Wolfgang Pucks Guide to Throwing a Movie Awards Party
Photo Credit: Great Gatherings
"I had my first bite of marjolaine when I was a young apprentice in the kitchen of LOustau de Baumanière in Provence," says Wolfgang, and its been my favorite cake ever since because its so light. The cake layers are a nutty meringue called dacquoise thats much easier to make than sponge cake. You can slice the finished dessert like a cake or cut it into bite-sized pieces. Either way, it looks spectacular on a plate. Wolfgang suggests serving it with coffee ice cream.
1 cup hazelnuts
6 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 1/2 cups superfine sugar
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
Whipped Cream Filling
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup crème fraîche
1 tablespoon superfine sugar
About 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
To make the meringue, preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in the oven, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, or until the nuts are fragrant and their skins begin to flake. Remove from the oven, pour into a kitchen towel, and rub vigorously between your palms to remove the skins. Let cool, then chop finely and set aside. Reduce the oven temperature to 300°F.
Spray a 12-by-15-inch rimmed baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray, and then line with parchment paper and lightly spray the parchment.
In a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment, beat the egg whites on medium speed until they begin to foam. Add the cream of tartar and continue to whip until soft peaks form. Increase the speed to high and slowly stream in the sugar, continuing to beat until stiff, shiny peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the hazelnuts.
Pour the meringue onto the prepared baking sheet and, using an offset spatula, spread it evenly, covering the bottom of the pan completely. Bake for 40 minutes, or until lightly browned and crisp. Turn off the oven but leave the meringue on the oven rack for 1 hour longer, so that it is fully dry, then remove from the oven.
To make the ganache, place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a boil. Remove the cream from the heat, pour it evenly over the chocolate, and let stand for 1 minute, then stir the mixture with a rubber spatula until smooth.
Fill a large bowl about two-thirds full with water and ice cubes. Divide the ganache in half between 2 bowls. Add the corn syrup to 1 bowl, stir to combine, and reserve to use for glazing the top layer. Nest the second bowl in the ice-water bath and stir the ganache with a rubber spatula until it cools and thickens to the consistency of frosting.
To make the whipped cream filling, in the stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment, combine the cream, crème fraîche, and sugar and beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form.
To assemble, remove the meringue from the baking sheet to a cutting board and, using a large serrated knife, cut crosswise into 3 equal rectangles. Place 1 piece of meringue on a serving platter. Scoop the frostinglike ganache onto the meringue and spread evenly with an offset spatula. Top with a second rectangle of meringue, scoop the whipped cream filling onto the second meringue layer, and spread it an even layer. Top with the last piece of meringue, and press down lightly to seal the layers.
Stir the ganache glaze to check the consistency; it should be loose enough to spread. If it isnt, warm it briefly over, not touching, barely simmering water in a saucepan, or in a microwave at half power for about 20 seconds. Pour the glaze over the top meringue layer and spread it in an even layer. Let stand until the glaze sets.
Using a fine-mesh sieve, dust the top with the cocoa powder. If not serving immediately, cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. To serve, cut into slices or squares with a serrated knife.
Like what you see here? Get the full version! Great Gatherings: Star Chefs Entertain at Home Cookbook, $29.95 Find out how the 16 star chefs of the Macy's Culinary Council entertain their family and friends, and learn how easy it is to pull off in your own home!