Raspberry Dacquoise Entremets Recipe

It all started with a store-bought dessert that we tasted at a friend’s house late last summer, which consisted in a light vanilla mousse garnished with raspberries and sandwiched between two layers of a thin, crisp, and lightly chewy almond cake. Everybody loved it, and I thought, hey, I think I could make something like that, too.

You see, years and years ago, at a Demarle homesale hosted by my friend Pascale, I acquired a silicon sheet pan and a rectangular pastry ring that formed a nifty kit to make exactly that sort of dessert, usually referred to as un entremets.

It was perhaps a little risky to experiment on the Christmas lunch crowd, but I have a very forgiving family.

Of course, the embarrassing question is, how many times did I use this kit in the first 4 1/2 years it was in my possession? And yes, you’ve guessed it: exactly zero. It’s hard to explain why — I’m sure you have a million examples of your own — but I always felt sure that it would one day come in handy.

And indeed, it did: when my mother and I discussed the Christmas lunch menu and I offered to bring dessert, it is the afore-mentioned raspberry entremets that popped in my mind — only I would be making it myself. Considering I had never made anything of the sort and my oven is a dysfunctional imp, it was perhaps a little risky to experiment on such an occasion, but I have a very forgiving family and I knew that, if things went horribly wrong, I wouldn’t be teased about it for much more than seven or eight years.

After some research, I decided that the easiest would be to have the cake component be a dacquoise, a classic preparation of beaten egg whites and ground almonds and/or hazelnuts, often used in such entremets to produce a light and chewy consistency. The mousse would be two-thirds lightly sweetened fromage blanc (a sort of thick yogurt) to one-third whipped cream, and the raspberries would be, it being December and all, frozen.

Raspberry Dacquoise

And to make the dessert unequivocally Christmassy without the aid of meringue mushrooms or plastic dwarves, I would dust the top of the entremets with confectioner’s sugar over a Christmas tree stencil drawn on light cardboard. Crafty, I know.

So I got to work, baking the dacquoise the day before and assembling the entremets on the morning of, my hands trembling a bit, but things went along surprisingly smoothly; I even breathed freely enough to hum every now and then. The bonus challenge was to bring the entremets to my parents’ without wrecking it, so I improvized a (classy) cake carrier out of a pizza box, and well, it got the job done.

Things went along surprisingly smoothly; I even breathed freely enough to hum every now and then.

After we took a break to exchange gifts — our nine-months-old nephew falling head over heels for the pink cow puppet we had gotten him — it was finally time for me to bring the raspberry dacquoise to the table.

To say that it was well received would be something of an understatement. My family is ordinarily very appreciative of what I make — I was kidding a few paragraphs earlier –, but I don’t recall ever eliciting such enthusiastic praise, which I was quick to divert, before my cheeks turned the color of raspberries, towards the original dessert and the equipment I’d used.

To be honest, I, too, was impressed with the result, especially in light of its relative ease of preparation, and I decided to bake an encore for the New Year’s Eve party we were throwing a few days later; it seemed wise to make it again while the process was fresh in my mind and hands.

The second one, decorated this time with a star, turned out even better than the first — except for a slight mishap with my maddening oven, which browned one edge of the dacquoise a little darker than I asked — and it made an equally gratifying impression on those who ate it, some time after midnight on the first morning of 2009.

Raspberry Dacquoise

Raspberry Dacquoise Entremets Recipe

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 4 hours

Serves 10 to 12.

Raspberry Dacquoise Entremets Recipe

Ingredients

    For the dacquoise
  • 50 grams (1/2 cup) finely ground hazelnuts (see note)
  • 50 grams (1/2 cup) almond flour (= almond meal or finely ground almonds)
  • 100 grams (3/4 cup) confectioner's sugar
  • 4 egg whites (120 grams or 4 1/2 ounces total)
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 30 grams (2 1/2 tablespoons) sugar (I use blond raw sugar)
  • For the filling
  • 400 ml (1 2/3 cup) fromage blanc, or Greek-style yogurt, or quark
  • 25 grams (2 tablespoons) sugar (I use blond raw sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract
  • 4 sheets gelatin (7.5 grams or 1/4 ounce total, see note)
  • 200 ml (3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon) whipping cream
  • 300 grams (2 1/3 cups) raspberries (if frozen, don't thaw them)
  • For finish
  • Confectioner's sugar
  • A stencil shape drawn on and cut out from light cardboard (a star, a snowflake, a flower, a heart, a Christmas tree, you get the idea)

Instructions

    1. The day before, prepare the dacquoise.
  1. Preheat the oven to 180° C (350° F) and line a quarter-size sheet pan with parchment paper. I use a flexipat silicon sheet pan that's 24.5 x 34.5 cm (9 2/3 by 13 1/2 inches) and is 1-cm (3/8-inch) deep; it doesn't need lining.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the ground hazelnuts and almond flour with the confectioner's sugar.
  3. In another, spotless and grease-free bowl, put the egg whites and the pinch of salt. Using an electric whisk, beat the egg whites, at moderate speed first, then faster, until they form soft peaks. Add the 30 grams sugar and whisk for a few seconds more, until the egg whites are glossy.
  4. Stir a third of the egg whites into the hazelnut mixture to loosen it. Add another third of the egg whites and fold it into the mixture, working gently with a spatula to avoid deflating the egg whites. Repeat with the remaining egg whites.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared sheet pan, level the surface with the spatula, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the surface is dry to the touch and golden. Let cool completely in the pan. Cover with a clean dishcloth and keep somewhere cool and dry.
  6. (If you used the silicon sheet pan, flip it cautiously onto the dishcloth and gently peel the silicon pan back from the dacquoise, starting from the corners. Place a sheet of parchment paper onto the dacquoise, flip the dacquoise again onto a rack or a tray, and cover with the dishcloth.)
  7. 2. The next day, prepare the filling.
  8. Place the fromage blanc in a fine-mesh sieve to drain in the fridge for an hour. Place a medium mixing bowl and the whisk of your electric whisk in the fridge as well.
  9. In the meantime, cut the dacquoise into two equal rectangles so they'll fit into a 24 x 17 cm (9 1/2 by 6 2/3 inch) rectangular pastry ring, or the ring/pan of your choice. You'll note that the dacquoise is dry to the touch on one side (the side that was exposed to air during the baking) and slightly sticky on the other (the side that was touching the pan during the baking).
  10. Place one of the dacquoise rectangles, sticky side up, on a piece of parchment paper that's larger by at least 7 cm (3 inches) on all sides, placed on a cutting board or serving dish. Adjust the pastry ring over the dacquoise rectangle, cut out squares in each corner outside the ring so the parchment paper will form the shape of a cross, and slip the flaps inside the ring to line the sides neatly. Set aside. (Instead of parchment paper, some people also line the sides of their pastry rings with a clear plastic named rhodoid, but I am weary of letting PVC touch my food, so I don't use it.)
  11. Raspberry Dacquoise
  12. Once the fromage blanc is thickened, place it in a medium mixing bowl and beat it with the sugar and vanilla.
  13. Put the sheet gelatin in a bowl of cold water to soften. Set 1 tablespoon whipping cream aside in a small saucepan.
  14. Take the mixing bowl and the whisk that you'd set in the fridge to cool, and use them to whip the remaining cream until stiff.
  15. Heat the reserved tablespoon of cream over gentle heat. When it is just under a simmer, remove it from heat. Squeeze the sheet gelatin in your hands to drain, add to the cream, and stir to dissolve. Pour into the fromage blanc mixture and whisk to incorporate.
  16. Fold the whipped cream into the fromage blanc.
  17. 3. Assemble the entremets.
  18. Pour a generous third of the filling into the prepared pastry ring, making sure you fill the corners well.
  19. Top with the raspberries: align them harmoniously all around and up against the sides of the ring first, so they'll be visible when the entremets is unmolded; arrange the others in a single layer in the middle.
  20. Top with the rest of the fromage blanc mixture, again making sure to fill the corners. Level the surface with a spatula.
  21. Top with the second dacquoise rectangle, sticky side down, and press gently so it adheres well.
  22. Raspberry Dacquoise
  23. Place in the refrigerator to set for at least 3 hours, ideally 6 to 8, and no more than 10 (after that, the dacquoise will begin to turn soggy).
  24. Thirty minutes before serving, remove the entremets from the fridge and slide it onto a serving dish. Lift the ring to remove it. Peel the flaps of parchment paper delicately from the sides, cut them off with the tip of a sharp knife, and discard.
  25. Place the stencil on top of the cake, dust with confectioner's sugar through a fine-mesh sieve, and remove the stencil. Serve 30 minutes after removing from the fridge.

Notes

  • The recipe below seems long, but that's only because I've described the different steps in some detail; none of them require particularly elaborate skills (I should know).
  • I created the recipe for the specific equipment I have (quarter-size sheet pan and eighth-size rectangular pastry ring). Finding similar tools may require a trip to a professional pastry supply store; short of that, you can use other pans and rings, but the recipe may need adjustment or scaling.
  • If you're unable to find ground hazelnuts, you can make your own. Combine a scant 1/2 cup (50g) hazelnuts with half of the confectioner's sugar in the bowl of a blender or mini-chopper, and process in short pulses until reduced to a fine powder.
  • Sheet gelatin is easier to use, and has a more reliable gelling effect than powdered gelatin, so this is what I recommend. Outside of France, where it is available in any supermaket, it can be found at baking supplies stores, or ordered online.

http://chocolateandzucchini.com/recipes/cakes-tarts/raspberry-dacquoise-entremets-recipe/

  • kim

    That looks wonderful! I actually have in my possession special confectioner sugar stencils (the size of a 25 cm round cake with lace-ish patterns) I once bought 3 years ago and, you guessed it, never used. This dessert seems like the ideal premiere for unused kitchen tools :D

  • jonquil

    oohh, pretty :)

  • http://http:danamccauley.wordpress.com Dana McCauley

    Just lovely! I can imagine it would taste delicious as well.

    Another nice way to use this concept would be to make a genoise and use all the strawberry short cake ingredients (strawberries and creme chantilly) to update that dessert.

  • http://figsandlavender.blogspot.com/ Kim

    Clotilde – I love you! Another naturally gluten free dessert!!! How exciting. I think I may attempt this at the weekend when my “mother-in law” and “Grandmother-in-law” come to stay!!!

  • http://smallkitchenbigideas.wordpress.com Sara

    That looks so beautiful! Now I just need to get my hands on a pastry ring…

  • http://www.phoo-d.com Phoo-D

    Oh Clotilde – I think this may be the most beautiful dessert you’ve shared yet! If it tastes anything like it appears, I would think it is nothing short of divine.

  • http://christelle56.over-blog.com Chrystel

    Ta dacquoise est de toute beauté. Bravo
    Chrys

  • http://theendivechronicles.com/ Erin

    So beautiful! Dacquoise are one of my favorite things to make. Lovely dessert.

  • http://labohemecherie.blogspot.com cherie

    So fresh, so light, so you!
    Did the raspberries get soggy after a few hours? I never know how to handle them. I made something similar not long ago and the raspberries got really watery an soft after a few hours. Yours looks perfect.

  • http://kitchengraffiti.blogspot.com/ margaux

    That looks absolutely stunning!
    A quick question about entremets: I looked it up in my Larousse Gastronomique (a very recent and very exciting purchase) but I’m still a little confused about the definition. Is it basically a catchall word for a dessert that doesn’t have it’s own category, like cake or mousse, or is it it’s own category, and if so, could you provide some examples? There seem to be warm ones and cold ones, and even savory ones! Any help would be appreciated!

  • Rachel

    Gorgeous! I’ve just been reading about a much more complicated dacquoise in the Alice B. Toklas Cookbook but this looks far less intimidating.

    A question, though. Could I substitute agar-agar for the gelatin, and if so, how much should I use?

  • http://www.dandysugar.com lisa from dandysugar

    I love that you wrote out all the steps in the actual order that you would complete them. Trust me, this is INCREDIBLY helpful!

    This cake looks so airy and delicious. Beautiful job.

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Cherie – I did not have a problem with the raspberries’ texture, and the fact that they were frozen to begin with most likely helped: the berries thawed gently over the first couple of hours, and by then the filling was set and cool enough to keep them in good shape.

    Margaux – Funny you should ask: like you, I haven’t been satisfied with the definitions of entremets I’ve found here and there. But when it comes to desserts at least, your idea that it is a “catchall word for a
    dessert that doesn’t have its own category” is, I think, quite accurate. They also usually involve a certain level of sophistication (i.e. several layered elements, often including some sort of a mousse), and generally require the use of silverware to eat them neatly.

    Rachel – The rule of thumb I’ve been taught is to use 2 grams (1 teaspoon) agar-agar for 500ml (~2 cups) liquid. Here, there are 600ml of filling, but the whipped cream gives it some structure too, so 2 grams should do. Do report back if you try it that way!

    Lisa – My pleasure; thanks for noticing the care I took in writing up that recipe. :)

  • http://www.palatetopen.com Jennifer

    Clotilde,
    This dessert is darling! Fantastic recipe. Thanks for sharing with us & Happy New Year :)

  • Malini

    It looks like a perfect summer dessert actually, sitting on a terrace in the sun and nibbling on this yummy concotion. Divine!

  • http://cinnamonda.blogspot.com/ Tiina

    What a lovely dessert!

  • http://www.helengraves.co.uk Helen

    What a beautiful dessert! A stunning centrepiece and I like your extra decoration on the top. I made a similar think almond cake when I attempted an opera cake – a ‘joconde’ – I’m not sure what the difference is with your cake – google will tell me I am sure! Anyway, beautiful – raspberries always get me every time :)

  • http://kitchengraffiti.blogspot.com/ margaux

    Merci pour la réponse!
    I’m feeling a little more confident about using ‘entremets’ in a sentence without sounding like a fool!

  • http://www.theitaliandish.blogspot.com The Italian Dish

    Brava! I’m drooling.

  • http://www.joiedevivreanamateurgourmetsguide.blogspot.com/ Joie de vivre

    That is just beautiful! The one time I attempted a dacquois (mine was chocolate), it tasted amazing but didn’t turn out nearly as pretty as yours.

  • http://www.gggiraffe.blogspot.com Johanna

    this look spectacular and just right for a celebration – and it sounds like you had a fun festive season – all the best for 2009

  • http://almondandthehazelnut.com Yasmin (Almond & The Hazelnut)

    It’s always a little daunting taking on a ‘big cake’ for a special occasion, with potential disasters at each corner – I myself am a sucker for it. BUT, when it does work out, what a showstopper; and yours certainly is – I love it! Reminds of a beautifully wrapped present, tied in a gorgeous red dotted bow… mmmm, would be just as good as a present for me! Congrats on your success.

  • http://studiog.greayer.com rochelle

    this is so retro lovely…I will have to try it out…

    also, a resolution of mine…I need to tell the people I enjoy why I enjoy them so much….and tell them more often
    I frequently visit your site and love it. I wanted to nominate you for the Homie awards at Apartment Therapy but technical glitches got in the way. Anyway, I talked about this at my own site today, so you can come by and check it out if you like.
    my best,
    Rochelle

  • http://www.fromsingletomarried.com Tabitha (From Single to Married)

    Wow – that is truly a work of art!

  • Sheryl

    I wonder if you could do this with a springform pan – they are much more common than pastry rings. Perhaps I’ll try it out and report back :-)

  • http://www.dritup.com Shannon

    This may just be one of those recipes/dishes that becomes an obsession of mine. The technique seems to be one that would take well with many different variations, and able to accomplish a ‘light, airy’ consistency, but could also be more dense and decadent… my Dr it Up! mind is churning the possibilities…

  • http://lisamichele.wordpress.com Lisa

    WOW, that dacquoise is beeyootiful! Definitely must try it.

    On another note, I TIVO’d every episode of ‘Gourmet Diary of a Foodie’ while I was in the hospital (long story) and just watched some of them last night. Lo and behold, there you were! Being a quiet lurker of your blog for some time now, I wasn’t surprised, but I was very impressed and excited :) WTG!

  • Diana

    Beautiful, Clotilde! Such an inspiration.

    A question: do you blanch the nuts before grinding them? I mean both for this dacquoise, and what about usually when you use almond or hazelnut meal?

    Thank you so much!

  • http://www.aspoonfulofsugar.net/wp/ Angela

    It’s gorgeous, Clotilde. I really like that you’ve used quark as the base for the filling. I’d imagine that it’s quite light and almost refreshing. Delicious!

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Diana – The almond or hazelnut powder that one buys ready-made (like I do) is ground from blanched nuts, so if you wanted to emulate this, you should blanch them. You could, however use unblanched nuts if you prefer. They would give the dacquoise a slightly more rustic flavor, and a browner color, but it should work nicely, too.

  • http://www.realepicurean.com Scott at Realepicurean

    Very impressed by the look of this! On the “one to try” list.

  • Jay

    I like making dacquoises; great recipe!

    Question: do you put a cake board under the baked/cooled dacquoise (for support) when you assemble the entremet?

    Comment: You can also pipe the dacquoise onto a template (pencil rectangles or circles and flip the parchment paper over) and fit it inside the rectangle or round.

    I don’t have rectangles, so am using rounds.

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Jay – I don’t have a cake board so I use a cutting board (as pictured), but yes, you do need something to support the entremets, otherwise it will slide right out of the rectangle (or circle) since it has no bottom. Professional supply stores sell the pieces of golden cardboard that pastry shops use, but it bothers me that they’re disposable.

    Thank you for the piping tip, and do report back if you make this!

  • http://ricocoffeeshop.blogspot.com Rico

    excellent Raspberry Dacquoise looks and sounds delicious a pleasure to imagine it’s taste…lovely ..thx for sharing

  • http://alchemistchef.blogspot.com Caitlin

    This is gorgeous! The presentation is perfect.

  • Nashie

    This post was enough to inspire me to buy a pastry ring, just so I could make something similar! And, well, step one of making my very own entremet — the dacquoise — is happily tucked away for the night, minus a thin edge strip I cut off to try.

    It is soooooo good! I’d never made dacquoise before but it was so simple to throw together, and oh man, it’s so tasty. Like eating a chewy, sweet, super yummy marshmallow/cake hybrid. I can’t wait to top it with a cream cheese mousse tomorrow, and some macerated strawberries.

  • http://deltakitchen.blogspot.com Andreas

    I made this daquoise for a friends birthday party last night and it was a big success. Everyone loved it. As has been noted above, adding the raspberries while they are still frozen is a neat trick to preserve their structure. I was actually asked, where on earth I did aquire those FRESH raspberries in January. ;)

  • http://inmybox.wordpress.com/2009/03/03/announcing-sugar-high-fridays-53-the-test-of-time/ Scrumptious

    Ah, so lovely. So refined and definitely impressive! Even if the steps were easy as you say, that gorgeous concoction clearly took a lot of work.

    I wanted to let you know that the March theme for Sugar High Fridays has been posted. The theme is The Test of Time – Desserts over a century old. I thought the theme might tickle your fancy, and I would love to see anything you might come up with!

  • Michele

    Re: the term “entremet”: From what I understand, an entremet is any dish marking the end of a course and the beginning of another — “entre” = between, but we rarely eat in formal courses, so a sweet entremet will just be after the last course (and medieval food would rarely be sweet as no one had yet to come up with the a sugar source. And we all know where that led…). The distinguishing characteristic of an entremet, whether savory or sweet, is its “cleverness” (in
    England, the equivalent is called a subtlety), and in Europe evolved from a simple palate cleanser, to a fancy food, to a show food (think a bird cooked then restuffed into its carcass) and eventually a whole pageant or play — in the middle of the meal, don’t forget. Those crazy medieval nobles…. Anyway, your dish certainly fits the definition of an entremet as a very fancy, show of a dessert!

  • http://letsgetstupid.wordpress.com/ PrincessMisia

    OMG! this looks just amazing! I’ll try to make it soon, hope it will work out!

  • Ena

    Can this cake be made without gelatine because I never use it?

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Ena – The filling does need a gelling agent of some sort (otherwise it won’t hold its shape) but you can of course experiment with alternatives, such as agar-agar. Let us know how it turns out!

  • leanne

    hello
    your recipes look delicious. i am very eager to try many of them.

    unfortunately 2 years ago i developed a nut allergy. i have been eating nuts all my life and never had a problem.

    i would love to try this recipe – is it possible to make it without any nuts?
    thanks

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      The layers of dacquoise that sandwich the filling cannot be made without nuts, but you could try using another cake or biscuit recipe to make the layers. Good luck!

  • http://stressreliefbaking.blogspot.co.uk/ Adel

    Hi there!

    First of all thank you for your wonderful blog and I am a massive fan of entremets, for their elegance and texture (I can’t say no to mousse or mousse-like fillings). Just one question though, I never seem to be able to find these cake rings(round or square)anywhere in the UK. The ones sold on amazon.co.uk are all very pricey for a student like myself, most of them costing more than 20pounds each(8inch round ring). Is that the market price or have those people marked up the prices extortionately?

    Hope to hear from you soon!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      You may have better luck seeking them out from professional bakers’ stores. Happy baking!

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