Serves 10 to 12
The components in this recipe can easily be prepared in advance. Use a rimless baking sheet or an overturned rimmed baking sheet to bake the meringue. Instant coffee may be substituted for the espresso powder. To skin the hazelnuts, simply place the warm toasted nuts in a clean dish towel and rub gently. We recommend Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Bar with 60% cacao for this recipe.
Our dacquoise is not just easier than a professional-bakery version—it’s better.
MORE GANACHE: We spread ganache on the exterior as well as between the layers for rich chocolate in every bite.
EASIER BUTTERCREAM: Most buttercreams call for egg whites and a fussy hot sugar syrup. Ours skips the syrup and uses up yolks left over from making the meringue.
LIGHTER MERINGUE: This meringue is ready in half the time that most recipes take. It’s also lighter and easier to slice and eat.
DACQUOISE MADE DOABLE
Here’s how to assemble the three different components of dacquoise—cooled, baked meringue; buttercream; and ganache—into a dessert that looks as though it was made in a professional bakery.
1. TRIM MERINGUE EDGES: Using serrated knife and gentle, repeated scoring motion, trim edges of cooled meringue to form 12 by 10-inch rectangle.
2. MEASURE AND MARK: With long side of rectangle parallel to counter, mark both long edges at 3-inch intervals.
3. CUT INTO 4 STRIPS: Repeatedly score surface by gently drawing knife from top mark to bottom mark until cut through. Repeat to make 4 strips.
4. TOP 3 STRIPS WITH GANACHE: Place 3 strips on wire rack and spread 1⁄4 cup ganache evenly over each. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
5. TOP 1 STRIP WITH BUTTERCREAM: Spread remaining strip with 1⁄2 cup buttercream.
6. STACK STRIPS: Invert 1 ganache-coated strip on top of buttercream-coated strip. Spread with buttercream. Repeat. Invert final ganache-coated strip on top.
7. COAT WITH BUTTERCREAM: Coat sides of cake with half of remaining buttercream; coat top with remainder. Smooth and refrigerate until firm.
8. TOP WITH GANACHE: Pour warm ganache over cake and spread in thin, even layer, letting excess flow down sides. Spread thinly across sides.
9. GARNISH WITH NUTS: Use spatula to lift cake off rack. Arrange whole hazelnuts on top of cake and, holding cake with 1 hand, gently press almonds onto sides.
With an offset spatula, spreading and smoothing ganache and buttercream is a snap. Our favorite for this recipe is the Ateco 7.75-Inch Offset Spatula ($8.60).
The only tool that can cut the meringue without shattering it is a long, sharp, serrated knife. Our favorite is the Wüsthof Classic 10-Inch Bread Knife ($89.95).
3/4 cup blanched sliced almonds, toasted
1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted and skinned
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup (7 ounces) sugar
4 large egg whites, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
3/4 cup whole milk
4 large egg yolks
1/3 cup (2 1/3 ounces) sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons amaretto or water
1 1/2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
16 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons corn syrup
12 whole hazelnuts, toasted and skinned
1 cup blanched sliced almonds, toasted