Thursday, January 21, 2010

Dacquoise (Page 848)

RECIPE #1083

  • Date: Thursday, December 31, 2009 -- 8pm
  • Location: Westerville, OH
  • Kitchen: Karen and Dave's House
  • Dining Companions: Matty, Deniz, Brad, Karen H, Dave, etc...
  • Recipe Rating: B+

I made this dessert for a New Year's Eve dinner with my special gentleman's family. I started by making the meringue layers. I ground almonds and sugar in a food processor. Then I added cornstarch. I beat egg whites, cream of tartar, salt, and sugar in a stand mixer until the egg whites held stiff peaks. I then folded in the almond mixture. I spread the meringue into three large circles on parchment-lined baking sheets. I baked them until they were dry and golden. Then I made the buttercream. I beat yolks with sugar, then I added hot cream and sugar, beating. I added espresso powder and salt and cooked in a saucepan until it reached 170 degrees. I beat the mixture until it was cool, then beat in a lot of butter. I refrigerated it briefly to firm up a bit. Then I layered the meringue circles with the buttercream, and pressed toasted sliced almonds on the sides. I chilled it for a few hours, dusted it with powdered sugar, and served. This dacquoise was pretty good. The meringue layers had a great almond flavor to them and a lovely texture -- crispy on the outside with a bit of chewiness on the inside. I wasn't as crazy about the buttercream. In very small quantities it was tasty. But it was incredibly rich. I found it to be too rich to pair well with the light meringue. Plus, it had so much butter in it (two and a half sticks!) that the taste of the butter almost overpowered the coffee flavor of the buttercream. I think a slightly lighter, fluffier filling would have served this dish well. As it was it still tasted good, and texturally the dacquoise was very nice. I would definitely make the meringue layers again with a different filling.

The meringue layers are the same as in this recipe, but the recipe in The Book has coffee buttercream filling instead of strawberry ice cream.

This morning I woke up at Emilee and Brian's place in Palo Alto. I have slept on their floor more nights than I can count in the 6 or so years that they have lived in that apartment so I feel very at home there. I spent the day working on a research project with my friend Chris. On the way back to Berkeley in the late afternoon, stopped in traffic on the 880, I thought to myself, "I can't wait to get home." The "home" I was thinking of was the house in Berkeley where my special gentleman is living this semester. It struck me as strange that after only a couple weeks there, I thought of that place as "home." So now I wonder, where is my home? Is it the house in Berkeley, where my husband is living? It is my apartment in Indiana, where all my clothes and kitchen supplies are? Is it our house in Michigan, which is the only of these many places that we own, and the place where we will soon settle? I just don't know. It is hard to think of Berkeley as home since it is so temporary. And it is hard to think of Michigan as home since I haven't ever really lived there. I suppose I think of Indiana as home -- particularly because that is where I am currently employed -- but it seems sad to think of home as someplace away from my husband.

I am loving being in California, and I love living in Indiana, yet I find myself looking forward to this summer when we will really move into our house in Michigan. We will pack up the things we brought to California and drive back to this Midwest. Then we will pack up my apartment in Bloomington. And we will bring everything to Michigan, where we will live, together, for the first time in a long time. And we will be home. It sounds just lovely.

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