Banana cinnamon date stacks
MAKES ABOUT 10
A chewy, cinnamony dacquoise base studded with sticky dates, layered with fresh cream, sliced banana and toasted almonds, then finished with lashings of dark chocolate ganache – what’s not to like?
6 large egg whites
300g (1⅓ cups) caster sugar
150g (1½ cups) almond meal, sifted 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon 100g (¾ cup) pitted dates, roughly chopped
80ml (⅓ cup) thickened cream
100g (⅔ cup) dark chocolate melts (buttons) OR chopped dark chocolate
600ml thickened cream
60g (½ cup) pure icing sugar OR icing sugar mixture, sifted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract OR vanilla bean paste OR vanilla essence
BITS & PIECES
160g (1 cup) toasted almonds, roughly chopped
1 Preheat the oven to 130°C fan-forced. Line four baking trays with baking paper. Draw a total of twenty 8cm circles on the baking paper, leaving at least 3cm of space between them. Spread these out over the baking trays.
2 To make the dacquoise bases, in a large bowl, whisk the egg whites with an electric mixer on high speed until medium peaks form. Start adding a tablespoonful of the sugar at a time, whisking well between each addition. Keep whisking until all the sugar has been used and the meringue is very stiff and glossy. Combine the almond meal and cinnamon in a small bowl, and mix briefly. Add this, together with the dates, to the meringue, and fold together to combine. Transfer the mixture to a piping bag, and snip a 1cm hole off the tip. Pipe concentric circles onto the prepared baking paper, or simply use a spoon or spatula to spread the mixture. Bake for 30 minutes. Cool completely on the trays before using.
3 To make the ganache, microwave the cream and chocolate in a small heatproof bowl for about 40 seconds on the highest setting. Whisk until smooth, then transfer the ganache to a piping bag.
4 To make the crème chantilly, combine the cream, icing sugar and vanilla in a medium mixing bowl, and whisk by hand or with an electric mixer until medium or stiff peaks form. Medium peaks make a nicer texture to dollop and provide moisture to slices of cake. Stiff peaks are more fitting for icing cakes and piping with, as the shape stays put.
5 To assemble the stacks, just before serving, spread a dollop of the Crème Chantilly on a disc of dacquoise. Slice the bananas and arrange a layer of them on the cream, then snip a 2mm hole off the tip of the piping bag holding the ganache. Squeeze a zigzag of ganache over the top of the bananas, then finish with a sprinkle of almonds. Place another disc of dacquoise on top, and repeat the process. Continue until all the stacks are made, or assemble them as you need – the dacquoise discs will last up to a week in an airtight container. Serve immediately after assembling.
Orange kisses with cream cheese centres For recipe, see page 158.