Preheat your oven to 300F degrees and line a baking sheet with a sheet of waxed paper.
Put your egg whites into a squeaky clean bowl, making sure there are absolutely no little pieces of egg shell or egg yolk in them.
Whisk on medium until the whites form firm peaks. With your mixer still running, gradually add the sugar and the pinch of salt.
Turn the mixer up to the highest setting and whisk for about 7 or 8 minutes, until the meringue mixture is white and glossy. To test whether it’s done you can pinch some between your fingers – if it feels completely smooth it’s ready; if it’s slightly granular it needs a little more whisking.
Dot each corner of the waxed paper with a blob of meringue, then turn it over and stick it to the baking sheet. Spoon the meringue out onto the paper. Using the back of a spoon, shape and swirl it into a rectangle or individual disks.
Place in the preheated oven and bake for 1 hour or until crisp on the outside and a little soft and sticky inside.
At the same time, bake the hazelnuts on a separate sheet in the oven for 1 hour or until golden brown.
Using a double boiler melt the chocolate and set aside.
Take the meringue and hazelnuts out of the oven and leave to cool. Place the meringue on a nice rustic board or platter. Whip the cream with the sifted icing sugar and the vanilla seeds until it forms smooth, soft peaks.
Smash the toasted hazelnuts (in a kitchen towel) and sprinkle half of them over the top of the meringue and half of the candied ginger.
Spoon half the whipped cream over the top and drizzle with some of the chocolate sauce if the sauce has firmed up, melt it slightly.
Divide most of the pear pieces evenly over the top. Pile over the rest of the whipped cream and pears. Drizzle with some more chocolate sauce, then sprinkle over the remaining toasted hazelnuts and ginger pieces with some grated orange zest.
Serve immediately. If you’re making this in advance, get everything ready and assemble at the last minute.