Chocolate Mascarpone Dacquoise
The Belmont Inn on the coast of Maine boasts 99 windows to let in the light, and an easy walk into town for shopping and harbor watching. It also boasts wonderful food. Former innkeeper Jerry Clare made this lovely dacquoise, a cake made of meringue layers. It is similar to tiramisu, adding hazelnuts to the wonderful mixture of chocolate, coffee, and mascarpone. The most difficult step is cutting the finished dacquoise: the chef suggests an electric knife or a serrated knife, cleaned between each cut. You’ll want to keep the cutting pressure light to avoid flattening the meringues and filling.
- Superfine sugar - 1-1/4 cups
- Cornstarch - 2 tablespoons
- Unsweetened Dutch process cocoa - 2 tablespoons
- Hazelnuts - 1 cup, toasted and ground (skins removed)
- Egg Whites - 6, (3/4 cup) at room temperature
- Cream of Tartar - 1/4 teaspoon
- Salt - 1/2 teaspoon
- Vanilla Extract - 1 teaspoon
- Mascarpone Filling
- Bittersweet Chocolate - 6 ounces, chopped
- Instant Espresso Powder - 1 tablespoon
- Strong Brewed Coffee - 1/3 cup
- Unsalted Butter - 1 cup (2 sticks), at room temperature
- Egg Yolks - 3
- Vanilla Extract - 1 teaspoon
- Mascarpone Cheese - 2 cups
- Confectioner’s sugar for dusting
- Cocoa powder for dusting
- Crème Anglaise - 1-1/2 cups
- Raspberry Puree - 1 cup
- Fresh Raspberries - 1/2 pint
To make the dacquoise: Preheat the oven to 250 F. Line three 12-by-15-inch baking sheets with parchment paper. Draw a 10-inch circle on each, then lightly butter and flour the parchment.
Set aside 1/4 cup of the sugar. Sift together the remaining sugar, cornstarch, and cocoa. Stir in the ground hazelnuts. Beat the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer until they are just broken up. Beat in the cream of tartar and salt, then beat at high speed, slowly adding the reserved 1/4 cup of sugar, until the whites stand in stiff peaks. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the whites, about three tablespoons at a time. Fold in the vanilla. Spread with a spatula on the drawn circles, smoothing and flattening the discs. Bake for 1 hour. Cool completely on wire racks.
To prepare the filling: Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler over barely simmering water and stir in the coffee and espresso powder. Set aside to cool. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter until creamy, then beat in the egg yolks, one at a time. Beat in the chocolate mixture and the vanilla, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add the mascarpone and beat just until mixed; overbeating can cause the cheese to separate. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
To assemble: Place one meringue disc on a large dessert serving plate, bottom (smooth) side up. Cover with half of the filling. Top with the second disc, bottom side up, and again cover with half of the filling. Top with the remaining disc, top side up. Dust the top with confectioner’s sugar and cocoa powder.
To serve: Pool each individual dessert plate with crème anglaise. Put the raspberry puree in a squeeze bottle and draw a large spiral in the crème anglaise. Using the tip of a sharp knife or a toothpick, draw a series of radial lines from the center of the spiral outward, creating a spider web. Cut the dacquoise into six or eight slices with an electric knife or a serrated knife wiped with warm water between each cut. Place a slice on each decorated plate. Scatter a few raspberries on the plates.