You can use any kind of nuts, but walnuts taste best.
You’ll get not a big cake from this quantity of products, about 10 cm high, the diameter of the bottom layer would be about 20 cm. Baked meringues are very light, so the cake weighs little.
100 g egg whites (from about 3 large eggs)
a pinch of salt
200 g white sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
70 g unsalted butter
140 g condensed milk
15 g sugar
15 g cocoa
15 g milk
15 g butter
1. Meringue. Combine whites, salt and sugar in a bowl. (The bowl should be metal or glass, NOT plastic.)
2. Make a water bath: pour a little water in a small pan, literally 2 cm from the bottom, bring to a boil, reduce heat (the water should boil slightly), put a container with whites and sugar on top so that it does not touch boiling water (this is important!). Constantly stirring with a whisk, warm until sugar is completely dissolved. Ideally, the temperature of whites for swiss meringue should be 130-140 degrees F, but it’s enough when you try with your finger to feel that there are no sugar grains in whites.
3. Remove the bowl from the water bath and whip the mixture with a mixer, gradually increasing the speed to maximum. Whip until getting firm dense peaks. Add lemon juice and whip at low speed for a few seconds until the juice mixes with the meringue.
4. Put the meringues on the parchment using two spoons or a pastry bag. Bake meringues at 175-200 degrees F for 1-1.5 hours (depending on the size of the meringues).
5. Frosting. Butter and condensed milk should be at room temperature, this is important. Whip butter until fluffy, add condensed milk and whip together until smooth.
6. Glaze. Combine all the ingredients for the glaze in a saucepan and, constantly stirring, warm over low heat until sugar and butter dissolve.
7. Cake assembling. Dip the cooled meringues into a frosting and stack them on top of each other to form a mountain. Top with warm glaze and sprinkle with chopped nuts. Chill for 1 hour.