Classic Dacquoise

This is a variation of a classic meringue, with the addition of nuts. The nuts add flavor and texture and disguise some of the sweetness.

This is the foundation for Chocolate Délice.

Ingredients

  • cup (2 ounces) unblanched almonds
  • ¼ cup (50 grams) plus tablespoons plus cup (130 grams) granulated sugar
  • cup (5 large) egg whites, room temperature

Baking Equipment

One 14-x-17-x-½-inch baking sheet, one 12-x-15½-x-½-inch baking sheet, 16-inch pastry bag, ½-inch (#6) round decorating tip

Method

Baking Preparations

Position one rack in lower third of oven and second rack in upper third; preheat oven to 225 degrees.

After fitting the pastry bag with the tip and lining the two baking sheets with parchment paper to fit, draw three 8-inch circles, using a saucepan lid or cake pan as a guide.

Ingredient Preparations

Using a nut grinder or rotary-type grater, grind the nuts until they have the consistency of cornmeal; you need cup ground. Combine with the ¼ cup sugar in a small bowl and set aside.

Pour the 2 tablespoons sugar into another small bowl.

Pour the cup sugar into a third bowl.

Making the Dacquoise

Pour the egg whites into the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer. Attach the bowl to the mixer and with the whisk attachment, whip the whites on low speed (#2) for 30 to 45 seconds, or until small bubbles appear and the surface is frothy. Increase the speed to medium (#5); then pour in the 2 tablespoons sugar in a steady stream. Continue whipping until soft, white peaks form, about 45 seconds.

Maintaining medium speed, gradually add the cup sugar in a steady stream. Continue whipping until a small amount rubbed between your thumb and forefinger feels smooth, not granular, about 2 minutes.

Detach the whisk and bowl and tap the whisk against the side of the bowl with enough force to free excess. Sprinkle the almond-sugar mixture over the meringue and fold the two together with a rubber spatula.

Piping the Dacquoise

Without delay, scoop all the mixture into the pastry bag fitted with the decorating tip.

Beginning in the center of a marked circle, pipe meringue in a continuous, widening spiral until the outer edge reaches the pencil line. Lift the tip slightly to cut off the flow of meringue when you have completed piping. Repeat on the other circles.

Pipe a couple of disks about inches in diameter with any extra dacquoise mixture in the pastry bag on each baking sheet. These are samples to test if larger disks are dried and ready to be removed from the oven.

Drying the Dacquoise

Place in the preheated oven and bake for 65 to 75 minutes, or until dry but not colored. Test for doneness by examining the sample. If it releases easily and, after cooling for 5 to 10 minutes, snaps in half and is uniformly crisp, the other disks are done. This additional time in the oven will not harm the dacquoise. Please note that while the disks are warm, they will not always be crisp when removed from the oven. If they have baked the proper time, they will become crisp after cooling.

Cooling and Storing the Dacquoise

If the sample indicates the meringue is sufficiently dried, remove it from the oven. Lift the disks with the parchment paper and transfer to a large rack to cool completely. When they are cool, slip a spatula under each disk to release it. If you want to store the disks for some time before using, merely cut around the parchment paper with kitchen scissors and place them in airtight metal containers. This gives more support to the disks and keeps them from breaking. Store at room temperature for no more than 1 week.