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Daring Kitchen – Chocolate Marquise on a bed of Swiss Meringue served with Swiss Chilli Chocolate Strawberries, drizzled with Salty Caramel Sauce

I seem to say this every month, but this was by far my favourite challenge.

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.

I omitted the tequila, but I think it would add another dimension to the flavour. Its really important to use Dutch Process Cocoa / Alkanised Cocoa (see the differences here). I have included the Spiced almond recipe that I attempted but ended up burning but I felt chilli chocolate strawberries would be better suited.

Chocolate Marquise
Servings: 9
Ingredients
6 large egg yolks at room temperature
2 large eggs
75 grams sugar
40 ml water
Chocolate Base, barely warm (recipe follows)
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup Dutch process cocoa powder (for rolling) (I used Green and Blacks)
Torched meringue (recipe follows)
Spiced almonds (recipe follows)
Directions
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
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 greaseproof baking paper (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 baking paper ‘handles’ or by flipping it over onto another piece of baking paper.
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 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, spicy, salty, bitter, and sweet sensations on your palate.
Chocolate Base

Ingredients
170 grams bittersweet chocolate (about 70% cocoa)
180 ml heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
30ml tequila
30 ml syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons dutch process cocoa powder
1/16 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon of butter
Torched Meringue
Ingredients
6 large egg whites
200gr sugar
Splash of apple cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
Directions
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.
Tequila Caramel

Ingredients
1/2 cup sugar
60 ml) water
120 ml) heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon tequila
Directions
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 and tequila and stir to combine. Set aside until ready to serve.
Torched Meringue (Swiss method)

Ingredients

6 large egg whites
200gr sugar
Splash of apple cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
Directions:
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 grill, alternatively place it under a preheated grill.
Spiced Almonds
Servings: Makes about 1 cup of spiced almonds
Ingredients
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg white
1 cup blanched whole almonds
Directions
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or foil.
In a small bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon, cayenne, and salt.
In a larger mixing bowl whisk the egg white until it’s frothy and thick.
Add the spice mix to the egg white and whisk to combine completely.
Add the nuts to the egg white mixture and toss with a spoon.
Spoon the coated nuts onto the parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
Bake the nuts for 30 minutes, or until they turn light brown. Allow the nuts to cool completely and they will get very crunchy. Set aside until ready to serve.

Chilli Chocolate Strawberries

Melt Lindt Chilli Chocolate and dip strawberries. Alternatively, fan the strawberries and drizzle with chocolate.

Edit: Have a look at my new blog: www.coldcuppaclub.com

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