Monday, June 19, 2006
Distracted By Strawberries
June 18, 2006
Occasion: Fresh Strawberries About To Go Bad
Name of cake: Strawberry Dacquoise Tart
Constituents: three almond dacquoise discs, sliced super ripe (ie almost bad) fresh strawberries, white chocolate “sauce”
The strawberries were super ripe. Like, going to go bad, super ripe. I had to do something with them.
I thought about the bar of white chocolate I had brought upstairs to munch on with tea.
I thought of the dacquoise dessert my roommate and I almost had last night. And I thought of Pavlovas, and the fresh berry meringue tart recipe I had discovered lurking in The Book.
And so I dug out my frozen egg white stash and started to defrost them. I sliced up the super juicy, sweet strawberries and set them aside in a bowl. I pulled out The Book and searched for ideas.
For the dacquoise, I used the almond meal you can buy at Trader Joe’s and toasted it over the stove in a pan.
I ignored RLB’s warnings about using superfine sugar to get nice and light dacquoise and used baker’s sugar instead.
I left the egg whites in the pan too long and they began to cook. I strained out the cooked chunks and separated another egg to get the proper weight. Leave it to me to mess up a recipe somehow, no matter how easy it might be.
I piped out the dacquoise discs, plus a bunch of extra pieces, and put them into the oven to bake.
I watched a little “Pride and Prejudice” (the BBC version with Colin Firth—mmm) and pulled the dacquoise about an hour or so later.
I melted the white chocolate bar in a double boiler with the last of our heavy cream (maybe ¼ cup at most) and a couple of tbsp of half and half.
I didn’t wait until the dacquoise were fully dried before assembling dessert. One layer dacquoise, a bunch of berries, and a pour of white chocolate sauce. Three stories high.
Got excited about the thing, and then drowned it in the rest of the chocolate sauce.
Took a lot of pictures of the thing and ate a piece or two with my roommate. She says, "its like strawberry shortcake but better." The dacquoise got all soft from the white chocolate, but there's still a crunch because of the nuts. Also, the savory toasted nuts balance out the sweet of the chocolate. The strawberries are the star ingredient here, all ripe and juicy and bright and summery. There's a bit too much white chocolate, but its not too sweet either. It is kind of like an upscale strawberry shortcake.
We watched Mr. Darcy propose to Miss Bennett and get thoroughly rejected, and yelled at to boot. If Mr. Darcy were eating this thing at that moment, he might not have minded so much when she called him arrogant and told him of his selfish disdain for the feelings of others. He might have replied (mouth full), "yes, but pray tell me, who makes such a delightful dessert? Miss Bennett, have you tried this thing? It is most satisfying. Oh, were you saying something? Forgive me, I was distracted by the strawberries."