Cobnut, Poached Pear & Chocolate Dacquoise Cake

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By Darren Purchese

This luxurious layer cake combines the nutty richness of cobnuts, the elegant sweetness of poached pears, and the indulgent depth of chocolate,

A dacquoise, is a classic French confection made with layers of nut meringue and whipped cream. The meringue layers, typically made with ground almonds or hazelnuts, add a delightful crispness that contrasts beautifully with the soft, poached pears and the smooth whipped cream.

This recipe was inspired by The Heritage Harvest Weekend at Sovereign Hill and a delicious gift of Cobnuts* from Veronica and Steve Carter who imported the cobnut seedlings from the UK and Netherlands 25 years ago. Following a quarantine period of 18 months, they planted them at their property Mossmont, in Buninyong, VIC. Now in maturity, the trees are producing reliably and if you’d like to try them, they can be purchased at Elaine’s Farm Gate shop, which is on the Geelong Road, towards Meredith.

*The Kentish Cobnut is a larger nut than hazelnut and has a distinctive sweet, slightly creamy flavour of its own. If you can't find cobnuts you can substitute with hazelnuts

Time

1

hour

30

minutes

Degree of Difficulty

Medium

Save

1

Portions

10
servings

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Ingredients

Servings

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POACHED PEARS

2 pears
150g caster sugar
500 ml water
1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped
½ lemon, zest & juice

COBNUT & CHOCOLATE DACQUOISE

150g dark chocolate
160g cobnuts. toasted & skins removed – finely ground
210g egg white, (approx. 6 large eggs)
210g egg white, (approx. 6 large eggs)
 pinch cream of tartar
300g brown sugar

TO ASSEMBLE

350g cream thickened
30g cobnuts, toasted and rough chopped
50g dark chocolate, tempered in a paper piping bag
1

 

2

For the pears… peel the pears and remove the core using a melon baller. Place the sugar, water, vanilla and lemon into a medium sized saucepan and heat to a boil to dissolve the sugar. Add the pears and turn the heat low to simmer. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until the pears are soft enough for you to insert a paring knife into the flesh. Turn the heat off and allow them to cool in the syrup.

 

3

To get started… preheat the oven to 160°C fan forced and 180°C static. Line 2 X 18 cm diameter cake tins or rings with grease spray and baking paper neatly fitted around the inside of the tins. Set aside.

 

4

For the chocolate… add the chocolate pieces or buttons into the mixing bowl of a blender and blend until finely grated or you can use a cheese-grater or micro plane with a fine edge to get the same result. Set aside in the fridge when completed.

 

5

For the meringue… place egg whites and cream of tartar into mixing bowl and whip until soft peaks form. Slowly add the sugar 1 tbsp at a time until all is combined.

 

6

Add the cobnuts… fold the ground cobnut and half of the grated chocolate into the meringue.

 

7

Add to the tins… transfer the mix evenly into the two lined tins and use a palette knife or spoon to level smooth.

 

8

Bake the dacquoise… for 28 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tins.

 

9

Once cool… run a small sharp knife around the outer edge of the cakes and lift them out of the moulds or tins. Leave to cool further on cake racks.

 

10

Slice the pears… use a knife to cut each pear in half and remove the stalk.

 

11

Whip the cream… to firm peaks using an electric stand mixer and fold in the remaining grated chocolate. Transfer the cream into a piping bag fitted with a large plain piping nozzle and set aside in the fridge.

 

12

To make the chocolate garnish… place a metal tray into the freezer for an hour. Cut a small hole in the end of the paper piping bag. Remove the tray from the freezer and quickly flick the dark chocolate from the bag onto the tray to form long thin strands. Quickly trim them to size and store in a container in the fridge until assembly.

 

13

To assemble… place one dacquoise base onto a cake card or serving plate. Arrange half of the pear slices onto the centre of the first layer.

 

14

 

15

Pipe half the cream… on top of the pears and top with the other half of dacquoise.

 

16

Add the remaining sliced pear… to the centre of the surface of the second layer and pipe the remaining cream in bulbs on the surface of the cake.

 

17

Add the cobnuts… and the chocolate garnish to finish. Serve immediately.

 

1
0 hours 0 minutes
2
0 hours 0 minutes

For the pears… peel the pears and remove the core using a melon baller. Place the sugar, water, vanilla and lemon into a medium sized saucepan and heat to a boil to dissolve the sugar. Add the pears and turn the heat low to simmer. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until the pears are soft enough for you to insert a paring knife into the flesh. Turn the heat off and allow them to cool in the syrup.

3
0 hours 0 minutes

To get started… preheat the oven to 160°C fan forced and 180°C static. Line 2 X 18 cm diameter cake tins or rings with grease spray and baking paper neatly fitted around the inside of the tins. Set aside.

4
0 hours 0 minutes

For the chocolate… add the chocolate pieces or buttons into the mixing bowl of a blender and blend until finely grated or you can use a cheese-grater or micro plane with a fine edge to get the same result. Set aside in the fridge when completed.

5
0 hours 0 minutes

For the meringue… place egg whites and cream of tartar into mixing bowl and whip until soft peaks form. Slowly add the sugar 1 tbsp at a time until all is combined.

6
0 hours 0 minutes

Add the cobnuts… fold the ground cobnut and half of the grated chocolate into the meringue.

7
0 hours 0 minutes

Add to the tins… transfer the mix evenly into the two lined tins and use a palette knife or spoon to level smooth.

8
0 hours 0 minutes

Bake the dacquoise… for 28 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tins.

9
0 hours 0 minutes

Once cool… run a small sharp knife around the outer edge of the cakes and lift them out of the moulds or tins. Leave to cool further on cake racks.

10
0 hours 0 minutes

Slice the pears… use a knife to cut each pear in half and remove the stalk.

11
0 hours 0 minutes

Whip the cream… to firm peaks using an electric stand mixer and fold in the remaining grated chocolate. Transfer the cream into a piping bag fitted with a large plain piping nozzle and set aside in the fridge.

12
0 hours 0 minutes

To make the chocolate garnish… place a metal tray into the freezer for an hour. Cut a small hole in the end of the paper piping bag. Remove the tray from the freezer and quickly flick the dark chocolate from the bag onto the tray to form long thin strands. Quickly trim them to size and store in a container in the fridge until assembly.

13
0 hours 0 minutes

To assemble… place one dacquoise base onto a cake card or serving plate. Arrange half of the pear slices onto the centre of the first layer.

14
0 hours 0 minutes
15
0 hours 0 minutes

Pipe half the cream… on top of the pears and top with the other half of dacquoise.

16
0 hours 0 minutes

Add the remaining sliced pear… to the centre of the surface of the second layer and pipe the remaining cream in bulbs on the surface of the cake.

17
0 hours 0 minutes

Add the cobnuts… and the chocolate garnish to finish. Serve immediately.