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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

White and Dark Chocolate Dacquoise

This is what my 11 year old daughter made for youth fair. So you could do this. What is a daquoise? it is a meringue cake (usually the meringue has nuts but this one doesn't) that usually frosted somewhat like a normal cake. This one has a white chocolate and dark chocolate buttercream that goes between the layers of meringue and then is topped by a ganache.

uh-huh. The buttercream is not the typical birthday cake buttercream that is just butter and powdered sugar, in fact the dark chocolate has a bit of the bitter taste of dark chocolate (enough so that my kids didn't like it without the meringue).

Anyway, it is wonderful! but it is also incredibly time consuming.

This is something to make for a big anniversary dinner, not a I-feel-like-having-chocolate Thursday.

The first step is to make a meringue. And here is the cast of characters that play in the meringue:


And yes, buy the 18 pack because you will only have 2 eggs left - and a freezer full of yolks. Unless you forget to add the granulated sugar and then you will be wishing you bought the 24 pack. Don't ask.

You preheat the oven to 250 and then sift together the cornstarch and powdered sugar and leave it in a nice neat pile. She whisked it together because that works just as well.


Place 8 egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment.


Whisk on high until stiff but not dry, about 1 ½ minutes. Gradually add granulated sugar while still whisking on high for an additional minute.


Remove bowl from mixer and fold in the dry, sifted ingredients. And it looks pretty much like it did before.

And then I forgot my job was taking pictures because there are not more of the next few steps so pretend.

Fill a piping bag without a tip with the meringue and decide what shape you want. If you want to make life easy on yourself, trace three 9-inch circles on parchment paper. If you want to complicate things, trace 2 rectangles that are 8x11 (do the circles, seriously). Turn the parchment pencil side down and you should still see the outline. Then with the tip cut off the piping bag (you could also use a gallon zip-top bag and cut off a corner), you trace the outline you made and then fill it in.

[Insert imaginary picture here]

We chose the rectangles because when finished, this cuts best very cold and so we had to precut into serving sizes so that it could be served at the contest. Making it for home, I would go with the circles.

[since you are imagining pictures you can also imagine that we made the circles too]

And then place into the oven and bake for 1 hour. After 1 hour, bump the heat down to 200 for 2 hours. And let it cool for at least 30 minutes.

Next comes the buttercream.

But that will be on another post.

Here is the recipe so far:

Meringue

¾ cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
8 egg whites
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.

Draw three 9-inch circles (or two 8x11 rectangles) on a sheet of parchment paper with a pencil and lay face down on a cookie sheet large enough (or put on 2 cookie sheets). Set aside.

Sift together the confectioners’ sugar and corn starch. Set aside.

Place 8 egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whisk on high until stiff but not dry, about 1 ½ minutes. Gradually add granulated sugar while still whisking on high for an additional minute. Remove bowl from mixer and fold in the dry, sifted ingredients.

Fill a pastry bag with no tip with meringue and trace around each drawn circles (rectangles) with a ½ inch thick piping of meringue, then fill in with remaining meringue. Place in preheated oven and bake for 1 hour. Lower oven temperature to 200 degrees and bake for an additional 2 hours. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on baking sheets for 30 minutes before handling.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Leftover Redo

Sometimes I wish I followed recipes just because I would like to remake something. I know approximately what I did but I don't know how well I can make it again.

The other day, I made a lazy chicken cacciatore - just chicken breasts cooked in spaghetti sauce with an onion and can of gluten free broth. The family was underwhelmed and so there was a bunch left over (I was having stomach problems so I just ate rice).

So last night I was thinking of vegetable soup.

It was cold and I had been cold all day. I just looked out the window and felt cold. (Yes, I live in Texas and I know those of you who live further north think that we are wimps. I am fine with that. If I wanted to miserable and cold, I would live further north. I chose to live in the south the be warm. And it wasn't.)

So I turned the chicken cacciatore into a soup somewhat vegetable-like. I added 5 carrots and half of a red cabbage and another onion. Some seasoning salt went in, as well as some black pepper and regular salt. It was good at this point and we would have been happy with it but I had 1/2 a can of coconut milk (we had made sleet/snow ice cream using the first half a can).

I know! As I was pouring the coconut milk in I thought "what am I doing!" My husband saw me doing it and was equally concerned.

And the last addition was a couple handfuls of spinach.

The coconut milk added an unexpected depth of flavor and the soup was so good! Hubby thought it was wonderful and he is one of those that can usually see some way to change or improve a dish. If I can figure out how to do it, I plan on remaking it and I will share a real recipe.

Now to prepare for a steak dinner. It is my father-in-laws birthday and I am also going to make some onion soup. YUM!