Sunday, May 27, 2012

Hazelnut-Almond Dacquiose

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So it's been a while since I've put up a post... To my defense, AP testing and finals had me pretty busy for the past couple of weeks. Study, eat, study, sleep, study. That was my routine as the year came to its end. Worst, most stressful year of high school is over with though! Time to enjoy summer vacation! 
Piped meringue on my fantastic silpat mat!
I went fancy on this baking project this time. Dacquoise? I can attempt to pronounce that in a French accent and completely butcher it. I can also pronounce it with a mixture of my parents' accent and my regional accent to get a laugh out of my sisters. Either way, it's a delicious meringue dotted with nuts (almonds and hazelnuts in this case). 
Referring to the picture right above, this dessert is make of three layers of crispy dacquoise, one layer of creamy bittersweet ganache, one layer of espresso buttercream, and then drenched in even more ganache to finish it off. The epitome of decadence. 

On a side note, I'm tempted to make my own vanilla extract. The only problem is getting a hold of some vodka... Buying pure, quality vanilla extract is very expensive. A minimum of $7.00 a bottle is too much to handle. 
Good chocolate is key to luscious ganache! DO NOT use chocolate chips!
This cake had me tied up in the kitchen for a while. This is not necessarily because the technique utilized is inherently difficult, but because I'm a perfectionist. I did the meringue threes times. The first time I greased the silpat mat as directed in the directions, and the dacquoise just spread out too much. The second time the meringue got just a little too toasty, borderline burnt. Third time is definitely the charm. 
Because I'm quite certain it's illegal to redistribute the recipe I used, please check out the Flour Bakery cookbook by Joanne Chang. You can find it on amazon and probably your bookstore. It has a multitude of recipes with thorough instructions. My only complaint would be... not enough pictures! I am always on the hunt for good cookbooks that have pictures for every recipe. 

My few tips for this recipe:
  1. Try to use a silpat mat for the meringue and do not grease it. They layers peel off easier.
  2. The buttercream requires you to pour hot sugar into whipped eggs. I set my eggs over a pot of simmering water to bring them up to a lukewarm temperature. It your eggs are cold, the sugar will harden immediately and you'll be stuck with candied whisks and soupy eggs:( No good.

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