I have a weakness for nuts, particularly almonds and cashews, so I combined both to make this almond cashew dacquoise, also known as sans rival. I’ve always thought of dacquoise, or sans rival, as the mother of all desserts. Once you taste it, you’ll see why it’s called sans rival. It’s a dessert so delicious and special it truly lives up to its name. There is a notion that dacquoise is difficult to make, but it’s no different than baking a cake. I use a simple technique that ensures all those crisp dacquoise layers remain intact and easy to handle.
My family’s favorite dessert is homemade apple pie, but when I asked them which they preferred if they had to choose, apple pie or dacquoise sans rival, they were hard pressed to select one over the other and decided it was a tie. So that says a lot for dacquoise.
Dacquoise sans rival is a dessert made of finely chopped nuts folded into a meringue to make delicious layers filled with a decadent buttercream.
The texture is crisp from the nuts with a slight chewiness at the same time. The buttercream flavored with rum truly complements the dacquoise layers. The beauty of this dessert is it can be made way ahead of time and frozen. The dacquoise will come out of the freezer as beautiful and delicious as it was the day it was made. You don’t need to thaw it when you’re ready to serve because it’s supposed to be served cold.
I didn’t add salt to the recipe as I used roasted and salted almonds and cashews. You can use all almonds or all cashews, if you prefer.
- Prep five 8-inch baking pans by spraying them first with non-stick cooking spray. Cut a strip of parchment paper about 1.5 inches wide and 10 to 12 inches long so that each end of the strip goes up the sides of the pan. The strip will act as a handle so the baked dacquoise can easily be lifted out of the pan.
- Place an 8-inch circle cut out of parchment paper on top of the strip. Then spray the surface of the circle and the sides of the pan with non-stick cooking spray.
- Whip the egg whites. Gradually add the sugar when the egg whites start to take shape. Then whip until stiff but not dry peaks. Add the vanilla extract.
- Mix the chopped almonds and cashews together, then fold them into the meringue with a silicon spatula.
- The meringue will look like one large marshmallow with nuts suspended within.
- Divide the meringue among the five baking pans. Bake all five pans at the same time on the same rack at 275° F for one hour. The dacquoise layers will be an even brown and will leave the sides of the pan when done.
- Let the dacquoise layers cool completely in the pans. Use the strips to lift the layers out of the pans, then gently peel the parchment paper rounds off of the bottom of the layers.
I used the generic 365 brand of Whole Foods for the nuts. Just one cup each for the cashews and almonds plus a little more for decorating the sides. I find the nuts from Whole Foods to be the best. If you have a food processor, chopping the nuts will take all of one minute.
Making this delicious buttercream involves emulsifying two elements that do not ordinarily mix together, the fat from the butter and yolks with the water content of the sugar syrup. Slice the butter in cubes and bring it to just slightly below room temperature. It shouldn’t be cold nor should it be too soft. It should be soft enough that you can make an indentation if you press your finger on it.
- To make the buttercream, whip the egg yolks on high until they become thick and light colored. Leave the yolks whipping while you make the syrup.
- Place the sugar and water in a sauce pot and heat on medium high until it forms a syrup with a temperature of around 238° F or soft ball stage. That means if you take a small amount of the syrup and drop it into a glass of cold water, it will form a soft ball.
- With the mixer on medium high slowly pour the hot sugar syrup aiming between the whip and the side of the bowl. Once all the syrup has been added, the bowl will be hot to the touch. Continue mixing on high until the bowl is completely cool, about 10 minutes.
- Still on high, start adding the softened butter one cube at a time whipping well to incorporate each cube before adding the next.
- When all the butter has been added, add the rum and whip well to incorporate.
- The buttercream is done at this point. The texture will be smooth and soft. Chill it for about 10-15 minutes. It will be firm once chilled, but not stiff like buttercream made with butter and powdered sugar. You can beat in an optional ½ cup (or more) of sifted powdered sugar once it’s chilled if you want an even firmer consistency, but check the flavor every now and then as you wouldn’t want it to be too sweet. I’ve tried it both ways and I personally prefer not to add the powdered sugar as the buttercream is already sweet enough and delicious as it is.
Assembling the dacquoise is just like stacking a cake. First spread a dab of buttercream on your cake plate to secure the assembled dacquoise onto the plate. You need only a thin layer on the sides as it will be covered with nuts anyway. Freeze the frosted dacquoise for about 10 minutes. Then cover the sides with chopped nuts. You can cover the top as well with nuts or use any extra buttercream to pipe whatever border you like. I used a small star tip to pipe the borders.
Another option in baking the layers is to draw circles on a parchment paper, pipe the meringue to form the dacquoise and bake them on cookie sheets. The sides of the dacquoise won’t be sharp and defined like when you bake the layers in cake pans, but you do get a rustic kind of look.
I’ve also made dacquoise sans rival in sheet form baking the meringue in three 9-inch by 13-inch cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.
Store the dacquoise sans rival in a covered container in the freezer. When it’s time to serve, just take it out and slice it with a sharp knife and serve straight away. It will be super scrumptious.
Dacquoise aka sans rival is something that’s usually purchased from a bakeshop. Imagine the surprise of your guests when you serve this to them. They’ll assume you bought it from somewhere and you can say you actually made it yourself. It will knock their socks off! If you haven’t tried baking dacquoise or sans rival, you might want to expand your baking repertoire and explore making something new with this truly delicious recipe.
I do have to say making this almond cashew dacquoise can be addictive. If I had all the time in the world, I would probably make this once a month just for the fun of it.
- 7 egg whites
- ¾ cup granulated sugar (153 g)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup almonds finely chopped (115 g)
- 1 cup cashews finely chopped (123 g)
- 1 cup granulated sugar (209 g)
- ¼ cup water (50 g)
- 7 egg yolks
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons (2 sticks + 2 tablespoons) butter softened (254 g)
- 1 ½ tablespoons rum (18 g)
- About ¾ cup chopped almonds and cashews combined
- Preheat oven to 275° F. Spray five 8-inch round cake pans with non-stick cooking spray. Tip: To easily lift baked dacquoise out of cake pans cut out a strip of parchment paper about 1.5 inches in width and 12 inches in length and place in the bottom of the pan with about 2 inches of the strip coming up opposite sides of the pan. For each pan, cut out an 8-inch parchment paper circle and place on top of the parchment strip to line the bottom of the cake pan.
- With the wire whip of a stand mixer, beat the egg whites. Gradually add the sugar. Whip until egg whites are stiff but not dry and still glossy. Whip in the vanilla extract to blend.
- Fold in by hand, about a half cup at a time, the chopped almonds and cashews into the meringue using a silicon spatula.
- Divide the meringue equally among the prepared cake pans and bake all five pans at the same time on the same rack for about 60 minutes or until evenly brown. The sides of the baked dacquoise layers will leave the pan. Let cool. Use both ends of the parchment strip to easily lift each layer out of the pan.
- Slice the butter into cubes and let it come to just below room temperature. The butter should have a little bit of give when you press your finger on it but still have some firmness, but neither should it be too soft or you’ll end up with soupy buttercream.
- With the wire whip of a stand mixer whip egg yolks on medium high until thick.
- While the egg yolks are whipping, combine sugar and water in a sauce pot and bring to a boil, until it reaches soft ball stage and forms a syrup, about 238° F.
- Between medium high and high speed, in a very thin stream so as not to scramble the eggs, pour the hot syrup slowly into the egg yolks. Aim directly at the eggs, between the beater and the bowl. Once all the syrup is poured in, whip until the bowl is cool to the touch, about 10 minutes.
- Still on medium high, add butter about a tablespoon at a time. Wait until the butter is well combined until adding the next tablespoon.
- Add the rum and blend in.
- Chill the buttercream for about 15 minutes to thicken. Optional: After the buttercream is chilled if you want it to be more on the stiff side, mix in by hand about ½ cup sifted powdered sugar. You can add more depending on how thick you want the buttercream to be, but check on the flavor as you wouldn’t want it to be too sweet. (I’ve done this once, and I much prefer the buttercream without adding powdered sugar.)
- First spread a dab of buttercream on your cake plate to secure the assembled dacquoise onto the plate. Place a dacquoise layer on the cake plate. Spread about ¼ cup buttercream on the surface. Top with another dacquoise layer, repeat spreading buttercream on the surface ending with the fifth layer on top.
- Spread the top and sides of the dacquoise with buttercream. Apply just a thin layer of buttercream on the sides. Freeze for about 10 minutes for the buttercream to set.
- Press chopped nuts onto the sides of the dacquoise by holding the cake plate on one hand tilted over a bowl or plate to catch the nuts, while applying the nuts around the dacquoise with your other hand.
- Pipe a border on the top edge using a small star tip using any extra buttercream.
- Place the assembled dacquoise in a covered container and freeze. Can be stored in the freezer for weeks. The dacquoise will come out of the freezer as beautiful and as delicious as it was the day it was made.
- You can slice the dacquoise straight out of the freezer with a sharp knife and serve it cold.
Almond Cashew Dacquoise is Sans Rival