Questions of origin and composition aside, this is a dessert to swoon over—soft yet crunchy, rich yet light. Soon after assembly, the meringue starts to yield and the flavors begin to meld; within hours you have an incredible amalgam whose sum is greater than its parts. I've tasted dozens of dacquoises, but my favorite is the one served at New York City's venerable La Cote Basque. Created by former pastry chef Jean-Pierre Mason in 1979, it contains almond-hazelnut meringue, coffee buttercream, bittersweet ganache, and sliced almonds. The recipe has remained virtually unchanged for the past 20 years; sometimes it's best not to tinker with perfection.