This weekend, I made two ganache-covered desserts because I am now obsessed with ganache. Why? Because it’s delicious, especially when you have extra and you dip fresh strawberries in it. The following recipe is what I made for my cooking group yesterday. Text was yanked from Epicurious, and the recipe is originally from Bon Appetit magazine. Definitely worth making again, but with a few modifications. It was DELICIOUS – a light yet chocolatey dessert, with a bit of tang and a delicious savoriness about it. My comments/modifications are in italics; the rest of the text is from Epicurious.
- The dessert can be made and assembled up to 3 days in advance of your event.
- The chiffon cake can be made in advance of assembly (like a day or so).
- The meringues must be made the night before assembly.
- The marmalade can be made far in advance (like a week).
- Do NOT overlook the importance of parchment paper and nonstick cooking spray in the baking of the meringues, unless you have enough 9″ silicone cake pans to go around.
- When using non stick spray for the merengues, note that they shrink, a lot. You may need to use an 8″ cake pan for the chiffon cake so that everything lines up properly, since that is how much the merengues shrink.
**Image stolen from Epicurious
A dacquoise is a French dessert made by layering nut-flavored meringues with whipped cream. In this version, cocoa nib meringues are layered with chocolate chiffon cake, mascarpone whipped cream, and blood orange marmalade, then covered in a rich chocolate glaze.
Blood Orange Marmalade:
2 cups sugar, divided
1 1/2 cups water, divided
1 blood orange or regular orange, thinly sliced with peel into rounds, seeded if necessary
2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons Campari
- Combine 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water, and orange slices in heavy medium saucepan.
- Bring to simmer over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves.
- Reduce heat to low; cook until orange peel is tender, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.
- Pour into strainer set over medium bowl.
- Chop orange slices and reserve.
- Discard syrup (I could not bring myself to do this because it was tasty and pretty, so I added 1/2 cup of blueberry pomegranate juice and 1 cup sugar, and reduced to make a delicious fruity syrup for waffles, pancakes, etc.)
- Combine remaining 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup water, and lemon juice in another heavy medium saucepan.
- Bring to simmer over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves.
- Add chopped orange.
- Reduce heat to low; cook until orange is very tender and rind is translucent, about 30 minutes longer.
- Mix in Campari.
- Transfer marmalade to small bowl and cool. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 week ahead. Cover and chill.
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3/4 cup cocoa nibs (about 2 1/2 to 3 ounces), finely ground in spice mill or small coffee grinder1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
3/4 cup egg whites (about 6 large)
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 cup sugar
- Preheat oven to 300°F.
- Line bottoms of two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides with parchment paper; spray parchment with nonstick spray. (I had two 9″ pans – a spring form, and a silicone one. The meringue baked in the silicone pan turned out perfect and required no parchment or nonstick spray. The one I baked in the springform pan, not so lucky. I got frustrated because I couldn’t spread the merengue onto the parchment, so I threw the parchment away since the pan is nonstick anyway. Then I ended up chipping it off of the pan and piecing it back together in the platter. I should have folded the parchment around the bottom part of the springform pan, and then fastened the wall of the springform pan around it.)
- Sift powdered sugar and cornstarch into medium bowl; whisk in ground cocoa nibs and 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt.
- Beat egg whites and cream of tartar in large bowl until thick and foamy. Adding 1 tablespoon sugar at a time, beat until stiff but not dry.
- Fold in cocoa nib mixture.
- Divide meringue between prepared pans, spreading evenly.
- Bake meringues 1 hour. Turn off heat. Keeping oven door closed, leave meringues in oven overnight to dry (meringues will deflate slightly).
Chocolate chiffon cake:
Nonstick vegetable oil spray Parchment paper!
1/2 cup sugar, divided
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1/3 cup canola oil or other vegetable oil
2 large eggs, separated
2 tablespoons water
- Preheat oven to 325 Deg F.
- Line bottom of 9-inch-diameter (actually, use an 8″ pan to account for the shinkage of the merengues) cake pan with 2-inch-high sides with parchment paper; spray parchment with nonstick spray (nonstick spray unnecessary here).
- Combine 1/4 cup sugar and next 5 ingredients (all of the dry ingredients) in medium bowl; whisk to blend.
- Whisk 1/3 cup oil, egg yolks, and 2 tablespoons water in large bowl to blend. Stir in dry ingredients.
- Beat egg whites in another medium bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar, beating until stiff but not dry.
- Fold whites into yolk mixture.
- Transfer batter to prepared pan.
- Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool in pan 15 minutes. Turn cake out onto rack; cool completely; peel off parchment before assembly.
- DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Wrap in foil; store at room temperature.
Mascarpone whipped cream:
1 1/4 cups chilled heavy whipping cream
1 8-ounce container mascarpone cheese
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Combine all ingredients in large bowl.
- Beat just until mixture holds soft peaks (do not overbeat or mixture will curdle).
- Cover and chill at least 1 hour and up to 2 hours.
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
Place chocolate in large microwave-safe bowl. Combine heavy whipping cream, 3 tablespoons water, unsweetened cocoa powder, and light corn syrup in heavy medium saucepan. Whisk over medium heat until blended and just beginning to boil. Pour mixture over chopped chocolate; let stand 1 minute, then stir until smooth. Whisk in butter. Let glaze stand until thick enough to spread, 15 to 20 minutes.
THIS GLAZE SUCKED!!! I followed the directions EXACTLY (which we all know is unusual for me), and it separated. I had to throw it out, which was sad because there were good ingredients in there. Do NOT make this glaze. Make the following modified ganache from the double layer chocolate cake I made on Friday, which turns out silky smooth and beautiful and delicious every time:
1 pound fine-quality semisweet bittersweet chocolate such as Callebaut
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup (I was wondering if agave nectar might work, but didn’t want to screw up on and have to throw away another batch of ganache so I didn’t try it)
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
- Finely chop chocolate.
- In a 1 1/2- to 2-quart saucepan bring cream, sugar, and corn syrup to a boil over moderately low heat, whisking until sugar is dissolved.
- Remove pan from heat and add chocolate, whisking until chocolate is melted.
- Cut butter into pieces and add to frosting, whisking until smooth.
- Transfer frosting to a bowl and cool, stirring occasionally, until spreadable (depending on chocolate used, it may be necessary to chill frosting to spreadable consistency – I used Scharffenberger and it became spreadable just fine at room temp – took about an hour or so)
- Place 1 meringue on platter, flat side down; spread 1/2 cup glaze over.
- Refrigerate until chocolate is firmly set, about 30 minutes.
- Spread half of mascarpone cream (about 1 1/2 cups) over chilled chocolate.
- Refrigerate 10 minutes.
- Place cake layer on work surface; spread with 1/2 cup (a bit more would be better here) marmalade, then remaining mascarpone cream.
- Carefully place cake layer atop meringue on platter.
- Top assembled cake with second meringue, flat side up.
- Spread 1/3 of glaze over top and sides of cake in thin even layer.
- Refrigerate until coating sets, about 30 minutes.
- Heat remaining glaze in microwave just until pourable but not hot, 5 to 10 seconds. Carefully pour glaze over cake, spreading to coat evenly. Chill cake until glaze sets, at least 1 hour. DO AHEAD: Cake can be made 3 days ahead. Cover with cake dome and keep refrigerated.
- Cut cold cake into wedges. Serve with blood orange segments.
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