Hazelnut dacquoise

The instructions say: “Preparation time: over 2 hours.” They weren’t kidding! “Two nights of hard labour” perhaps wouldn’t make for such an appealing prospect for most people. This GBBO challenge is starting to feel like a bit of a millstone. Thank goodness I only have 2 more weeks to go! However, I don’t think I am going to get off too lightly in the Semi or the Final.

This week was “Free From” bakes which kind of resulted in a lot of bakes which didn’t sound all that appealing to me. I’m all for the “make do and mend” spirit of the war when Mr Carrot was used as a substitute for sugar, but really, a butternut squash cake? The standard is now frighteningly high and I was quaking in terror at the prospect of making a toadstool cake or guitar cake. I genuinely thought that all the efforts looked fantastic, but Mary and Paul seemed rather harsh at times with the feedback. Thank goodness I have a less critical taste crew!

The hazelnut dacquoise is a flour free bake and I started last night by making the “dacquoise” – 3 layers of hazelnut meringue. Fortunately this week I was able to get blanched hazelnuts so didn’t need to make my own. I also got to use my GBBO required food processor to grind my hazelnuts. I was rather impressed by the efficiency of this appliance!

Today was coffee custard making, chocolate ganache making and hazelnut praline making. I could not get any coffee essence so just used a spoon of instant coffee and it seemed to do the trick for the coffee custard. The hazelnut praline making was a bit of a revelation for me, a very burny revelation, as it involves handling very hot sugar.

The assembly of the cake was one of the more challenging aspects of this cake and I realised that the lack of uniformity of my 3 meringues affected the structure slightly. The coffee custard is sandwiched between each meringue and chopped hazelnuts pressed into the side. The chocolate ganache is piped on and then topped with the hazelnut praline and then, voila!

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Definitely not a piece of cake to make, but it certainly fits the showstopper category. I think it has been enough to see me through to the Semi-Final next week. 🙂


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