AMARETTO DACQUOISE

A dacquoise is a like sandwich cake, only made with nutty meringue layers. There is something gloriously serene about the pillowy meringue, and when it involves ground almonds, Amaretti biscuits, apricot jam and Amaretto liqueur, well, that’s just the food of angels 

Matt Russell 

Ingredients - serves 8 

  • 5 egg whites
  • 285g caster sugar 
  • 150g ground almonds

For the filling

  • 300ml double cream 
  • 50ml Amaretto liqueur 
  • 50g apricot jam
  • 6 Amaretti biscuits

Essential equipment

  • 2 baking sheets lined with baking paper 
  • Piping bag with a 1cm plain nozzle 

Method

Preheat the oven to 150°C fan. On each of the lined baking sheets, draw a circle of 23cm/9-inch diameter. An easy way to do this is to draw around a 23cm cake-tin base.

Place the egg whites in a metal mixing bowl, or freestanding electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment, and whisk the whites until stiff. Slowly add the sugar, a tablespoon at a time, while whisking on medium speed, until all the sugar is in and is dissolved. You can check by rubbing a little of the mixture between your fingers; if it feels gritty, it needs more beating. Turn off the mixer and fold in the ground almonds.

Fill the piping bag with the mixture. Pipe on to the first circle in a spiral – start from the centre
and spiral out until you have a large, flattish disc. Do the same with the other. Place in the warm oven, immediately turn the temperature down to 130°C and allow to dry out for 60 minutes. After 60 minutes, turn the oven off but leave the discs in there until cool, with the oven door slightly ajar. When cool, peel off the paper.

Place one disc on a large flat plate, upside down: in other words, with the side that was in contact with the paper facing up. Whip the cream to soft, floppy peaks and fold in the liqueur. Dollop this boozy cream on to the disc and spread out evenly. Beat the apricot jam with a spoon until loose, then drizzle over the cream. Crumble the Amaretti biscuits over the top, then finish with the second disc, the right way up.