May - my first daring bakers challenge. I have been tempted by this group. The things they bake look for the most part insanely good yet difficult. The thing that intrigued me most was the bakers interpretations of the selection. I love to see how one recipe gets transformed in the kitchens of bakers around the world. I wanted to be a part of this. I wanted to see what I could create. When I saw the first challenge I got cold feet and thought that I certainly could not make this. Look at how long the directions are! Once I read through it and took it piece by piece I realized it was manageable and I could do it.
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 desert they prepared at a restaurant in Seattle. I have been to a lot of restaurants and I don't recall a marquise on the menu. Maybe the marquise was on the menu but, I did not know what it was so a passed it by. Either way how uncultured of me! I know now to not pass up this decadent little chocolate pillow. The original recipe included tequila and spices. I have never liked the chocolate with the spice in it so, I decided to go a slightly different route and include espresso, peanut butter and honey. Once I figured out how I was going to alter the flavors and how I would make it over two days I need to figure out when I would serve this. We hosted a kick off to summer lobster roll dinner party over Memorial Day weekend and the final piece fell into place. I cut the marquise into star shapes for the holiday and it got rave reviews from the guests. I had several girls help with the assembly and I may have gotten a bit militant. They are still joking about my mantra ... cut, dust, plate, drizzle with a shoot out, shoot out, and add nuts! I was nuts. It was not that hard, it was time consuming, it tasted fantastic and was a very impressive dessert to serve at the end of a very fun night. I am excited for the June challenge.
(half recipe) servings: 9 2.5"x2.5" (6⅓cm x 6⅓cm) cubes
* 8*8 pan with parchment
6 large egg yolks at room temperature
2 large eggs
1/3 cup (75 grams/ 2⅔ oz) sugar
2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons (1⅓ fluid oz/ 40 ml.) water
chocolate base, barely warm (recipe follows)
1 cup (8 fluid oz./ 250 ml.) heavy cream
1 cup Dutch process cocoa powder (for rolling)
Torched meringue (recipe follows)
honey roasted peanuts
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 (as seen in the following pictures).
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 pan 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, and nuts) are ready.
Plate with the torched meringue and drizzled caramel sauce, and honey roasted peanuts 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. The soft pillows of chocolate are what make this dessert so unusual and when combined with the other elements, you’ll get creamy and crunchy textures with cool, salty, bitter, and sweet sensations on your palate.
*an ingredient for the chocolate marquise, not meant to be used separately
6 oz (170 grams/ ¾ cups) bittersweet chocolate (about 70% cocoa)
¾ cups (180 ml/6 fluid oz.) heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 cup (30 ml/ 1 fluid oz.) espresso
1/8 cup (30 ml/ 1 fluid oz.) light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 cup (2 tablespoons/less than 1/2 ounce) dutch processed cocoa powder
1/2 oz unsalted butter (1 tablespoon/15 grams), softened
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
servings: ~ 2 – 2½ cups of meringue.
6 large egg whites
¾ cup + 2 tablespoons (210 ml) (7 oz or 200 grams) sugar
Splash of apple cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
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.
peanut butter caramel
servings: ~ 1/2 cup of caramel
1/2 cup (120 ml/4 fluid oz) (4 oz/115 gm) sugar
1/4 cup (2 fluid oz./60 ml) water
1/2 cup (4 fluid oz./120 ml) heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 tablespoon honey
In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the sugar and water on medium-high heat. Boil until the water completely evaporates and the sugar caramelizes to a dark mahogany color.
Working quickly, add the cream to the darkened caramel. It will bubble and pop vigorously, so add only as much cream as you can without overflowing the pot.
Return the pot to the stove on low heat and whisk gently to break up any hardened sugar. Add any remaining cream and continue stirring. Gradually, the hard sugar will dissolve and the caramel sauce will continue to darken. When the caramel has darkened to the point you want it, remove it from the heat. Add the salt honey, and peanut butter and stir to combine. Set aside until ready to serve.