Chocolate Espresso Dacquoise

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The components of this recipe are easy to prepare ahead of time. Use a rimless pan or inverted rim pan to cook the meringue. Powdered espresso can be replaced with powdered instant coffee. To peel hazelnuts, simply place warm, toasted hazelnuts on a clean cloth and grate lightly. Use a high quality chocolate in this recipe.

Ingredients:

Meringue:

Butter cream:

Ganache:

Instructions:

1. For the meringue: place the oven rack in the center position and heat the oven to 250 degrees. Using a ruler and permanent marker, draw a 13 x 10½-inch rectangle on a sheet of parchment paper. Grease a baking sheet and place parchment paper on top, ink side down.

2. Process almonds, hazelnuts, cornstarch, and salt in food processor until nuts are finely ground, 15 to 20 seconds. Add ½ cup sugar and beat to combine, 1 to 2 pulses.

3. Using a planetary mixer fitted with a whisk, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar on medium-low speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Increase speed to medium-high and beat egg whites until stiff, about 1 minute. With mixer on medium-high speed, slowly add ½ cup of the remaining sugar and continue beating until stiff, shiny peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes. Combine the nut mixture with the egg whites in 2 portions. With an offset spatula, evenly spread meringue into 13 x 10½-inch rectangles on parchment using parchment lines as a guide. Using a spray bottle, evenly spray surface of meringue with water until shiny. Cook for 1 hour and a half. Turn off the oven and let the meringue cool in the oven for 1 1/2 hours. (Do not open the oven while cooking and cooling). Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature, about 10 minutes. (Chilled meringue can be stored at room temperature, tightly wrapped, for up to 2 days.)

4. For the buttercream: In a small saucepan, heat the milk over medium-high heat until it begins to boil. Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and salt until smooth. Remove milk from heat and add half of the milk to the egg yolk mixture, still whisking to temper. Add the warm milk egg yolk mixture to the saucepan, stirring constantly. Return saucepan to medium-high heat and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is fluffy and thickens to the consistency of warm pudding, 3 to 5 minutes. Pour the pastry cream into a bowl. Cover and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours. Before using, gently warm to room temperature in the microwave on 50% power, stirring every 10 seconds.

5. Mix amaretto and espresso powder; Put aside. Using a planetary mixer fitted with a spoon, beat butter on medium speed until mixture is smooth and clear, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the pastry cream in 3 batches, beating for 30 seconds after each addition. Add the amaretti mixture and continue beating until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 5 minutes more, scraping down the middle of the bowl well as you stir.

6. For the ganache: Place the chocolate in a heat resistant container. In a small saucepan, bring cream and corn syrup to a boil over medium-high heat. Pour the cream mixture over the chocolate and let stand for 1 minute. Stir the mixture until smooth. Let cool until the chocolate rises slightly as it drips off the spoon.

7. Carefully flip the meringue over and remove the parchment. Flip the meringue over again and place on a cutting board. Using a serrated knife and a smooth, repeating motion, cut the edges of the meringue to form a 12″ x 10″ rectangle. discard the remains. With the long side of the rectangle parallel to the counter, use the ruler to mark the top and bottom edges of the meringue at 3-inch intervals. Using a serrated knife, score the top of the meringue by bringing the knife toward you from the mark on the top edge to the corresponding mark on the bottom edge. Repeat the scratching until the meringue is completely cut. Repeat until you have four 10-by-3-inch rectangles. (If the meringue breaks during cutting, use it as a middle layer.)

8. Place 3 rectangles on rack in rimmed baking sheet. Using an offset spatula, spread ¼ cup ganache evenly over each meringue. Refrigerate until ganache has solidified, about 15 minutes. Set the remaining ganache aside.

9. Using an offset spatula, brush top surface of remaining meringue rectangle with ½ cup buttercream; Serve grilled with meringues covered in ganache. Invert a ganache-covered meringue, place on top of the buttercream, and lightly press until creamy. Repeat 2 more times, paint the meringue with ½ cup of buttercream and decorate with the meringue covered with inverted ganache. When the last ganache-covered meringue is in place, spread half of the remaining buttercream over the cake, then spread the remaining buttercream over the cake. Smooth out the sides and cover until the cake resembles a box. Refrigerate until buttercream has solidified, about 2 hours. (Once the buttercream has solidified, the assembled cake can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 2 days.)

10. Heat remaining ganache in a heatproof bowl in a saucepan filled with 1-inch. simply bring the water to a boil, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is very runny but not hot. Place assembled cake on rack and pour ganache over cake. Using an offset spatula, spread the ganache over the cake in a thin, even layer, sliding excess down the sides. Spread the ganache in a thin layer on the sides (the top should be completely covered, but a few small gaps on the sides are fine).

11. Decorate the cake with the whole toasted hazelnuts. Hold the cake in one hand and gently press the almond slices up the sides with the other hand. Store in the refrigerator for a minimum of 3 hours or up to 12 hours. Transferred to disk. Cut into slices and serve. For best results, slice with a sharp knife dipped in hot water and pat dry before each slice.

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