Sweet Corn and Berry Dacquoise

This light, summery sweet corn and berry dacquoise has all the flavors of the season! Sweet corn pastry cream and berry compote get layered with toasted almond meringue in this gorgeous dacquoise.

sweet corn berry dacquoise

Corn in Dessert?

Absolutely! I’m far from the first person to use corn in a summer dessert but I would love to take a minute to tell you why corn works beautifully in dessert recipes. Corn is a wonderful addition to desserts both for 1) flavor and 2) texture. Since it’s naturally sweet, it pairs easily with sugar! Corn also adds creaminess due to all the starchy “milk” inside raw corn kernels. You can steep the corn cobs in milk to impart a gentle creamy corn flavor to the dairy in a recipe, or you can puree corn kernels into liquid for a stronger flavor. Pureeing corn kernels into a recipe also gives a little textural contrast to a creamy dessert component, which is what I’ve done in this recipe.

sweet corn berry dacquoise, mid-slice

The Components of a Sweet Corn and Berry Dacquoise

This summer dessert recipe has four components:

  1. Toasted Almond Dacquoise Layers
  2. Sweet Corn Pastry Cream
  3. Summer Berry Compote
  4. Honey Whipped Cream Topping

Planning Your Sweet Corn and Berry Dacquoise

While four components may seem daunting, they can easily be staged over the course of a few days! Here’s one way to make this summer dessert fit your schedule:

  • Day 1: Bake the meringue layers. Wrap them well. Store at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.
  • Day 2: Make the berry compote. Store it in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
  • Day 3: Make the sweet corn pastry cream. Store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • Day 4: Make the honey whip and assemble the cake. Store in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Day 5: Serve the cake!

You could also make the cake in fewer days if you prefer! Just remember that for the most delicious end result, the cake needs to sit in the refrigerator overnight before serving. Plan ahead!

Toasted Almond Dacquoise

Dacquoise is a French word that describes both the final cake and the individual layers of meringue used to build the cake. Baking dacquoise is very similar to baking meringue cookies or macarons! First, you whip egg whites and sugar to glossy peaks. Then you fold toasted almond flour and cinnamon into the meringue to create the dacquoise base. The dacquoise gets baked in thin layers for a long time to dry it out, and then stacked with delicious fillings!

Sweet Corn Pastry Cream

Pastry cream is delicious. Sweet corn pastry cream is next level. It tastes like summer on a spoon. To make sweet corn pastry cream, you first strip the kernels off of some raw corn cobs. Next, you steep the corn cobs in milk for a little while. Using that milk, you make standard pastry cream with eggs, yolks, and sugar. Once the custard is cooked, you puree in butter and raw corn kernels. The kernels add a lovely texture to the pastry cream in addition to a clear corn flavor!

Summer Berry Compote

Compote is just berries and sugar, cooked until jammy but still chunky with pieces of fruit. I made this compote with blueberries and blackberries, which are both berries that pair so nicely with corn! I bet swapping out the blackberries for raspberries would also be delicious. I’m also contemplating a Thanksgiving-style dacquoise using cranberries…stay tuned.

Berry compotes are delicious when sandwiched between cake layers. I made a very similar compote with just blueberries for my Maple Spelt Pancake Cake!

Honey Whipped Cream Topping

Is adding a whipped cream topping to this already-decadent cake over the top? A little! Could you skip it? Sure. But it’s delicious so I really encourage it! To make it, you whip heavy cream with honey. That’s it!

Making Meringue

If you haven’t made meringue before, it can sound scary but it’s actually very simple if you follow a couple key rules!

  1. Don’t get fat involved
    • When separating your eggs, make sure no yolk gets in. Even a little tiny bit of yolk will keep your meringue from whipping up.
    • Make sure your bowl and whip are free from fat. Wipe them down with a little vinegar to be extra-sure.
  2. Know your peak levels
    • Meringue goes through stages as it whips. At first, it will be soft and foamy. Then it’ll gradually get firmer and glossier, with peaks that start off soft but end up stiff if you keep whipping. Check out this tutorial to see what the various stages look like. You’ll be whipping to stiff peaks for this recipe.
  3. Cool gradually
    • Meringue needs to cool slowly to prevent cracking. Cooling slowly allows the meringue to contract gradually! After baking the meringue, you’ll turn the oven off and leave the meringue inside to cool down with the oven.
sweet corn berry dacquoise

The inspiration

  • Sweet summer corn!
  • An old Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream flavor called sweet corn & black raspberry (I interned with Jeni’s one summer in college and spent a LOT of time processing corn for this flavor)
  • A gorgeous almond and saffron pear dacquoise recipe from Beatrix Bakes, one of my favorite cookbooks

The Quick Look

ComponentSource/Adapted From
1Sweet Corn Pastry CreamLanibakes
2Almond Dacquoise LayersBeatrix Bakes‘ Almond & Saffron Pear Dacquoise
3Berry CompoteLanibakes
4Honey Whipped CreamLanibakes

Sweet Corn and Berry Dacquoise

Sweet corn pastry cream and berry compote get layered with toasted almond meringue layers for an ethereal summer dessert
Course Dessert
Keyword berry, corn, dacquoise, layer cake, meringue
Servings 10 people

Equipment

  • Immersion blender or blender
  • Saucepan
  • Stand mixer or electric hand mixer
  • 3 8" cake pans

Ingredients

Sweet Corn Pastry Cream

  • 2 ears fresh corn
  • 280 grams whole milk
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 egg
  • 50 grams sugar
  • 15 grams cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 113 grams butter

Almond Dacquoise Layers

  • 250 grams almond flour
  • 300 grams sugar divided (200 grams + 100 grams)
  • 50 grams all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 7 egg whites
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

Berry Compote

  • 130 grams blackberries fresh or frozen
  • 200 grams blueberries fresh or frozen
  • 25 grams sugar
  • 40 grams water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Honey Whipped Cream

  • 150 grams heavy cream
  • 30 grams honey
  • pinch fine salt

Assembly

  • Cold sweet corn pastry cream
  • Cooled almond dacquoise layers
  • Cooled berry compote

Instructions

Sweet Corn Pastry Cream

  • You're going to make corn milk first! To do this:
  • Shuck 2 ears of corn and discard the husks
  • Cut the kernels off both ears of corn. Set the kernels aside. You'll use these at the very end of the process!
  • Pour 280 grams of milk into a wide saucepan. Add the stripped corn cobs to the milk. Feel free to break the corn cobs in half to fit your pan
  • Bring the milk to a low boil, then turn the heat off and cover the saucepan. Let the milk and corn cobs steeps for 20 minutes
  • Remove the corn cobs from the milk, scraping all of the milk and bits of corn into the milk. Discard the cobs
  • Turn the heat back on and bring the corn milk back to a simmer
  • If you're staging this dessert over a few days, you can store the corn milk in the refrigerator for 2-3 days until you're ready to move on to the next step
  • In a medium-sized bowl, combine 50 grams sugar, 15 grams cornstarch, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Whisk well to blend
  • Add 2 egg yolks to the sugar-starch mixture one at a time. Whisk well after each addition to rub out any clumps
  • Add the egg to the mixture and whisk well to combine
  • Remove the simmering corn milk from the heat
  • Pour a small amount of corn milk (about 1/4 cup) of the milk into the egg-sugar-starch mixture, whisking constantly. Adding hot milk to the egg mixture slowly ensures that it combines well without cooking the eggs!
  • Keep slowly adding the warm milk to the egg mixture, whisking well
  • When all the milk has been added, pour the mixture back into the saucepan
  • Over medium heat, cook the mixture while whisking constantly
  • Keep heating until the pastry cream starts to thicken (don't stop whisking!)
  • Bring the pastry cream to a boil and let it boil for one full minute. You'll need to stop whisking for a few seconds at at time to see if bubbles are rising to the surface.
  • Once boiled for one minute, remove the pastry cream from the heat
  • Transfer the pastry cream to a deep, heatproof container (if using an immersion blender) or the jug of your blender (if using a blender)
  • Add 113 grams of butter and the reserved corn kernels to the container
  • Blend with an immersion blender or conventional blender to puree the pastry cream with the butter and corn kernels. Everything will get very silky and smooth, with a little texture from the corn kernels
  • Cover the pastry cream and let it chill for at least 6 hours or preferably overnight

Almond Dacquoise Layers

  • Preheat your oven to 320F
  • Line 3 8" cake pans with parchment paper on the bottom and sides of each pan. Set pans aside
  • Measure 250 grams of almond flour onto a baking sheet
  • Bake the almond flour, stirring occasionally, until it is light brown and fragrant – about 10 minutes. Almond flour will toast quickly, so check it every few minutes
  • Remove the toasted almond flour from the oven and set it aside to cool
  • Combine 7 egg whites and 1/2 tsp cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer (or large bowl to be used with a hand blender)
  • Whip the egg whites on high speed until they begin to foam
  • Once they begin foaming, begin gradually adding 100 grams of sugar while continuing to beat on high speed. You can add about 1 tablespoon at a time
  • Once all the sugar has been added, continue whipping until the egg white reach stiff peaks and look shiny
  • In a large bowl, combine the toasted almond flour, 200 grams sugar, 50 grams flour, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
  • Fold 1/2 of the meringue into the dry mixture with a rubber spatula, gently lifting and turning the mixture to partially blend them.
  • Add the other 1/2 of the meringue and continue folding until there are no large streaks of meringue or dry mix. If the mixture isn't 100% homogenous, don't worry – it is better to slightly undermix this mixture than overmix it
  • Divide the meringue batter between the 3 lined cake pans and gently spread out into flat-ish layers. Don't worry about making them perfectly smooth!
  • Bake the dacquoise layers for 25-30 minutes, until the tops are golden and crisp
  • Leave the pans in the oven but turn the oven off. Crack the door of the oven (I do this by sticking a wooden spoon into the door to hold it open)
  • Let the cake layers rest in the cooling oven for 1 hour

Berry Compote

  • Combine 130 grams blackberries , 200 grams blueberries, 25 grams sugar, and 40 grams water in a medium pot
  • Bring the mixture to a boil and continue cooking hard for 15-20 minutes, until purple syrup bubbles thickly and the blackberries break up easily when pressed with a spoon
  • When you can run a spatula along the bottom of the pot and the groove takes a couple seconds to fill in, turn off the heat
  • Stir in 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and cool completely

Honey Whipped Cream

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a medium-sized bowl with an electric mixer), whip 150 grams of cream, 30 grams honey, and a pinch of salt until it forms medium peaks
  • You want the cream to hold its shape when you pull a spatula through it, but not so firm that it's clumpy

Assembly

  • Place one dacquoise layer on a cake stand or serving tray
  • Dollop half of the sweet corn pastry cream on top of the dacquoise layer and spread it out into a circle slightly smaller than the cake layer. Leave a border free from pastry cream about 1/2" wide on all sides
  • Spoon half of the berry compote on top of the corn pastry cream and spread it gently. It will likely blend with the pastry cream a little – that's fine!
  • Add another dacquoise layer on top and repeat the pastry cream and compote additions
  • Add the third dacquoise layer on top
  • Spoon the honey whipped cream on top and spread it into a little mound
  • Top with fresh berries if desired!
  • While you can eat the cake immediately, I highly recommend placing the entire cake into the refrigerator and letting it rest for at least 8 hours or overnight. The layers will soften beautifully!

Did you make this recipe? Leave a comment or tag me on Instagram!



2 thoughts on “Sweet Corn and Berry Dacquoise”

  • 5 stars
    The final product is amazing and the recipe is quite easy for such a special outcome! I did feel a bit unsure with the directions for making the corn pastry cream. I ended up removing the corn kernels from the corn-infused milk to make the pastry cream… then once the creme pat came together I put the pastry cream, butter, and corn kernels all in the blender together. At this step I wasn’t sure if I was doing the right thing from the recipe instructions but it all turned out ok! When it came out of the blender the mixture seemed way too loose for pastry cream, but then it set up really nicely and was thick enough to hold its place on the dacquoise layers. I also used almond powder/meal (like what you would use for marzipan) in my dacquoise. As a result, my dacquoise layers seemed less thick and cake like but still really delicious. Can’t wait to make this again and again with different pastry cream/fruit variations. Although the corn pastry cream is so unique and every taster said it was the star of the dessert 🙂

    • Hi Jenna, thank you so much for the sweet note! I’m glad this turned out well for you. I’ll be sure to clarify the pastry cream instructions based on your feedback! 🙂

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