Do you know what a dacquoise is? If you don’t, that’s okay. I didn’t either until I made this recipe. Seems it’s a layered dessert made with flavoured meringue alternating with some form of creamy goodness. You can’t really beat that. And the best part? This fancy schmancy dessert is gluten free!
And to be honest, despite the fact that it looks a wee bit finicky, this thing is pretty easy. No harder than baking a cake, I’d say. I wanted to find a fitting use for those beautiful blue fresh eggs that Miss Awesome gave me, so I thought this would work out. And I actually pulled the recipe itself from the Get Crackin’ website. So if the egg farmers think it’s good, it must be good.
So let’s begin.
Separate 4 egg whites from their yolks and bring them to room temperature. Keep the yolks — we have a recipe for those in the next post.
Take a narrow bowl and chuck it in the freezer, along with your beater. We’re going to use this to whip cream later on.
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Pour 1 cup shelled hazelnuts onto a baking sheet. If you want to call them filberts, you can go ahead. To me “filbert” sounds like a euphemism for a bodily function, or another name for giving someone a raspberry. Hazelnuts it is.
Toast the hazelnuts for 8 minutes, shaking the pan gently about halfway through, until the skins start to split and darken. Tip the hazelnuts out onto a clean tea towel. Lower your oven temperature to 325°F so you can bake the meringue once it’s ready.
Wrap your toasty warm nuts up in the towel and rub the nuts vigorously in the towel. Yes, I know it seems weird. Just do it. There, you see? Now you’ve taken off the skins — well, most of them.
And now you can remove your nuts and leave the skin bits behind.
Chuck the hazelnuts in a food processor with 1/4 cup granulated sugar for about 10 seconds or until they’re partially chopped.
Haul out 2 tablespoons of the hazelnut/sugar mix and save that for garnish later on. Continue to process the nuts and the sugar until the nuts are finely chopped, and set that aside for a while.
Line two rectangular baking sheets with parchment paper. On each sheet of paper, draw two 4″x8″ rectangles.
Flip the paper over so the pencil marks are on the bottom. But you should still be able to see them.
Now let’s work on the eggs. With an electric mixer, beat your egg whites until they’re frothy. Then add 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar, and continue to beat until soft peaks form.
Slowly add in 3/4 cup granulated sugar, a little bit at a time, and continue to beat until all the sugar is incorporated and you have reached the stiff peak stage. This is when the meringue is glossy and white, with no distinguishable air bubbles, and the peaks created by your beater can stand up under their own weight.
Gently fold in the finely chopped hazelnuts and sugar.
Spread the meringue on the baking sheets so it fills each of the four rectangles and smooth the tops as much as possible. Bake in your 325-degree oven for 25 minutes, until they are crisp on the outside and golden on the edges. Let them cool on the pans.
While the meringue is baking, you can make your ganache filling.
Chop 5oz dark chocolate and plop it in a heatproof bowl set over barely simmering water, or the top of a double boiler. Add in 1/3 cup whipping cream and cook, stirring, until the chocolate is melted completely and the mixture is smooth and glossy. Remove it from the heat and allow it to cool slightly.
Take your bowl and beater out of the freezer and pour 1 cup whipping cream into the bowl. Look how nice and frosty that beater is.
Whip it into a frenzy.
Gently fold in the melted chocolate until it’s fully combined.
When the meringue is cool to the touch, gently peel it off the parchment paper. Set one rectangle on a serving dish and slather with your newly made ganache.
Add another layer of meringue and repeat the process. alternating layers until you get to the top, which should end with a ganache layer.
Take your reserved chopped hazelnuts and sugar and sprinkle them over the top.
Refrigerate your confection for at least 30 minutes to set, or overnight. Just remember that the longer you keep it, the softer the meringue is going to get. Also, if I were to make this again, I would use slightly more ganache, maybe a cup and a half — I had trouble getting it to spread over the length of the rectangles, and I like to be generous.
Slice like a loaf of bread and serve it up. Crispy, chewy meringue and sweet, silky ganache … my two favourite things!