Coffee Dacquoise with caramelised hazelnuts

I ate a stunning Dacquoise in a pâtisserie in France very recently and I couldn’t wait to put my spin on it when recreating it back home. Crisp toasted hazelnut meringue layers are sandwiched together with a truly melt-in-the-mouth coffee buttercream, and it is topped with a very simple shiny chocolate glaze.

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About the recipe

I took a standard Dacquoise meringue recipe and decided to go for my favourite type of buttercream to sandwich it all together: boiling sugar syrup is whisked into the egg yolks until cool, before whisking in the butter and the melted chocolate: you get the silkiest buttercream imaginable.

Seriously, if you have never made this type of buttercream I cannot urge you strongly enough to make it!

I have gone for a rectangular Dacquoise here but you can make it any shape you want.

Different shapes & sizes

They are also excellent made macaron-sized, with the flat bit of each dipped in a little melted chocolate and then sandwiched together (or not!): great for nibbling with coffee.

I have since made these Dacquoises as individual portions, piping coils of identical circles (about 8cm diameter) of the mixture.

Caramelised hazelnuts

I dipped a few whole hazelnuts in caramel, into which a little salt had been added, to decorate the top: cocktail sticks pushed into the hazelnuts and then dipped into caramel makes this very easy: just lay them over the worktop to allow the caramel to drip, ideally with a chopping board placed over the cocktail stick end to stop the nuts from falling on the floor!

However, the caramel does soften so these are best placed a couple of hours or so before serving.

Recipe: coffee Dacquoise with caramelised hazelnuts

For the Dacquoise layers:

  • 2 large egg whites
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 10g cornflour
  • 70g coarsely crushed toasted hazelnuts or mixed nuts (you can buy them ready toasted or else place them on a baking sheet in an oven preheated to 150C for about 15 minutes, stirring them every few minutes or so)

For the coffee filling:

  • 120g unsalted butter, softened
  • 100g caster sugar (or vanilla caster sugar)
  • 60ml water
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 100g best quality dark chocolate, melted
  • 3 teaspoons coffee granules dissolved in a little hot water

For the glaze:

  • 75ml double cream
  • 25g liquid glucose
  • 60g caster sugar
  • 30g cocoa powder
  • 1.5 gelatine leaves, soaked in cold water for 5 minutes and squeezed dry
  • 1/2 teaspoon coffee granules dissolved in a little hot water

To finish:

  • about 50g toasted hazelnuts, crushed
  • a few whole hazelnuts dipped in caramel

(1) Draw three 18cm diameter circles on non-stick baking parchment, turn it over and place on baking sheets. Alternatively, line three 2lb loaf tins with parchment/tin liners.

(2) Mix the cornflour and 2 tablespoons of the sugar with the nuts into a large bowl.

(3) Whisk the egg whites in a clean, dry bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add the rest of sugar, a little at a time, whisking as you add them for about 5 minutes, or until firm peaks form and hold their shape.

(4) Fold the nut mixture into the meringue.

(5) Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm nozzle. For individual Dacquoise, use a template to pipe small identical circles in a coil – starting from the centre and coiling outwards. Alternatively, if you don’t want to pipe, simply spoon it onto the greaseproof and gently flatten out.

(6) Bake for 45-50 minutes until firm: it should have barely taken on any colour. Turn off the oven and leave to cool fully in the oven for a couple of hours.

Baked layers
Baked layers

(7) Make the coffee buttercream filling: put the sugar and water in a small pan and bring to the boil slowly, shaking the pan from time to time to dissolve the sugar. When it comes to the boil, turn up the heat and let it boil for about 5 minutes until it becomes a little syrupy (about 110C if using a thermometer).

(8) Whisk together the egg yolks and coffee in a bowl. Pour over the hot sugar syrup, whisking well, and whisk for about 5 minutes until cooled down and you get a pale, moussey mixture.  Whisk in the butter, a little at a time, followed by the melted chocolate. Taste, and add more coffee if preferred.

very silky & smooth coffee buttercream
the very silky & smooth coffee buttercream

(9) Assemble: start by placing a layer of the cooled Dacquoise onto a wire rack. Spoon over a little coffee buttercream and top with a second layer of the cooled Dacquoise. Repeat and finish with the third layer of Dacquoise. Spread the top and sides with coffee buttercream and smooth off.

Spread with buttercream & ready to glaze
Spread with buttercream & ready to finish

(10) Pat the toasted hazelnuts round the sides: it is easiest placing the wire rack on a sheet of greaseproof to catch and recycle any hazelnuts that fall through. Refrigerate while you make the glaze.

(11) Make the chocolate glaze: put all the ingredients apart from the gelatine in a small pan and bring to the boil. Add the gelatine and stir until fully dissolved. Pour into a small bowl and leave at room temperature for about 30 minutes until it has cooled completely and has just started to thicken.

(12) Spoon the cooled chocolate glaze over the top of the Dacquoise, allowing some of it to drip cascade down the sides over the nuts if you want: greaseproof placed underneath the wire rack will catch the drips.

(13) Carefully slide the Dacquoise onto a plate and decorate the top with a few hazelnuts dipped in caramel.

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Author: Philip

Very much into baking and general cooking.

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