Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Birthday Dacquoise


A Birthday! A Birthday! A friend with a Birthday! AKA an excuse to bake!

Christiana likes vanilla. (I know.) I have been emboldened by my success with macarons. (Still giddy from those fabulous feet.) I decided to make a dacquoise. Most dacquoise are chocolate or involve chocolate. I needed a vanilla one. I found what I was looking for at Tartlette

Her cake is rose scented and raspberry jellied and lemon glazed and visually perfect. I asked you what you thought, and your reply was “fussy.”

But I really, really had my heart set on dacquoise and the thought of a plain old yellow cake, or God Forbid, the coconut, vanilla bean cake, made me want to forget the bake fest altogether and just make another chicken salad.

This is not a true dacquoise, as it calls for a little flour. Next time, ixnay on the flour. Flour in a meringue makes it sturdy. If you were making a cake that needed to last a week, maybe travel on an airplane, hold up to some manhandling and also look perfect all the time, then be my guest, have your way with the flour.  But know that it will be about as satisfying as an inflatable doll.

I have fantasies of starting a cake company. I’ll make cakes that taste fabulous, but messy will be the polite word for how they look.  I’ll call my company Magenta Arborvitae and my slogan will be, “The only thing pretty is the name.” My bf is always disappointed when I announce that I have a fantasy and then tell him about some particularly long bike ride I want to do. He says, “That’s not a fantasy, that’s a thought!” So I think about starting a cake company.

At any rate, up until this point, I was following the recipe, at least as closely as I ever do, and I added the flour. I also took Brave Tart’s advice and used Almond Meal instead of grinding my own almonds. And will do so forever more, forever more more more

I know this will come as a surprise to you, but I couldn’t deal with the whole jellied raspberry layer. I decided to use fresh raspberries and a raspberry sauce. 

Gets me to the good part more quickly—The Bavarian Cream. I wasn’t familiar with Bavarian Cream. Are you familiar with Bavarian Cream? It is a vanilla custard folded into whipped cream. Why wasn’t I told?! It’s my new favorite food!

But naturally, I had to try too hard and ruin it. Well, as much as you can ruin vanilla custard folded into whipped cream. The custard thickened beautiful to a silky heaviness and I thought, well this is pretty good, but maybe it can be thicker. Now I know why it can’t be thicker. No matter how frantically you whisk, at a certain temperature, eggs cook. I guess that is why the anxious or precise among us use candy thermometers. It was late. The custard had gelatin in it. It tasted good. I put the curdled mass in the fridge and went to bed.

The next day, the custard was very firm. I could have sliced it. I could have carved it into a sculpture. I beat it with the mixer and folded in that whipped cream. And you know what?  The curdled part didn’t matter at all. OK, Pierre Herme would have noticed. Julia Child would have noticed but she wouldn’t have cared. It was that good. 

Assemble assemble. I had made the dacquoise cakes in 9” rounds and I arranged the layers as follows: cake, Bavarian cream, raspberries, cake and so forth, ending with Bavarian cream.

Skipped the lemon glaze. Shocker!

I made Julia Child’s raspberry sauce—raspberries (I used frozen), sugar, a splash of lemon juice, whizzed in the food processor until the sugar has dissolved or the noise is driving you crazy. 

The result? Not pretty, you have to admit. But good! 

Next time I will eschew the flour and put Bavarian cream on both sides of the raspberries and the Bavarian cream will subtly permeate the meringue layers creating a meld of vanilla and cream and custard and berries, and it will be bliss. 

What are we making for your birthday?

Love, Margaret 

1 comment:

Debbie McLaughlin said...

Oh my goodness. I wasn't hungry until I read this post. I swear I could taste it as I read. Mouth still watering.