The dacquoise is a delicate cake layer that is sadly under used by home bakers. It is a cousin to a pavlova, but has the richness of nuts. It is made of French meringue that has nuts (almond meal and coarsely crushed roasted almonds) folded into it and baked in a thin layer. The dacquoise is crisp and used to add a sweet, nuttiness to your cake layers or can be used all on its own. I’ve piled the layers high with whipped cream, lemon curd, mixed berries and topped the whole thing with shards of white chocolate painted with edible luster dust. Without the chocolate it is really a very simple dessert, but if you are going to a party its nice to fancy it up a bit.
1/2 cup almond meal
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup crushed whole roasted and salted almonds. (I like the bit of saltiness to balance all the sweet of the meringue)
1 cup egg whites
1 cup sugar
Prepare parchment paper by drawing circles that match the size of the cake you are going to make. I’ve done four 8-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.
Sift the almond meal and 1/3 cup sugar together in a small bowl and set aside. Crush the whole almonds in a Mortar and Pestle, you want the pieces to be big enough to add texture.
Whip the egg whites on low speed in a mixer until they start to foam, about 45 seconds. Slowly sprinkle the 1 cup sugar over the egg white on medium low speed, once they are all added, turn up the speed and continue whipping until stiff peaks are formed.
Fold in the almond meal and then the crush whole almonds.
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 1/4-1/2″ thick. You can also spread the batter with an Offset Cake Spatula. Just make sure they are all even do they bake at the same rate.
Bake the dacquoise at 225° until dry, about 65-85 minutes. If your house is humid, store the dacquoise in the cool oven until ready to use.
For the fillings:
1 recipe Lemon Curd
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
whip to stiff peaks
I used about 6 cups of berries. I mixed 3/4 of them in a bowl with sugar and a squeeze of lemon and left the rest untouched for the top layer.
White Chocolate Decorations
1 cup white chocolate chips, melted
spread the chocolate in a very thin layer on a piece of parchment paper. Freeze the chocolate. Paint it with edible Luster Dust and then break into shards. If your house is warm, you may need to freeze again after painting, but just for a few minutes.
To assemble the cake:
Glue the first layer of dacquoise on the plate with a bit of lemon curd. Place the dacquoise on the plate and cover it with 1/4 of the lemon curd. Add 1/4 of the cream and 1/3 of the sugared berries. Repeat this 2 more times. The final time, use the remaining curd, cream and fresh berries. Decorate with the shards of chocolate. This cake will start to get soft if you assemble it more than an hour or two before eating. It is meant to get soft, so don’t worry, but it is nice to have some crispness of the dacquoise as well.