Thursday, 26 April 2007
Almond dacquoise with rose cream and strawberries
Flowers add a delicate and subtle scent to all sorts of dishes. Here I have paired one of my favourite desserts with rosewater and a sprinkle of rose petals. Cooking is all about simple recipes that can be played with as the wont takes you. Daquoise is a perfect base for such desserts, being a meriangue flavoured with ground nuts. Both the type and quantity of the nuts used can be changed, giving a texture like crisp meriangue or delicate cake. Almond and hazelnuts are perhaps my favourite ways to flavour daquoise: hazelnuts go perfectly with raspberries while almonds are a more delicate foil for the first strawberries of the season.
The cream that sandwhichs the two together can be left plain, or embellished with fruit liquours, vanilla, spices, or in this case rose water.
The rule I subscribe to for meriangue and dacquoise is that each medium egg white requires at least 55g of sugar and ground nuts, of which 30g at least of this must be sugar. You can of course add more than 55g of dry ingrediants, and the more you add the drier, or more sandy, the dacquoise will be.
There are a couple of things which make meriangues and dacquoise much much easier. A good copper bowl for whipping your egg whites.
Mine came from Lakeland, but Mauviel also do one which also has a stand allowing one-handed whipping. Copper bowls aren't necessary, but they do help for anything which requires beaten egg whites, as the copper allows you to acheive fluffy clouds with the minimum effort. I also try and keep mine solely for egg whites, eliminating the possibility of pesking bits of grease getting through my sub-standard washing up and ruining my egg whites.
The other piece of equiptment is far more indispensible: silicone baking parchment. Again Lakeland, but increasingly more and more shops sell these. It allows you to forget about ricepaper, and that incredibly annoying job of teasing the meriangue off the baking sheet, all the while hoping it doesn't fragment into little shards in your hands.
3 egg whites
150g of caster sugar
50g of ground almonds
1/2 pint of cream
a drop of rose water
Whip the egg whites to soft peaks, then gradually add the sugar and continue whipping until all the sugar has dissolved. The meriangue should have a firmer consistency and get increasingly hard to whisk as you add the sugar. Fold in the almonds. Pipe or dollop onto the silicone baking sheet, or rice paper, and bake for about an hour (depending on the shape and size of the meriangues) at 100oc. When done the outsides should be crisp and they should peel off the parchment easily, but the middle will still be marshmallow like in consistency.
Leave to cool.
Lightly whip the cream until it is just holding its shape, and then fold in a couple of drops of rose water. Hull the strawberries. Spead the cooled meriangues with cream and decorate with strawberries.
Unfortunatly, we ate this before I got a chance to take a picture of the final product.