A true pièce de résistance, Plum Dacquoise holds all the charm of a thoughtfully wrapped package.
Makes 1 (10-inch) cake
- 6 egg whites
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
- 1½ cups toasted almonds
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- White Chocolate Ganache (recipe follows)
- Amaretto Buttercream (recipe follows)
- 1 cup plum preserves
- 2 cups toasted sliced almonds
- Garnish: whole almonds, sliced plums, white chocolate curls
- Preheat oven to 250°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar with a mixer at high speed until mixture is foamy. Gradually add 3 tablespoons sugar, beating until stiff peaks form.
- In the work bowl of a food processor, combine toasted almonds and remaining 1 cup sugar. Process until almonds are ground (about the consistency of coarse beach sand).
- Gently fold almond mixture into egg white mixture. Fold in vanilla extract.
- Spoon mixture into a large piping bag fitted with a large round tip*. Pipe 4 (10x4-inch) rectangles on prepared pans. Using an offset spatula, gently smooth surface of meringues.
- Bake until meringues are firm, about 3 hours. Turn off oven, and leave meringues in oven with door closed for 6 hours.
- Using a serrated knife, very gently trim meringues to make all sides straight and all meringues uniform in size. (If any meringue breaks, use it as a middle layer.)
- Place a wire rack over parchment paper. Set 3 meringues on rack. Spread ¼ cup White Chocolate Ganache evenly over each meringue, and cover remaining ganache with plastic wrap.
- Refrigerate meringues until ganache is set, about 15 minutes.
- Using an offset spatula, spread top of remaining meringue with ⅓ cup Amaretto Buttercream; place on a serving platter. Spread with ⅓ cup preserves. Invert 1 ganache-coated meringue, place over preserves, and press gently to level. Repeat process, spreading meringue with ⅓ cup buttercream and ⅓ cup preserves, and topping with an inverted ganache-coated meringue. Spread top with ⅓ cup buttercream and remaining ⅓ cup preserves. Invert final ganache-coated meringue on top of cake. Use 1 hand to steady top of cake; spread half of remaining buttercream to lightly coat sides of cake, and then use remaining buttercream to coat top of cake. Smooth until cake resembles a box.
- Refrigerate until buttercream is firm, about 2 hours. (Once buttercream is firm, assembled cake may be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 2 days.)
- In a heatproof bowl set over simmering water, heat remaining ganache until ganache is pourable but not hot.
- Quickly spread a thin layer of ganache over top and sides of cake. Immediately press sliced almonds into sides of cake.
- Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or up to 2 days. Garnish with whole almonds, plum slices, and white chocolate curls, if desired.
*For testing purposes, our test kitchen used an Ateco #807 decorating tip.
White Chocolate Ganache
Makes approximately 2 cups
- 1 pound white chocolate, chopped
- ¾ cup heavy whipping cream
- In a large, heatproof bowl, place chopped chocolate.
- In a small saucepan, heat cream over medium heat until barely simmering. Pour hot cream over chocolate, and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir mixture until smooth.
Makes approximately 2½ cups
- ¾ cup whole milk
- 4 egg yolks
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 1½ teaspoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons amaretto
- 1 cup butter, softened
- In a small saucepan, heat milk over medium heat until barely simmering.
- In a medium bowl, whisk egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch until smooth. Whisking constantly, gradually add hot milk to egg mixture. Return milk mixture to saucepan, and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture is thickened and coats the back of a spoon. Stir in amaretto. Spoon custard into bowl and cover with plastic wrap, pressing wrap directly onto surface of custard to prevent a skin from forming.
- Refrigerate until very cold, at least 4 to 6 hours.
- In a large bowl, beat butter with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Beating constantly, add custard in 3 additions, beating for 30 seconds between each. Continue beating until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
For more delicious French-inspired recipes, see “Ethereal French Meringues” on page 111 of the May/June 2018 issue.