One of the reasons I find baking so fascinating is the lineage between the bakes of different cultures. Every culture has their hallmark enriched dough: mallorca from Puerto Rico, conchas from Mexico, ensaymada from the Phillipines, and so on. Every culture has their hallmark fried dough: zalabya (loqmit il qadi) from Egypt, doughnuts, beignets, zeppoli from Italy and so on to infinity. French cuisine pervades so many cultures it is mind boggling. These cookies are like macarons on steroids. Two cashew dacquoise discs are sandwiched together with French buttercream (the richest of the buttercreams), coated with more buttercream and then rolled in cake crumbs. They can be eaten right away but they are marvelous straight out of the freezer like an ice cream sandwich.
It is important to pay attention to the technique of making a buttercream with a hot simple syrup as it is used for macarons and Italian buttercream. Take care to pour the syrup into the yolks between the whisk and the bowl while it is still beating. If you pour it down the side it was solidify against the bowl before it hits the yolks. If you pour it directly into the whisk it will splatter. Also make
- Piping bags
- digital thermometer
- 5 large egg whites room temperature
- ½ tsp cream of tartar
- 130 g sugar
- 100 g unsalted cashews ground in food processor or sub almond flour
- 5 large egg yolks room temperature
- 250 g sugar
- 60 g water
- 300 g unsalted butter softened but still cold, cut in TBSP sized pieces
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 6 inch cake flavor of your choice or 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
- 2 drops food coloring optional
- Preheat oven to 300°F. Line 2-3 baking sheets with parchment paper and trace 2 ¼" circles on the underside of the parchment papers.
- In a stand mixer beat egg whites and cream of tartar at medium-high speed until frothy. Pour in the sugar in a slow steady stream while continuing to beat then increase speed to high. Beat until stiff glossy peaks achieved.
- Add in the ground cashews in 2 portions and fold in gently.
- Load mixture into a piping bag fitted with a ½" round tip. Pipe onto the parchment paper within the pre-traced circles. Tap trays several times to release air bubbles. Smooth tops gently with angled spatula.
- Bake at 300°F for 30 minutes or until meringues have a uniform pale brown color. Cool for a few minutes on baking sheets then remove from parchment paper and cool completely.
- Beat egg yolks in a stand mixer on medium high heat until thick and pale. In the meantime make the syrup.
- Combine water and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to boil over medium heat. Stop stirring once it starts boiling. Continue to simmer until it reaches 240°F.
- Once syrup reaches temp remove from heat. While egg yolks are continuing to mix at medium speed pour the syrup in a thin stream between the whisk and the side of the bowl. Increase the speed to high and beat until bowl is cool to the touch about five minutes.
- Add butter pieces while continuing to mix. Add one piece at a time until completely blended. Beat for a couple more minutes with the whisk then switch to the paddle and beat for another minute or two until a glossy buttercream is achieved.
- Pipe or spread buttercream onto half the meringue discs and cover the with the other half , pressing down until the buttercream reaches the edges. Spread the tops and sides with more buttercream and smooth out as evenly as possible (you can also coat the bottoms but I suggest chilling in between the top/sides and bottom). Chill briefly before coating with cake or cookie crumbs but the sandwiches should still be tacky.
- Pulse the cake and optional food coloring in the food processor. Place the cake crumbs in a lined pan and roll the sylvanas in the crumbs to cover completely. Serve immediately or freeze and eat cold like an ice cream sandwich!
- Grind the cashews by pulsing in the food processor. Be careful not to over process or they can start to release their oils.
- The process for adding hot simple syrup to egg whites is an Italian meringue which is also use for macarons and Italian meringue buttercream. It is important not to disturb the syrup once it starts boiling or you can crystallize the sugar. If this happens then you must start over.
- Butter should not be at room temperature. It should be still somewhat cold enough that you cannot mash it by pressing with your fingers.
- If the French buttercream becomes too soft while coating the meringues then chill briefly or chill the cookies for a few minutes before continuing. The French buttercream can be made 1-2 days in advance and refrigerated.
- If you are using previously frozen cake thaw overnight in fridge then bring to room temperature a couple of hours before making the sylvanas.