Mocha dacquoise is my favorite dessert, that once upon a time was a frequent indulgence at Nancy Shephard’s Café Metro. Pastry chef Gina would prepare one for my good friend Philip and me that we would sometimes share with other patrons. Nancy retired and sadly the restaurant closed. My mocha dacquoise was poised to disappear with it until Gina came to the rescue. She invited me to her kitchen and taught me how to make it.
Thanks again Gina!
What is a Mocha Dacquoise?
This is a French pastry named for the town of Dax, made with toasted almond meringue crusts. The crust is lined with a wall of mocha chocolate buttercream and filled with infused chantilly cream. Dust it with powdered sugar, decorate with more buttercream and get ready for something special. Yes, it’s sweet. Yes, it’s chocolatey, and yes it’s so very, very good! The gentleman below, experiencing the rapture of his first dacquoise says it all.
Making the Mocha Dacquoise
Begin making the meringue crusts by toasting and coarsely grinding the almonds.
Step 1 – Meringue Crusts
Toasted Almond Meringue Crust
- Prep Time: 30
- Cook Time: 150
- Total Time: 3 hours
- Yield: 4 1x
- 6 egg whites
- 1–1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- 1 cup almond slivers – toasted and ground
- Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and draw (2) 9″-10″ circles on each piece of parchment
- Preheat oven to 225
- Beat egg whites on high until foamy, then add the salt, cream of tartar and vanilla extract, and beat until soft peaks form
- Gradually add the sugar while beating until stiff peaks form, about 8-10 minutes
- Stop beating and gently fold in the toasted, ground almonds
- Pipe the meringue onto the parchment in a circular fashion with a pastry bag and smooth with a cake icing spatula to make the round crusts with even thickness
- Bake for 2-1/2 hours and leave in the oven to completely cool. Do NOT open the oven door until ready to use because the meringue will quickly absorb any moisture in the air. You want them to remain crisp.
- Don’t make them too thin or they will crack and break
- Don’t make them too thick or they will be soft instead of crisp
- Divide the meringue evenly between 4 crusts and they will be fine
- I usually make the crusts the evening before and leave them in the oven overnight. It speeds the finishing process for the dessert.
Make the mocha buttercream first. Make the chantilly cream immediately before assembly of the dacquoise.Print
Step 2 – Mocha Buttercream
Chocolate Coffee Buttercream
- Prep Time: 20
- Cook Time: 15
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Yield: 3 cups 1x
- 3 TBL hot espresso coffee
- 2 tsp strong instant coffee
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate – finely chopped
- 2 sticks unsalted butter – softened to room temp
- 3 egg yolks
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- Dissolve the instant coffee into the espresso – completely
- Pour the coffee mix over the chocolate in a glass bowl and heat in the microwave about 30 seconds and mix with a spatula until you have a smooth mixture
- Transfer to a mixing bowl and allow it to cool until it’s just slightly warm, but not solidified
- Mix with a paddle attachment on low speed, adding 2 tablespoons of softened butter at a time, then add the egg yolks and after they are integrated, add the powdered sugar
- Mix until you have a smooth mixture and stop. Do not overmix
- Fill a piping bag with a medium star tip and chill in the refrigerator while you make the Chantilly cream filling.
Make this when ready to make the chantilly cream filling and finish the Dacquoise. If it sets in the fridge too long it will set up too hard to pipe.
Step 3 – Chantilly Cream Filling
A delicious rum infused, almond flavored whipped cream filling
- Prep Time: 20
- Cook Time: 20
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 4-5 cups 1x
- 1 qt heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 TBL dark rum
- 1/3 cup chopped toasted almonds
- Chop and toast the almond slivers in a non-stick skillet on low medium heat, stirring with a spatula until the edges just begin to turn golden. Remove and set aside
- Use your frozen mixing bowl and paddle to whip the cream on high speed until soft peaks form
- Slowly add the sugar and then the rum
- Whip until you have stiff peaks
- Gently fold in the almonds with a spatula and refrigerate until ready to use
Freeze your mixing bowl and paddle attachment overnight for the best whipping results
Mocha Dacquoise – Final Assembly
When ready to assemble, the crusts are baked and cooled and the buttercream is in a piping bag and chilled. The Chantilly filling is resting in the fridge waiting to be spooned into the center. Have a shaker of powdered sugar handy and get started.
Feel free to decorate the dacquoise as artfully or utilitarian as you wish. I am not a skilled cake decorator, so it is likely yours will look much better than mine. Gina’s was absolutely gorgeous, but you can’t teach a steady hand or better eyesight. You have it or you don’t.
I will guarantee that regardless how it looks, it will taste divine.Print
Mocha Dacquoise – Assembly
Finishing the Dacquoise
- Prep Time: 15
- Cook Time: 15
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 1-2
- Meringue crusts
- Chocolate mocha buttercream
- Chantilly cream filling
- Powdered sugar
- Remove a crust from the oven, gently dislodge it from the parchment paper with an icing spatula and transfer onto a cake dish. Be careful, they are fragile
- Pipe the buttercream around the outer edge of the crust
- Spoon-fill the center with Chantilly whipped cream to the top edge of the mocha buttercream and smooth with the icing spatula
- Carefully place the second crust on top. Do not press and use the crust to level the filling! They are fragile.
- Repeat steps 2,3 and 4 if making a double layer dacquoise (optional)
- Dust with powdered sugar
- Decorate with more chocolate mocha buttercream
This recipe will make (2) single layer dacquoise, or (1) double layer dacquoise using (3) crusts.