Monday, June 6, 2011

Dacquoise (Nut Cake)

It’s time for sweetness and whisking up a Dacquoise, which sounds all fancy schmancy but not when you spell it like this: DAH-KWAH! And though the ingredient list is simple and short, I know from experience that those recipes are the hardest to pull off. So I did some research and found this video (in French) that shows the technique.

Distracted by the caster sugar in the recipe (also known as superfine sugar), I googled images for caster shakers and found an assortment of antique, modern and art deco containers that are now on my wish list. (One was even selling for $1139 on eBay.) I already own a variety of shakers, but you can never have too many beautiful things to hold something sweet.

“fruiter di una torta di noci”
("fruitier than a nutcake" which is a bad translation of "nuttier than a fruitcake")

Back to the recipe. First step is to make a meringue (egg whites and sugar) and whisk until soft peaks form. Soft, firm, stiff. The difference can only be seen, and Kitchn has a visual guide and descriptions to help in that area.

"Soft Peak - When you turn your whisk upside down, the peaks are just starting to hold. They're soft and melt back into themselves after a second." ~Kitchn

Folding in the ground almonds, icing sugar and flour is more fun with your hands.

Finally, it’s time to dust off the piping bag and with one of the larger tips, pipe it into a fun shape. {I used my round egg shaper!} Bake “until done”, as chef at LCB would say. How long depends on your oven, the temperature you use and how big the shape of your dacquoise is. Sometimes, your dacquoise may turn out cakey and other times more crispy like Pavlova. I’m aiming for cakey.

After that, it’s up to your imagination how you want to dress it up.

"If you use chocolate buttercream and chocolate ganache, it's a marquise. If you use hazelnuts in the meringues and bake them in rectangles, with chocolate buttercream and ganache, it's a marjolaine." ~BondC

You can also use other nut meal for variety. Mmmm hazelnuts, chestnuts, pine nuts...

Recipe for Spiced Pear Dacquoise with Chocolate and Red Wine Sauce

Serves 6

Clockwise from top: Dacquoise, Spiced Pears, Chocolate and Red Wine Sauce, Ganache

4 egg whites
50 g caster sugar
70 g ground almonds, sifted
75 g icing sugar, sifted
30 g flour, sifted

90 g bitter chocolate (55 to 70% cocoa)
100 ml double cream
15 g honey of neutral flavour
35 g unsalted butter, softened

Spiced Pears
6 pears
½ lemon
30 g unsalted butter
40 g honey of neutral flavour
ground cinnamon
ground nutmeg
freshly ground black pepper

Chocolate and Red Wine Sauce
100 g chocolate
½ bottle red wine
3 star anise
20 ml water, only if necessary
30 g caster sugar

You can find the recipe for Spiced Pear Dacquoise with Chocolate and Red Wine Sauce here.

Tasting Notes

Dacquoise has been called one of the best desserts in the world. That might be stretching the truth. But it’s good to know how to make since Dacquoise makes other items on the plate shine. I would love to use the ganache again in another recipe.

Bucket List

Visit Dax, France - Dacquoise takes its name from Dax in the southwestern part of France.

Wish list

Art Deco Sugar Shaker
Tin Can Sugar Shaker

More Dacquoise

My French Yule Log
Ezra Pound Cake: Coconut-Roasted Pineapple Dacquoise from Dorie Greenspan
Zoe Bakes: Toasted Almond Dacquoise
David Lebovitz: Poaching Pears
Sea Salt with Food: Matcha-Green Tea Dacquoise

Next Time

Tarte aux Agrumes (Citrus Tart) in Le Cordon Bleu at Home cookbook (page 102)

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    Moira said...

    This looks soooo Yummy! Thanks for sharing! Great photos!!

    Robert said...

    This looks INCREDIBLE! So glad I came across this. I will be making this with my wife and kids sometime next week. I really appreciate this recipe!


    Recipe Club

    Unknown said...

    Funny, but la dacquoise is the pastry, the cake, and therefore it should be pronounced DAHK-KWAHZ. If you say, le dacquois, it means someone or something from DAX.

    Just thought I'd throw in ma deux centime. (Or franc if you are movie buff.) I make a fun version of this with hazelnut flour Italian meringues which sandwich Italian meringue butter cream, decorated with butter cream roses.

    My sous revived these. I used to make almond versions years ago. I haven't yet posted this version.