These Mini Strawberry Daqouises are made up of a crunchy almond hazelnut meringue layer, filled with fluffy chantilly whipped cream, and a hidden surprise of fresh strawberry compote. A spoonful of this cake is absolute heaven: the crunchy nut layers shatter in your mouth and are soften with light pillowy vanilla cream bursting with pockets of strawberry pieces.
We are officially in the midst of summer and its is hot, hot, hot. I've been working on recipes that require minimal oven time, and I'm happy to report this is one of them and it is so AMAZING it has become my family's go-to birthday treat.
Even better, these are gluten free and mini sized so you don't have to commit to eating an entire cake (but why would you not cobble these all up?).
What is a Daquoise?
The daquoise is a child of the meringue and it is made exactly in the same way as a meringue: eggs whites are whipped into stiff peaks; the mixture is shaped on a pan; and baked at a low heat for 1-2 hours until dry. The only difference is the inclusion of nuts during the folding process and a layer(s) of cream between each meringue layer - a small difference, but yields impeccable flavour. The best part? Dacquoises are so versatile, they can be layered with buttercream, chocolate, fruit etc.
Daquoise = crunchy meringue layers with nuts and cream layer(s)
Meringue = the process/result of beating egg whites, sugar and and acid until stiff and glossy.
Whipped Cream v. Chantilly Whipped Cream
You may be wondering, what's the difference between whipped cream and Chantilly whipped cream and does it matter? My answer: Yes, there is definitely a difference in taste.
Whipped Cream: Traditional whipped cream is literally JUST heavy cream whipped. That's It.
Chantilly Whipped Cream: Heavy cream whipped, that has been sweetened and flavoured. So if you love flavoured creams...you'll love this.
What Ingredients Do I Need for a Daquoise?
You'll never believe that you can make a bakery stunner with ingredients you most likely already have in your pantry.
Almonds + Hazelnut: Nuts are what make this a daquoise, and they give delicious flavour to the crunchy meringue layers.
Cornstarch: Not only does it give structure to the meringue mixture, it'll make it extra crisp.
Egg Whites: The foundation of any meringue, when stiffly beaten it will give a light airy structure. Make sure your eggs are room temperature to make the separation process easier.
Granulated Sugar: The main sweetener in meringue and cream, sugar also stabilizes the meringue and gives a smooth shiny finish. Make sure you beat long enough for the sugar to dissolve.
Lemon Juice: Any acid will do the trick (apple cider vinegar etc.), but I like the taste of lemon and it prevents the meringue from collapsing or "weeping" while baking.
Heavy Cream: This is the basis of the Chantilly Whipped Cream. Make sure your cream is fresh to avoid any curdles.
Greek Yogurt: While not traditional in whipped cream, adding yogurt not only makes this dish lighter, but the tartness of yogurt balances out all the sweetness.
Strawberry Jam: This delicious surprise goes in the center of the cream and it just makes this dessert. You can use store-bought jam, but I used my Strawberry Jam recipe for this. (Rather than preserving the jam, I used it right away) Grab the recipe here.
How do I make Strawberry Daquoise?
While it looks complicated to make, I guarantee the sum of its part is what makes this a showstopper. It's easiest to make in three parts:
1.Make the strawberry Compote (If you're using store bought Jam, then yay, skip this step!) - If you're following my jam recipe, make the jam first so it has plenty of time to cool and thicken in consistency.
2.Make the Dacquoise Layers - To start, I blanch my almonds to remove their skin, then lightly toast all the nuts in the oven. (This is a matter of preference, but I don't like nuts too toasted or they'll taste bitter). Once toasted the skins of the hazelnuts can be removed by bundling them in a linen and vigorously rubbing the bag. The skins will peel right off. The nuts are quickly ground in a food processor until it's a fine sandy mixture.
To make the meringue, eggs whites are mixed on high speed until frothy. Once at a soft peak, the lemon juice and sugar is added incrementally and continually mixed until all the sugar is dissolve and a stiff glossy meringue mixture forms. At this point, our toasted and ground nuts are folded into the meringue.
When ready to bake, I draw 12 circles each 4 inches in diameter using a cookie cutter onto a piece of parchment paper. To form the meringue layers, I place a dollop of the meringue into the center of each circle, and using a spatula I spread the mixture out following the drawn guideline. Lastly before baking I lightly mist the tops of each disc with some water until glistening, this gives them a shiny finish.
3. Whip Chantilly Cream - Ahh this cream is so fluffy and light! Combine all the ingredients in the bowl and whip on high speed until stiff and thickened. Until I'm ready to serve and assemble my dacquoises, I store the cream in the fridge either in a piping bag or a bowl.
How to assemble and Store a Daquoise
Daquoises keep best in their separate components until ready to be assembled and served.
to serve prepare all your decoration components before taking out the whipped cream. Especially in hot weather, the cream can easily melt into the meringue layers and they won't be as crisp. To assemble, spread a layer of whipped cream onto a meringue disc. Place your sliced strawberries in a circle on the cream to anchor them. Then, pipe a ring of cream inside the ring of strawberries. Continue piping cream rings until the height of the rings is the same height as the strawberries. Lightly press in the strawberries to affix them to the cream. Next, spoon some jam in the center of the cream rings, and top the whole thing with another meringue disc. Decorate the top with more cream and sliced strawberries.
to store the meringue layers stack them and wrap them in a layer of cling wrap. Overtime, if not covered, moisture will affect its crispness. Additionally, place them in tupperware to prevent them from being crushed. When stored correctly, they stay fresh up to two weeks.
to store the whipped cream place in an airtight container and in the fridge for a guaranteed week.
Strawberry Mini Daquoises
for the meringue layers
- ¾ cup (80g) almonds blanched + toasted
- ½ cup (54g) hazelnuts toasted + skinned
- 1 tbsp (7g) cornstarch
- ⅛ tsp (1g) kosher salt
- ¾ cup (140g) granulated sugar
- 4 (122g) egg whites room temperature, medium sized eggs
- ½ tsp lemon juice
for the chantilly cream
- 2 cups (480g) heavy cream
- 1 ½ cups (375g) greek yogurt
- 4 tbsp (50g) granulated sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
for the jam
- 1 ½ cup (490g) store bought or home-made strawberry jam
- 1 quart strawberries washed + sliced
for the meringue layers (this can be done the night before)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Draw 12 circles each 4 inches in diameter onto two pieces of parchment paper that fit a 9 inch x 13 inch baking sheet. Then place on a baking sheet with the ink side down.
- If almonds were bought un-blanched, blanch them by adding the almonds to a pot of boiling boiling water for 1 minutes. Drain the almonds and rinse with cold water to cool down. Squeeze the tips of each almond to remove the skin.
- Toast the hazelnuts and blanched almonds by placing them separated on a baking pan (one side of hazelnuts, the other for almonds) and baking them at 350°F on a sheet pan until lightly darkened. Once toasted, remove from the oven and bundle hazelnuts in a linen to steam. While holding the top of the bundle, use your other handle to jostle and rub the bottom of the bundle to remove the skins.
- Lightly pulse the almonds, skinned hazelnuts, cornstarch and salt in a food processor until nuts are sandy and crumbly. Add half of the sugar and pulse one or two times to combine. Set aside until ready to use.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip egg whites on slow, until foamy and pale in colour. Then increase to medium, add lemon juice and mix until soft and billowy. Slowly add in the remaining half of sugar in 1 tbsp increments. Continue to whip until stiff glossy peaks form and sugar granules are fully incorporated.
- Fold nut mixture into the egg whites in 3 batches. Decrease oven temperature to 250°F.
- Using a spatula, evenly spread dollops of the meringue into each circle, they should be ½ to ¾ inch thick. With a spray bottle filled with water, mist the surface of each meringue until glistening.
- Bake for 1.5 hours. When done baking, turn off the oven and allow it to cool for another 1.5 hours (Do not open the oven while baking and cooling).
- Removing parchment paper. When fully baked, the parchment should pull away easily and not tear the meringue.
- Stack and store in an airtight container until ready to use.
for the chantilly cream
- Combine greek yogurt, heavy cream, confectioners sugar & vanilla extract in a chilled mixing bowl.
- Mix on high speed until stiff and thickened. Spoon into a piping bag and chill until ready to use.
- Spread a layer of whipped cream onto a meringue disc.
- Place sliced strawberries in a circle on the cream to anchor them. Then, pipe a ring of cream inside the ring of strawberries. Continue piping cream rings until the height of the rings is the same height as the strawberries. Lightly press in the strawberries to affix them to the cream.
- Spoon some jam into the center of the cream rings, and top the whole thing with another meringue disc.
- Decorate the top with more cream and sliced strawberries.
- Daquoises keep best in their separate components until ready to be assembled and served.