Recipes·Showstopper

Pistachio and Caramel Dacquoise Cookies

The classic French dessert gets a makeover in this delicate cookie recipe.

The classic French dessert gets a makeover in this delicate cookie recipe

(Geoff George / The Great Canadian Baking Show)

A traditional dacquoise cake consists of a biscuit base, buttercream and layers of crisp yet chewy dacquoise, a meringue that’s typically flavoured with almonds and hazelnuts.

This elegant cookie recipe takes inspiration from the French dessert, scaling it down into individual, (almost) bite-sized servings that combine pistachio-flavoured dacquoise, caramel French buttercream and a decorative square of chocolate.

Steve’s Pistachio and Caramel Dacquoise Cookies were part of his Showstopper for Patisserie Week in the Season 5 semi-finals of The Great Canadian Baking Show.

Pistachio and Caramel Dacquoise Cookies

By Steve Levitt

Ingredients

Dacquoise Cookies:

  • 4 egg whites
  • ¾ cup (149 g) granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 tsp meringue powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ¾ cup (90 g) finely ground pistachios
  • 2 tbsp (14 g) cornstarch
  • Icing sugar for dusting

Caramel Sauce:

  • ⅔ cup (132 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • ⅓ cup 35% cream, slightly warmed
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp (29 g) unsalted butter
  • ½ tsp vanilla

Caramel French Buttercream:

  • 5 egg yolks
  • ½ cup (99 g) granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1 cup (227 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup (150 g) caramel sauce (see above)

Garnish:

  • 1 cup (160 g) dark chocolate callets
  • 32 whole roasted pistachios

Preparation

Dacquoise Cookies:
Heat the oven to 320 F. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.

Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and beat on medium until foamy.  

Whisk together ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons of the sugar and the meringue powder in a small bowl. With the mixer on medium, slowly add the sugar mixture to the egg whites. Increase the speed to medium-high and whip until stiff peaks form. Add the vanilla.

Whisk together the pistachios, remaining sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Gently fold the mixture into the whipped egg whites.  

Spoon the batter into a piping bag fitted with a medium round tip. Pipe 32 2-by-1-inch oblongs onto the prepared baking sheets. Dust them with icing sugar. 

Bake the cookies until lightly golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Set them aside to cool completely on the baking sheets.

Caramel Sauce:
Add the sugar and water to a small saucepan, and bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Using a pastry brush, brush the sides of the saucepan periodically with water to avoid crystallization.  

Once the mixture turns a medium amber colour, remove the saucepan from the heat and slowly add the warmed cream while stirring, being careful to avoid splashing (the mixture will bubble rapidly and be extremely hot). Stir in the salt and butter until fully incorporated. Pour the sauce into a heatproof bowl and let it stand for a few minutes. 

Mix in the vanilla, and let the sauce cool to room temperature.

Caramel French Buttercream:
Place the egg yolks in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and beat on high until pale and thickened.  

Meanwhile, add the sugar and water to a small saucepan. Heat on medium-high until a candy thermometer reads 240 F. Remove the syrup from the heat immediately, and, with the mixer on high, very slowly and carefully drizzle it down the side of the stand mixer bowl. Continue mixing until the bowl is cool to the touch.  

Add the butter 1 tablespoon at a time until it’s fully combined and the mixture is smooth. Add in the salt, vanilla and cooled caramel sauce, and mix to combine.  

Garnish:
Temper the chocolate according to the brand specifications. 

Spread the chocolate thinly onto a 9-by-5-inch sheet of acetate. When almost set, trim the edges so they’re straight, then use a ruler to score the chocolate into 32 1-inch squares. 

Allow the chocolate to set completely.

Assembly:
Fill a piping bag fitted with a tip of your choosing with the buttercream, and pipe it onto the cookies. Gently place a chocolate square on one end of each cookie and a whole roasted pistachio on the exposed buttercream. The cookies are best served immediately but can be refrigerated for 1 to 2 days.

Makes 32 cookies

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