Provence: Orange Pistachio Dacquoise
A dacquoise is a dessert cake made with layers of nut meringue and whipped cream. It takes its name from the feminine form of the French word dacquois, meaning 'of Dax', a town in southwestern France. It is usually served chilled and accompanied by fruit.
- 250gr shelled pistachios plus 50gr coarsely chopped for garnish at the end.
- (I have also had success using walnuts as an alternative.)
- 300gr caster sugar
- 25gr corn flour
- 6 large egg whites at room temperature
- Pinch of salt
- 200gr sugar
- 1 ½ tsp corn flour
- 1 tblsp finely grated orange zest
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 180gr freshly squeezed orange juice
- 80gr thickened cream
- 8 large egg yolks (at room temperature)
- 380gr butter- not too cold
- Preheat oven to 120 degrees.
- Line a large baking tray with baking paper and draw 4 rectangles (24cm x 10cm) to use this as your guide for meringue shapes. Depending on your oven size, you may need to use 2 trays and swap them over half way through the cooking of the meringues.
- Put the pistachios and 100gr of the caster sugar sugar into food processor and finely chop the nuts. Gently combine the corn flour into the nut mixture and set aside.
- Combine egg whites with salt and whisk on medium speed for 2 minutes, till white and frothy. Increase the speed and gradually add the remaining 200 gr of caster sugar. After about 8 minutes, soft peaks will form. Turn off the mixer, and using a spatula, gently fold the pistachio mixture into the meringue.
- Put the meringue into a piping bag (or plastic bag with the corner cut out) and pipe the outline of the rectangles drawn on the baking paper. Fill the rectangles till all the gaps are filled. Place in the oven and bake for an hour. Turn off the oven and allow the meringues to completely cool off in the oven with the door left open.
- In a bowl, whisk the sugar, zest, corn flour and salt till blended. Add the juice, yolks and cream and whisk till smooth.
- Melt 80gr of the butter in a saucepan and remove from heat. Add the orange juice mixture and return to medium heat to cook. Stir constantly until mixture thickens and begins to boil.
- Using a silicone spatula, press the mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl and have the finished temperature of the curd at about 32 degrees.
- Cut the remaining butter (300gr) into thin slices.
- Transfer the curd to a mixer with a paddle attachment and add the slices of butter slowly till the mixture is smooth. This will take about 3 minutes.
Assembling the Cake
- On a flat platter, spread a heaped tblsp of the filling.
- Place a meringue layer on top and then with an offset spatula, spread with filling.
- Repeat with the remaining layers and have a layer of filling on the top to be garnished with roughly chopped pistachios and chocolate flakes.