I am at a loss as to where to begin. Since Ron has been home we have been trying to fit it all in . Seeing some friends, dinner out, dinners at home,repairs around the house, taxes, grocery shopping, cooking,laundry, you know too much to do not enough time to do it all before the call comes and he is gone again. Such has been the last few days. Ron bought me a gift, he is such a sweetie, or , I complained way too much when he didn't bring it home from Boston, the much desired ice cream attachment to my Kitchen Aid. So many of my foodie gals make their own ice-cream and raved about the process and end results, so naturally , I was anxious to give it a try. Little did I know that the process takes at least a good 2 -3 days. But this blog is not about the ice- cream (we made coffee)or the THERMOMIX that is next on my wish lists ... but what to do with all the egg whites that have been accumulating as a result of some custards , ice-creams and baking recipes. Originally , I was going to try my hand at some macaroons, but as I mentioned things have been a bit hectic here, so after browsing in my William and Sonoma book called Essentials of Baking, for the macaroon recipe , I came across the Almond Daquoise and thought that this recipe would go much quicker and we could have it with the coffee ice-cream that was now cooling in the freezer.
Not only did this cake recipe solve the problem of the egg whites, but I realized what a wonderful alternative for a flour -free cake, for wheat restricted diets.
In this photo I am applying the butter cream, I will give you the very best butter cream recipe at the bottom of the blog, but I did not use this recipe. Since the cake was just going to be just for us, (not company), I like to look for short cuts,as I did not have the time to make the real butter cream version. A very quick and easy way of making a butter cream is to prepare a cooked vanilla pudding ( I used the Dr. Oetker pudding because I like to control the sugar that I add into the mixture). Prepare it according to package instructions. Cool the pudding, bring 1 cup of unsalted butter to room temperature, then when the butter is soft , in my standing mixer while the butter is being beaten , I add the pudding by the spoonfuls to the butter , and voila, butter cream! When the butter cream is spread between the layers and around the caked then...
Take the almonds and one of the layers of the dacquoise , grind in the food processor and decorate the cake with the crumbs
The funny thing is that, after we made the ice cream Ron said not to make the cake as we just finished the lime tart yesterday. As a rule ,we hardly ever have dessert , certainly not after dinner during the week,so to have 2 desserts in one week is quite out of the norm for us, but I have to admit this cake is so light and delish I would recommend that you try ,it should you ever have left over egg whites in your fridge and want to try something different.After he had his dessert, Ron did say that it was light and a good idea afterall.
Looks like we'll be sending some over to the neighbours.
A lovely little slice with the coffee ice-cream I made from scratch with my new ice-cream maker. (More about the ice-cream at a later blog as I plan on making quite a few creams and sorbets over the next few months.)
1 1/3 C. plus 1/4 C. whole almonds, toasted
1 C. granulated sugar
2 tsp. corn starch
6 large egg whites at room temperature
1 tsp.vanilla extract
rich almond butter cream
confectioner sugar for dusting
Preheat oven to 300 F. toast the almonds for 10-15 minutes. When cool put 1 1/3 C. of the almonds and 1/2 cup of the sugar and the corn starch in the food processor and grind to a powder.
Take parchment paper and 2 sheet pans, draw 2 8 inch circles on the parchments for a total of 4 rings.
With your whipping attachment put the egg whites in the bowl and whip until soft peeks form. Continue beating vigorously while adding the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and vanilla until the whites are stiff and glossy. Be careful not to over whip as they can become dry and powdery.
Pour the almonds over the egg whites and with a rubber spatula fold the almonds into the stiff egg whites.Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch open tip. Staring at the center of the circle make spirals until you reach the edge of your outline. Repeat this process so that you have 3 complete circles. The last circle will be not as complete as the other 3 because you will not have much batter left . that is Ok because this layer will become your crumbs to decorate the cake. Bake for 50-60 minutes. The batter will be brown and golden cool on racks and remove the paper. They will firm up as they cool.
Prepare butter cream ( or try my quickie version ,listed at top)
when cake is cool and circles are uneven you can take a bread knife and saw edges to make circles even. Butter the first 3 layers with the butter cream. Take the 1/4 C. of toasted almonds the small 4th layer of baked batter and pulse in your food processor to decorate the top of your cake and around the sides. Dust with icing sugar (Optional) It will keep well covered in the fridge for 2 days.
ALMOND BUTTER CREAM
6 large egg yolks
2/3 C. sugar
1/2 C water
1 C. unsalted butter room temp.
2 tsp almond extract
1 C. pastry cream (recipe to follow)
Whisk egg yolks in a bowl and set aside
In a small sauce pan over medium high heat, combine the sugar and the water and bring to a boil. Cover and boil for 1 min. The steam willwash the sugar crystals down the sides of the pan. Uncover and continue to boil until syrup reaches 238F on a candy thermometer, about 5 minutes.
While constantly whisking pour the syrup SLOWLY into the egg yolks. Continue to beat until cool and thick. Beat the butter into the egg mixture until smooth and satiny , You are now ready to beat in the pastry cream to complete the butter cream process.
1 1/2 cup whole milk
1 vanilla bean halved lengthwise and scraped
4 large egg yolks
1/2 C. sugar
2 T cornstarch
Over med heat , heat the milk and vanilla bits until bubbles form around the edges of the pot. Remove from heat and remove the vanilla bean pod. In a bowl whisk the egg yolks, sugar and corn starch until smooth. Slowly mix in the hot milk. Return the entire mixture to the saucepan and over med. heat continue whisking until mixture thickens about 3 minutes. Strain mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a clean bowl, add butter and stir until butter is melted and mixture is smooth. Cover with film wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours or 2 days.
While this is the real way to make butter cream, it certainly is a long process and absolutely worth it when making a butter cream. Especially when impressing your guests with fine desserts. However, you can see why I choose to make my version of a simpler butter cream, with just the pudding and butter. Actually it was a recipe that my mother often used for her tortes and everybody raved about them and no one was the wiser that she didn't always make the long version.