Almond Chocolate Dacquoise
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Passover baking can be pleasure or purgatory. Like many things in life, it is a matter of whether you focus on the opportunities or the limitations. But think of those glorious once-a-year treats that the festival brings, whose unique tastes, textures, shapes are redolent are of Passovers past — moist and tender coconut pyramids; fragrant, fudgey cinnamon balls; rich, dark, flourless chocolate cake.
Most “traditional” Pesach sweets were probably cherry-picked from the culinary traditions of wherever Jewish communities happened to live — vegetable-based jams (angemacht) from Eastern Europe, tender biscuits made with ground nuts from Spain and the Middle East, delicate meringues from France, moist tortes from the Austro-Hungarian Empire…
This gorgeous almond chocolate dacquoise is no exception. It has its roots in 17th-century France. It is a spectacular dessert made up of two layers of almond meringue enclosing a luscious coffee and chocolate filling. It is equally delicious in both the parev and dairy versions; it is also coeliac-friendly. Chag Sameach!
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes. Refrigerate 3 days.
Freeze 3 months
For the nut meringue
4 egg whites
225 g (8 oz) caster sugar
1 packet vanilla sugar or 1 teasp vanilla extract
225 g (8 oz) ground almonds or hazelnuts
For the filling
3 teasp coffee granules
2 tbsp water
175 g (6 oz) plain chocolate
3 egg yolks
175 ml (6 fl oz) non-dairy cream or 225 ml (8 fl oz) double cream
5 teasp coffee or chocolate liqueur (if available)
- Preheat the oven to 190˚C (Gas 5, 375˚F)
- Mark out 2 circles on parchment paper using the base of a 24 -25 cm (9 ½ -10 in) cake tin as a guide.
- Arrange the paper on baking trays.
- Whisk the egg whites until they hold soft peaks, then whisk in half the sugar, a tablespoon at a time, until stiff after each addition. Fold in the remaining sugar, the vanilla sugar or vanilla extract, and the ground nuts.
- Divide between the paper circles, spreading the mixture as evenly as possible. Bake for 20 minutes until the surface is firm to gentle touch. Carefully lift on to cooling trays.
To make the filling
- Dissolve the coffee in the hot water in a bowl, add the broken-up chocolate, and microwave on 100 per cent power for 1 to 1½ minutes or until liquid, checking and stirring half way through (or melt over hot water).
- Drop in the yolks and beat vigorously until smooth and glossy. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.
- Whisk the cream (with the liqueur if used) until it holds soft peaks, then fold into the chocolate mixture.
- Place one layer of the meringue on a large plate or foil-covered cake circle. Spoon the filling on top and then top it with the second layer of meringue. Dust thickly with icing sugar.
- Chill for 24 hours or freeze until required. Serve with mixed berries or fresh fruit salad.