Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Hazelnut-Praline Dacquoise

F*ck the raw challenge, man.  I stopped after two days because, to put it mildly, my body was not in the best state.  First day I was hungry, second day I was exhausted and my stomach was upset, and on the third day I felt like I had caught a cold. I'm still feelin ill now -- queasy stomach, raspy voice and dizziness.  F*ck the raw challenge, man.  

I'm slowly easing back to normal foods, I'm blanching my vegetables and cooking my oatmeal now.  That warm bowl of oatmeal for breakfast made me all warm and fuzzy inside -- just like the feeling of falling in love.

So two days ago I was not productive mentally and thus I decided to take my time and make a dessert.  It's quite a cumbersome dessert, not difficult, just takes a bit of time but it is so.good.  One of my friends said it's the best thing I've made.  Well, what can I say, it's just another recipe from Christophe Felder's Patisserie. 

The cake took awhile... And I did encounter some challenges, namely that of my broken hand mixer, which definitely made my life more difficult when it came to whipping egg whites.

This is essentially just two layers of dacquoise with a buttercream center.   I got lazy with the buttercream. I was meant to make an Italian meringue with heated sugar and blah blah..  I don't think it affected it that much.  I also had trouble cutting it into slices without it cracking and falling apart, I suppose I should've left it in the fridge to firm up longer...But I did manage to get a good enough slice to take a photo of.
The cake came at a price though.  I should've rested and I shouldn't have had a slice of that cake after days of just raw fruits and vegetables.  I used to pride myself in my strong immune system but now I'm in bed and I sound like a dying 10-year-old girl. 

But hey, small price to pay for this amazing cake.

Recipe from Patisserie 
Hazelnut Praline
160g chopped hazelnuts
90g sugar
2 tbsp water

Almond-Hazelnut Dacquoise
165g ground almonds
160g hazelnuts
320g egg whites (about 11)
315g sugar

Hazelnut-Praline Buttercream
75g hazelnut praline paste reserved from the hazelnut pralines
90g sugar
50g egg whites
4 egg yolks
180g sugar
270g butter


Preheat the oven to 170C/350F.

Spread the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes, until lightly toasted.  Leave the oven on.

Cook the sugar and the water in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until temperature registers 118C/244F.

Stir in the toasted hazelnuts.  The sugar will crystallize slightly.  Continue cooking over low heat, stirring constantly, until the nuts are coated in caramel.  Return to the baking sheet and let cool.  Crush with a pestle or rolling pin.

Grind 75g of the crushed hazelnut praline to a paste and reserve for the hazelnut-praline buttercream. 

Almond-Hazelnut Dacquoise

Finely grind the fround almonds and hazelnuts in a food processor.

Pour the ground nuts into a bowl.

Whip the egg whites with a little sugar until soft peaks form.  Then add the remaining sugar and whip until firm and glossy. 

Fently fold in the ground nuts until smooth.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Spread the batter in a layer with a thin spatula on each baking sheet.

Bake 1 sheet at a time for 15-20 minutes, until lightly browned, rotate the sheet halfway through baking.

Transfer the dacquoise to a rack and let cool

Beat the egg whites with a pinch of sugar until soft peaks form, then add in the rest of the sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.

Beat the egg yolks with the sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  Beat in the butter.  When well combined, fold in the egg whites and the pralines. 

Place a square/rectangular cake ring on one dacquoise.  Cut off the excess and repeat twith the second dacquoise, leave the ring on this time. 

Spread the buttercream over the dacquoise in the ring and smooth it with a thin spatula.  Sprinkle with the caramelized hazelnuts, reserving some for garnish. 

Place the second dacquoise on top and remove the ring.

Sift the top of the cake with icing sugar and then chill the cake in the fridge until the buttercream sets, at least an hour. 

Cut into slices with a fine serrated knife and sprinkle with reserved caramelized hazelnuts before serving. 

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