cherry cream dacquoise
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Dacquoise is an almond or hazelnut meringue usually baked and stacked in layers filled with fresh cream, buttercream or ganache. You think you’ve seen it all when it comes to cakes? Think again!
So I have made a good few birthday cakes in my time, most of them completely original – none of that looks-pretty-tastes-s@*t nonsense. Chocolate cakes, sponge cakes, almond cakes and walnut cakes, genoises and viennoises, millefeuille and shortcrust, layered with buttercream, cream, custard, jam, ganache, mousse, fruit and praline. I’m always up for a challenge – like when I tried to microwave a meringue layer – and I might not be the best stylist in the world, but I sure can think of a good flavour combination or two.
And this is certainly one of the best: fool proof meringue-style layers, fresh cream filling that only needs whipping and the only finicky bit: the glace cherries which at a very hard push can be swapped for shop-bought maraschino cherries. Those will be far more expensive but whatever suits you. Plus, you can easily make a surplus which can boost breakfast porridge or plain vanilla ice cream as the cherries will keep well in a tightly closed jar in the fridge.
The piping of the mix onto baking sheets will seem like a chore but it isn’t strictly necessary, it just helps get a uniformly thick layer. Feel free to dollop the mix onto the parchment and spread it with a spatula or a palette knife. But don’t be tempted to add sugar to the whipped cream – the whole gateau is going to be plenty sweet as it is.
cherry cream dacquoiseServings: 12Time: about 4 hours
- For the dacquoise:
- 180g (1½ cups) icing sugar
- 160g (1 2/3 cups) almond flour
- 6 large egg whites
- a pinch of salt
- ½ tsp cream of tartar
- 60g (¼ cup) caster sugar
- For the filling:
- 200g (6 oz.) fresh or frozen and thawed, pitted dark cherries
- 120g (½ cup) caster sugar
- ¾ cup water
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 500ml (2 cups) double cream
- For the topping:
- 30g (1 oz.) dark chocolate
- icing sugar
1. First make the dacquoise: preheat the oven to 130C (fan if possible)/250F/gas ½. With a little butter stick a sheet of parchment to the underside of your largest baking tray and draw three circles 20cm dia each. You can also use pre-cut parchment rounds. If three circles won’t fit, use two trays.
2. Stir the icing sugar and almond flour together in a bowl. Beat the egg whites with the pinch of salt until foamy, add the cream of tartar and beat to soft peaks. Add the caster sugar in three or four goes beating constantly until you have soft meringue.
3. Pour the almond sugar over the meringue and fold in with a spatula. Transfer the mix into a piping bag with large plain nozzle or into a freezer bag and cut a 1.5cm corner.
4. Pipe the mix onto the marked circles starting from the middle of each one in a spiral shape. Transfer to the oven and bake for 1 hour 30 minutes. If you have two trays, swap them round halfway through to ensure even baking. Switch the oven off and leave the dacquoise inside for another 1 hour 30 minutes or overnight. Peel off the parchment.
5. While the dacquoises are baking, prepare the cherries: place them in a large saucepan with the sugar, water and lemon and bring to the boil. Keep them boiling vigorously for 30 minutes; stir gently by the end of cooking to check if thee cherries are not catching to the bottom. Take the pan off the heat and cool down.
6. Whip the cream to soft peaks. Fold in the cherries strained with a slotted spoon reserving several for decoration (the syrup can be used in drinks or over ice cream).
7. Place one dacquoise disc on a cake platter of stand, flat side down. Spread half the cherry cream over it and cover with another disc, flat side up. Spread the remaining cream over it and cover with the last disc (reserve the neatest for this). Dust with icing sugar and decorate with cherries.
8. Melt the dark chocolate in a bain-marie or in a microwave at low power. Drizzle over the top of the cake using a fork.
9. Chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours before serving so the cream softens the dacquoise a little. It will keep for 2-3 days in the fridge but the dacquoise layers will soften further.