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Chocolate Marquise with Pomegranate Schnapps meringue

Marquise with meringue (see how creamy the mousse is)

Once again this month there was a great challenge.  This time Husband, who isn’t much of a dessert person unless it is chocolate was very pleased with the Marquise and since both kids were home from college, there were plenty of takers as it made a lot.  It looked a little daunting at first with quite a few steps, but once you get going it is actually not so difficult and the chocolate mousse portion is wonderful I would use the recipe unfrozen and served in a bowl all by itself.  It does need some pre-planning, but actually that you freeze the mousse mixture makes it nice for a fancy dinner because you basically make most of it ahead of time.  You only need to plate for a spectacular looking finish. It is also a pleasant surprise as it looks rather firm but is really a soft, smooth texture.  Since the original recipe makes so much (18 servings) also included are 1/2 and 1/4 version recipes.

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.

We had been at my Daughter’s graduation from University of Oklahoma up until only a couple of days before the deadline so I just didn’t have time to get very creative or do my usual procedure pictures but the ones provided by Emma and Jenny are wonderful so I followed their recipe available on the Daring Kitchen website.  I made only a few changes that I will note below in red and they turned out wonderfully.  I would definitely recommend giving them a try!

Servings:18 2.5″x2.5″ cubes

Ingredients
11 large egg yolks at room temperature
4 large whole eggs
2/3 cup (150 grams/ 5.3 oz) sugar
1/3 cup (2⅔ fluid oz/ 80 ml.) water
Chocolate Base, barely warm (recipe follows) (I used pomegranate schnapps and cinnamon instead of the tequilla and cayenne and honey instead of the corn syrup)
2 cups (16 fluid oz./ 500 ml.) heavy cream
2 cups 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)
Spiced almonds (recipe follows)  (instead of cayenne and salt I used 1/2 teaspoon bacon flavored seasoning salt and sliced almonds)
Cacao nibs (optional) Skipped

Instead of the tequilla caramel sauce I used some of my honey caramel sauce spiced up with 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1 tablespoon of the pomegranate schnapps.

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 (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 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. 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


Servings: n/a – this is an ingredient for the chocolate marquise, not meant to be used separately

Ingredients
12 oz (340 grams/ 1½ cups) bittersweet chocolate (about 70% cocoa)
12 oz (355 ml/ 1½ cups) heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 cup (60 ml/ 2 fluid oz.) tequila
1/4 cup (60 ml/ 2 fluid oz.) light corn syrup
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons/ less than an 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.)
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 oz unsalted butter (2 tbsps./30 grams), softened

Directions:

  1. Place the chocolate in a small mixing bowl.
  2. 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.
  3. Allow it to sit for a minute or two before stirring. Stir until the chocolate is melted completely and is smooth throughout.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.
  5. 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.


Torched Meringue


Servings: Makes about 4 – 5 cups of meringue. If you aren’t planning on serving *all* of the marquise at once, you might want to scale this recipe back a bit.

Ingredients
11 large egg whites
1 ¾ cups (14 oz or 395 gms) sugar
Splash of apple cider vinegar
1/2 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 broil.

Tequila Caramel


Servings: Makes about 1 cup of caramel

Ingredients
1 cup (8 oz.) sugar
1/2 cup (4 fluid oz./ 120 ml.) water
1 cup (8 fluid oz./ 240 ml.) heavy cream
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons 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.


Spiced Almonds


Servings: Makes about 1 cup of spiced almonds

Ingredients
1/2 cup (4 oz.) sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg white
1 cup (145 grams/ 5 oz.) blanched whole almonds

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or foil.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon, cayenne, and salt.
  3. In a larger mixing bowl whisk the egg white until it’s frothy and thick.
  4. Add the spice mix to the egg white and whisk to combine completely.
  5. Add the nuts to the egg white mixture and toss with a spoon.
  6. Spoon the coated nuts onto the parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
  7. 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.


Half Recipe Variations:

Half and quarter-batch recipes were provided by Audax Artifex, who’s done a fantastic job of reinterpreting the challenge into more reasonably-sized portions!
He said: I rounded up 5½ egg yolks to 6 egg yolks in the marquise recipe also I rounded up 5½ egg whites to 6 egg whites in the torched meringue this will not make a difference.


Chocolate Marquise


Servings: 9 2.5″x2.5″ (6⅓cm x 6⅓cm) cubes
Ingredients
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) (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)
Spiced almonds (recipe follows)
Cacao nibs (optional)


Chocolate Base


Servings: n/a – this is an ingredient for the chocolate marquise, not meant to be used separately
Ingredients
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 teaspoon cayenne
1/8 cup (30 ml/ 1 fluid oz.) tequila
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) 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.)
1/16 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 oz unsalted butter (1 tablespoon/15 grams), softened


Torched Meringue


Servings: Makes about 2 – 2½ cups of meringue. If you aren’t planning on serving *all* of the marquise at once, you might want to scale this recipe back a bit.
Ingredients
6 large egg whites
¾ cup + 2 tablespoons (210 ml) (7 oz or 200 gms) sugar
Splash of apple cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla


Tequila Caramel


Servings: Makes about 1/2 cup of caramel
Ingredients
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 tablespoon tequila


Quarter Recipe Variations:


Chocolate Marquise


Servings: 6 2″x2″ (5cmx5cm) cubes
Ingredients
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)
Spiced almonds (recipe follows)
Cacao nibs (optional)


Chocolate Base


Servings: n/a – this is an ingredient for the chocolate marquise, not meant to be used separately
Ingredients
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 cayenne
1 tablespoon (15 ml/ 1/2 fluid oz.) tequila
1 tablespoon (15 ml/ 1/2 fluid oz.) light corn syrup
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


Torched Meringue


Servings: Makes about 1 cup of meringue.
Ingredients
3 large egg whites
1/2 cup less 1 tablespoon (105 ml) (3½ oz or 100 gms) sugar
Splash of apple cider vinegar
1/8 teaspoon vanilla

Tequila Caramel
Servings: Makes about 1/4 cup of caramel
Ingredients
1/4 cup (60 ml/2 fluid oz) (2 oz/55 gm) sugar
2 tablespoons (1 fluid oz./ 30 ml.) water
1/4 cup (2 fluid oz./ 60 ml.) heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon tequila

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