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Hazelnut Dacquoise

Author/Submitted by: Good Housekeeping magazine -- June 1996, "Essie" Ethel R. Snyder <essie49@juno.com>
Servings: 12
Categories: Cakes / Chocolate / Desserts

Ingredients:
1  cup  hazelnuts, (filberts)
2  tablespoons  cornstarch
1 1/2  cups  confectioner's sugar, plus 4 tablespoons
6  large  eggs
1/2  teaspoon  cream of tartar
3  cups  heavy whipping cream
1  teaspoon  vanilla extract
3  squares  semisweet chocolate, melted and slightly warm
1  tablespoon  instant espresso-coffee powder
    Chocolate curls, for garnish, see recipe below

** CHOCOLATE CURLS **
6  squares  semisweet chocolate
1/2  teaspoon  shortening

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375. Place hazelnuts in 9 x 9 metal baking pan. Bake 10 to 15 minutes until lightly toasted. Remove nuts from oven; turn oven control to 350. To remove skins, wrap hot hazelnuts in clean cloth towel. With hands roll hazelnuts back ad forth until skins come off. Cool nuts completely.

2. Meanwhile, line 2 large cookie sheets with foil. Using 8-inch round cake pan or plate as a guide, with toothpick, outline 4 circles on foil (2 on each cookie sheet).

3. In food processor with knife blade attached, or in blender at medium speed, blend hazelnuts, cornstarch and 3/4 cup confectioners sugar until hazelnuts are finely ground.

4. In large bowl, with mixer at high speed, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Sprinkle in 3/4 cup confectioners sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, beating well after each addition until sugar completely dissolves and whites stand in stiff, glossy peaks.

5. With rubber spatula, carefully fold hazelnut mixture into egg-white mixture. Spoon one-fourth of meringue mixture (about 1 1/4 cups) inside each circle on cookie sheets. With metal spatula, evenly spread meringue to fill in circles.

6. Bake meringue layers 45 minutes. Turn off oven; leave meringue in oven 1 hour to dry.

7. Cool meringues on cookie sheets on wire racks 10 minutes. Carefully peel foil from meringue layers and cool completely. Store in airtight container at room temperature until ready to assemble (up to 1 week).

8. In small bowl, with mixer at medium speed, beat 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, 1 tablespoons confectioners sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla just until soft peaks form (do not over beat). With rubber spatula, fold half of cream mixture into slightly warm melted chocolate (If chocolate is cool, it will not be smoothly incorprated into cream) just until combined. Then, fold in remaining whipped cream. Reserve 1/4 cup chocolate cream.

9. Wash and dry mixing bowl and beaters. In cup, dissolve espresso powder in 2 tablespoons heavy cream, set aside. In small bowl, with mixer and high speed, beat remaining cream and remaining confectioners sugar until soft peaks form. Fold in expresso mixture and beat until stiff peaks form.

10. On platter, place 1 meringue layer; spread with half of chocolate cream. Repeat with remaining meringue layer and half of coffee cream. Repeat with remaining meringue layers and cream fillings, ending with coffee cream. Refrigerate dacquoise at least 5 hours or overnight to soften layers slightly.

11. Meanwhile, if you like, make Chocolate Curls for garnish (see recipe below).

12. To serve, arrange chocolate curls on top of dacquoise. Makes 12 servings.

13. CHOCOLATE CURLS: In small glass bowl, combine chocolate and shortening. In microwave, cook uncovered, on MEDIUM (50%) for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes just until soft and shiny; stir until smooth. (Or, in heavy small saucepan, heat chocolate and shortening over low heat until melted and smooth, stirring frequently). Pour melted chocolate mixture into foil-lined or disposable 4 1/2 by 2 1/2 inch mini loaf pan. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. Remove chocolate block from pan; peel off foil. Let stand at room temperature about 30 minutes until soft enough to form curls. Draw blade of vegetable peeler along surface of chocolate to make enough curls to garnish top of cake. Transfer curls to jelly-roll pan and refrigerate until ready to use. Wrap and refrigerate remaining chocolate block up to 1 month to make curls another day. (Let stand at room temperature before making curls).


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