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Daring Bakers: Chocolate Marquise

Friday, May 27, 2011

The May 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Emma of CookCraftGrow and Jenny of Purple House Dirt. They chose to challenge everyone to make a Chocolate Marquise. The inspiration for this recipe comes from a dessert they prepared at a restaurant in Seattle.

Get the full original recipe in pdf here.

At first glance, the recipe looked terribly complicated. A litany of ingredients and instructions, and several components to the dishit was too much to take in at one go. However, a second look showed that while it was complex, it wasn't as difficult as it seemed. It's a chef's recipe, I suppose, and if it were written for the "common folk", then we would all be professional chefs, wouldn't we?

While there should be some adherence to the recipe, I think if the quantity of ingredients for the mousse part of the marquise isn't absolutely exact, it would still come out not only edible, but luscious too.

A chocolate marquise is a mousse. When I consulted Larousse Gastronomique about this confection, I found that there is also a drink with the same name. Here's the recipe: 

From Larousse Gastronomique
Dissolve 500g sugar in a little water, then add a bottle of dry white wine and 1 litre sparkling mineral water. Cut 2 lemons into thin slices, remove the seeds and add them to the drink. Store in the refrigerator and serve with ice cubes.

All the chocolate marquise recipes I looked up contain butter and quite a lot too. Nothing against butter, but I think egg yolks, chocolate and cream are sufficient for a lovely dessert, so I'm glad this one doesn't have a substantial amount of it.

I used the recipe that yielded the smallest quantity (thanks to Audax Artifax for scaling it down), but modified it slightly. While I used all the ingredients (except for substituting tequila with cognac), I didn't follow the directions exactly. I used the sabayon/zabaglione method where egg yolks are beaten in a double boiler. This avoids cooking the sugar to soft ball stage. I don't know about anyone else, but I find trying to use a candy thermometer (one of those that hook on to the side of the pot) for such a small amount of sugar syrup isn't easy.

Many years ago I learned that adding cornstarch to egg yolks when they are heated (for example, when making a custard) will prevent them from curdling so that's what I've done. Good tip since my eggs have never seized up since following this advice.

Roll the whole slice in cocoa powder, or just dredge the top
Serves 6
120ml heavy cream
3 egg yolks at room temperature
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon cornstarch
Chocolate Base, barely warm (recipe follows)
½ cup Dutch process cocoa powder (for rolling)
Mint Meringue Clouds (recipe follows)
Almond praline (recipe follows)
Tequila caramel (see pdf)
  • Grease a small loaf pan with vegetable oil and line with 2 layers of cling film, making sure there is about 8cm of overhang on all sides.
  • Whip the heavy cream until it forms stiff peaks. Place in the refrigerator while preparing the other components.
  • Place egg yolks, sugar, water and cornstarch in a large mixing bowl (metal or glass) over a saucepan of simmering water. Using an electric hand mixer, whisk the eggs until thick, pale and have doubled in volume.
  • Remove from the heat and fold in the chocolate base. Stir in a third of the whipped cream to loosen the mixture, then fold in the rest of the cream.
  • Spoon into prepared pan, smoothing the top. Fold the overhanging cling film onto the surface of the marquise; freeze until firm.
  • When ready to serve, remove marquise from pan using the cling film overhang. Dredge the loaf in cocoa powder before slicing, or cut into thick slices and roll in cocoa powder before plating with meringue clouds, almond praline, Tequila caramel and fruit*. 
*The fruit in the first picture are red dragon fruit formed with a melon baller.

    Chocolate Base
    90ml heavy cream
    85g bittersweet chocolate, chopped
    Pinch of salt
    Pinch of cayenne pepper
    1 tablespoon cognac
    1 tablespoon light corn syrup
    ¼ teaspoon vanilla
    1 tablespoon Dutch-processed cocoa powder
    Dash freshly ground black pepper 
    ½ tablespoon butter, softened
    • Heat cream in the microwave (do no allow to boil) and pour onto chocolate; allow chocolate to melt, then add the rest of the ingredients; stir to incorporate.
        Makes about 18 cookies 
        2 egg whites
        Pinch of salt 
        ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
        6 tablespoons castor sugar
        Splash of apple cider vinegar 
        ½ teaspoon mint essence 
        ⅛ teaspoon vanilla
        1 teaspoon cornstarch
        • Preheat the oven to 150°C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
        • Place egg whites, salt and cream of tartar in a metal or glass mixing bowl; whisk together until frothy. With an electric mixer, start whisking the eggs and gradually add the sugar one tablespoon at a time, making sure the sugar is fully incorporated after each tablespoon. When the eggs form stiff peaks, fold in the vinegar, mint essence, vanilla and cornstarch.  
        • Place meringue in a piping bag with a large fluted nozzle and pipe rosettes 5cm apart on the baking sheet. Place in the oven and immediately turn down the temperature to120°C. Bake cookies until dry and crisp and they come off the parchment paper easily. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. 
        Makes 1 cup 
        ½ cup sugar  
        ½ cup slivered almonds 
        • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a dry heavy saucepan cook sugar over moderately low heat, stirring slowly until melted and pale golden. Cook caramel, without stirring, swirling pan, until deep golden. Add almonds, stirring until coated well, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Working quickly, with a metal spatula spread mixture onto foil about 0.5cm thick and cool until set, about 3 minutes. Chill praline on paper until hard, about 15 minutes. Chop praline. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

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