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.
When I first saw this recipe I was fairly frightened by it. It had so many components and it seemed quite challenging. To be completely honest, I was afraid it will turn into total disaster. But then I set down and read the recipe for couple of times. After carefully reading it I made an attack plan and decided to start this challenge early in the month, so if everything goes wrong I’d still have a chance to do it all over aging.
Recipe that was presented by Emma and Jen was very detailed and I had no difficulties following it, only problem was that it was calling for kitchen gadgets I didn’t have – candy thermometer and a blowtorch. Well I wasn’t about to let such a small details get in my way.
Finding a candy thermometer wasn’t a problem, I simply borrowed it form a friend of mine. Blowtorch, on the other hand, was a completely different story. As it turns out blowtorch is very difficult to come by in Croatia. Well, I could’ve bought one but I wasn’t ready to spend a small fortune on it and Amazon still doesn’t deliver kitchen appliances to my country. So I had to be resourceful and decided to use plain kitchen lighter instead of a blowtorch. And guess what? It worked like a charm!
I decided to make only a quarter of the recipe as I wasn’t sure how it will turn out. Since I was rather pleased with final result I think I’ll be making the whole quantity next time. And there will be a next time for sure. :)
Mandatory parts of this challenge were chocolate marquise and meringue and everything else was optional so I experimented with spices and caramel. I added cinnamon, allspice and coriander to marquise and instead of tequila I used pear rakija. Rakija is a our local brandy which is very popular allover the Balkans. I don’t really like to drink it, it’s way to strong for my taste but it was interesting addition to marquise. Also, I made some candied kumquats and aceto balsamico sauce to accompany the dessert.
I had some trouble photographing my fished challenge, it’s been really hot here these past few weeks and my marquis was melting rather quickly. Nevertheless dessert was delicious and I’m going to make it again for sure.
3 large egg yolks at room temperature
1 large egg
2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons (40 ml) (40 grams/ 1½ oz) sugar
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon (2/3 fluid oz/ 20 ml.) water
chocolate Base, barely warm (recipe follows)
½ cup (4 fluid oz./ 120 ml.) heavy cream
½ cup dutch process cocoa powder (for rolling) (Note: We used extra brut, like Hershey's Special Dark. make sure it's a dutch processed cocoa, not a natural cocoa powder.)
torched meringue (recipe follows)
3 oz (85 grams/ 6 tablespoons) bittersweet chocolate (about 70% cocoa)
1/3 cup + 2 teaspoons (90 ml/3 fluid oz.) heavy cream
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/16 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of allspice
pinch of coriander
1 tablespoon (15 ml/ 1/2 fluid oz.) rakija
1 tablespoon (15 ml/ 1/2 fluid oz.) agave nectar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon/(less than 1/4 ounce) cocoa powder (we used extra brut, like Hershey's Special Dark, but any Dutch-processed cocoa would be fine. Do not substitute natural cocoa powder.)
dash freshly ground black pepper
1/4 oz unsalted butter (1/2 tablespoon/8 grams), softened
3 large egg whites
1/2 cup less 1 tablespoon (105 ml) (3½ oz or 100 g) sugar
splash of apple cider vinegar
1/8 teaspoon vanilla
100 ml water
100 g sugar
50 g kumquats sliced and seeded
2 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice
aceto balsamico sauce
300 ml aceto blasamico
2 tablespoon sugar
30 g chocolate
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the egg yolks and whole eggs. Whip on high speed until very thick and pale, about 10 - 15 minutes.
- When the eggs are getting close to finishing, make a sugar syrup by combining the sugar and water in a small saucepan. Bring the syrup to a boil and then cook to softball stage (235F/115C). If you have a cake tester with a metal loop for a handle, the right stage for the syrup is reached when you can blow a bubble through the loop.
- With the mixer running on low speed, drizzle the sugar syrup into the fluffy eggs, trying to hit that magic spot between the mixing bowl and the whisk.
- When all of the syrup has been added (do it fairly quickly), turn the mixer back on high and whip until the bowl is cool to the touch. This will take at least 10 minutes.
- In a separate mixing bowl, whip the heavy cream to soft peaks. Set aside.
- When the egg mixture has cooled, add the chocolate base to the egg mixture and whisk to combine. Try to get it as consistent as possible without losing all of the air you've whipped into the eggs. We used the stand mixer for this, and it took about 1 minute.
- Fold 1/3 of the reserved whipped cream into the chocolate mixture to loosen it, and then fold in the remaining whipped cream.
- Pour into the prepared pans and cover with plastic wrap (directly touching the mixture so it doesn't allow in any air).
- Freeze until very firm, at least 2 - 4 hours (preferably 6 – 8 hours).
- When you're ready to plate, remove the marquise from the freezer at least 15 minutes before serving. While it's still hard, remove it from the pan by pulling on the parchment 'handles' or by flipping it over onto another piece of parchment.
- Cut it into cubes and roll the cubes in cocoa powder. These will start to melt almost immediately, so don't do this step until all of your other plating components (meringue, caramel, spiced nuts, cocoa nibs) are ready. The cubes need to sit in the fridge to slowly thaw so plating components can be done during that time. They don’t need to be ready before the cubes are rolled in the cocoa powder.
- Plate with the torched meringue and drizzled caramel sauce, and toss spiced almonds and cocoa nibs around for garnish. You want to handle the cubes as little as possible because they get messy quickly and are difficult to move. However, you want to wait to serve them until they've softened completely.
- Place the chocolate in a small mixing bowl.
- In a double-boiler, warm the cream until it is hot to the touch (but is not boiling). Remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate.
- Allow it to sit for a minute or two before stirring. Stir until the chocolate is melted completely and is smooth throughout.
- Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.
- Set aside until cooled to room temperature. Do not refrigerate, as the base needs to be soft when added to the marquise mixture. If you make it the day before, you may need to warm it slightly. Whisk it until it is smooth again before using it in the marquise recipe.
- Combine the egg whites, sugar and vinegar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using your (clean, washed) hand, reach in the bowl and stir the three together, making sure the sugar is moistened evenly by the egg whites and they make a homogeneous liquid.
- Over a saucepan of simmering water, warm the egg white mixture. Use one hand to stir the mixture continuously, feeling for grains of sugar in the egg whites. As the liquid heats up, the sugar will slowly dissolve and the egg whites will thicken. This step is complete when you don't feel any more sugar crystals in the liquid and it is uniformly warm, nearly hot.
- Remove the mixing bowl from the saucepan and return it to the stand mixer with the whisk attachment. Whisk until you reach soft peaks. In the last 10 seconds of mixing, add the vanilla to the meringue and mix thoroughly.
- When you're ready to plate the dessert, spoon the meringue onto a plate (or use a piping bag) and use a blowtorch to broil.
- In a heavy saucepan, combine the water and sugar and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the kumquats, being careful not to overcrowd your pan.
- Reduce the heat to a simmer and let the fruit become translucent, about 20-30 minutes.
- Remove the fruit with a slotted spoon and place it, separating the slices, on a piece of parchment paper.
- Add orange juice to eltied sugar mixture and continue to simmer until tick sauce is formed.
- Chill kumquats and orange sauce and serve with marquise.
aceto balsamico sauce
- In a small sauce pan, combine sugar and aceto balsamico. Bring it to boil over medium heat.
- Turn down the heat and boil until aceto is reduced to thick sauce.
- Add chocolate and stir well to combine. Let it cool down at room temperature and then in the fridge.
- You can serve this sauce with all sorts of desserts.