It’s almost Thanksgiving! Well, almost Canadian Thanksgiving, anyway.
And while I, like the rest of the good people living in the States, await November with bated breath, our good neighbors up north are already prepping their turkeys and their pies for Monday. I figured, though, that owing to my general Canadianness, and the fact that I’m 130% thankful for the new Anne of Green Gables adaptation to be released on American Thanksgiving this year, Canadian Thanksgiving calls for an extra special dessert of the week.
One with lots and lots (and lots) of 100% pure maple syrup.
So this week, we have a maple walnut dacquoise, which is basically the low maintenance cousin of the macaron. It’s all the same ingredients – finely ground nut flour folded into an extra fluffy meringue – but without all the persnickety particulars of macaronage and matte shells and ruffled feet. It gets layered up (and softened to a delicious cookie-cake hybrid) with a creamy maple brown sugar frosting to make for an out-of-the-box alternative in case you get sick of pumpkin pie.
(Not that anyone ever actually gets sick or pumpkin pie, but it’s nice to know the option’s available.)
Either way, if you’re ready for fall to finally arrive in full force (thanks a lot, Southern weather), start counting your blessings over maple-y, walnut-y deliciousness. Hope your enjoy!
Happy almost-Canadian Thanksgiving,
Maple Walnut Dacquoise
Makes one 5.5″ dacquoise cake
1/2 cup walnut pieces
1 tbs cornstarch
2 large egg whites
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 tbs brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
8 oz mascarpone cheese
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tbs brown sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
9 walnut halves
- Preheat the oven to 250 . Trace three circles 5.5″ in diameter on a large sheet of parchment paper, then line the parchment onto a large baking pan.
- In a food processor, pulse together the walnut pieces and corn starch until the consistency of a fine meal.
Tip: You will end up with small pieces about 1-2 mm in diameter when you are done. DO NOT KEEP PULSING AT THIS POINT – it’s incredibly easy to accidentally over-pulse and end up with walnut butter instead of walnut flour.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer or with an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until an opaque foam begins to form. Add in the maple syrup, brown sugar, and vanilla extract all at once, then beat the mixture to firm peaks. At this point, when you lift out the beaters, you should see peaks with tips that curl over slightly.
- Using a silicone spatula, gently fold the walnut flour mixture into the meringue until well combined.
- Using a large spoon, divide the mixture among the 3 circles, then gently spread the meringue until it fills each circle completely.
Tip: Try to keep the centers and edges of the circles at about the same thickness.
- Bake the meringue for 1 hour and 30 minutes about 2/3 of the way down from the top of the oven, or until the tops of the centers of each meringue are hard to the touch.
- Allow to cool for assembly!
- In the bowl of a stand mixer or with an electric mixer, beat together the mascarpone, maple syrup, and brown sugar until well combined.
- Slowly add in the heavy cream, then whip until the mixture if fluffy but firm. Set aside for assembly!
- Place one layer of dacquoise on top of a plate or a cake board.
- Using a small offset spatula, smooth a generous layer of frosting over the dacquoise.
- Repeat with remaining layers, then gently add a layer of frosting around the outside of the cake.
- Gently press a layer of chopped walnuts against the sides of the cake.
Tip: Place the chopped walnuts into a small sandwich bag, then pour along the edges of the cake, pressing in the chopped walnuts against the side of the cake with your hand and brushing off the excess when you are done.
- Add a layer of frosting across the top of the cake, top with walnuts, and serve. Enjoy!
Tip: For neater layers, refrigerate for about 20 minutes before serving. Otherwise, dig in!