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.

6 comments:

  1. Mmmm..I am a chocolate lover and I love this cake!! Your pictures are looking fantastic(why don't you make the pictures a little bigger, it will look better in my opinion) and your new blog look is very pretty, congrats! I also totally understand with the studies and final tests, you haven't been able to bake for a while. I'm going into year 12 next year and I'm afraid that I won't have time to bake since this year is already becoming tough for me(Sorry I write too much) :) Oh, and just out of curiosity, what camera do you use?

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    1. Thanks for the recommendation. I think I like the pictures bigger too. Is year 12 your last year before going off to college? My last year of high school is next year, and I also think I might not be able to bake as much as I do now unfortunately. I use my dad's Nikon D70. I'm not too familiar with camera types/models and what difference they make though.

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    2. Your blog looks even better now with the bigger layout and pictures. Year 12 is my last year in high school where I have final tests (High School Certificate here), before I hopefully get into university in 2014. I actually thought that your last year of school is this year, so were you born in 1996 like me? I really want to buy myself a new camera (canon 600D to be more specific), and your one is a DSLR but the one I'm currently using is compact.

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    3. Nope, I'm a 1995. Next year is your last year too? I don't really know how schooling works in Australia. In the states, we run the school year from late August to late May. So you take standardized tests (ACT/SAT) in grade 11 or 12 and apply for colleges during grade 12. You end up attending college the same year you graduated from high school. Wow, the canon 600D is a really nice camera. Hopefully you save enough to buy it soon.

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  2. When I come home I will bring you my leftover vanilla beans and buy you vodka to help you make your own vanilla extract. It'll take about 3 months to age so you'll have to buy those expensive little bottles to hold you down until then (end of September I presume). My vanilla extract is coming along very nicely. It's still pretty translucent but it's darkening up. :)

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