Toasted Almond Dacquoise
The dacquoise is a dainty little cake layer that is sadly under used by home bakers. It is a light meringue that has nuts folded into it and baked in a thin layer. The dacquoise is crisp and used to add a sweet, nuttiness to your cakes. I love the contrast of a dacquoise with a soft sponge cake and a fruit mousse in the summer or with layers of rich chocolate in cooler weather. This recipe comes from my 1992 edition of The Simple Art of Perfect Baking. The pages are falling out and covered in butter and chocolate stains. It is a must have for anyone who loves baking. Flo Braker writes as though she is teaching a class, everything is well thought out and explained so that the recipes are nearly fool proof. Classic Dacquoise: 2/3 cups almond meal (1/3 cup whole almonds, finely ground) Skin on or off, you decide. I used almond meal that I found at Trader Joe's with the skins on. 1/4 cup sugar 2/3 egg whites (about 5 large) 2/3 cups + 2 tablespoons sugar Prepare parchment paper by drawing circles that match the size of the cake you are going to bake. I've done 3 9-inch circles. Preheat the oven to 225°. I used the cardboard round that would eventually be used under the cake as my template. You can also use the bottom of your cake pan. Mix the almond meal and 1/4 cup sugar together in a small bowl and set aside. Whip the egg whites on low speed in a mixer until they start to foam, about 45 seconds. Add the 2 tablespoons sugar to the whites and continue to whip on medium speed until soft peaks form. Once the whites form soft peaks slowly add the 2/3 cup sugar and continue whipping until stiff peaks are formed and the sugar, about 2 minutes. Add the almond meal in two batches, folding them in gently after each addition. Fold in only until almond meal is well distributed. Place the dacquoise in to a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip. Pipe in a large spiral until you have filled in the circles drawn on the parchment. it should be about an 1/8" thick. Bake the dacquoise at 225° until dry, about 65-85 minutes. Unlike Flo I like my dacquoise to have a bit of color, so I turned up the oven to 350 for the last 10 minutes and toasted the dacquoise. It gives it a slightly richer flavor. Be careful not to go to far or it will burn.