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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.

This is my first daring challenge, and wow… what a challenge. I never tasted the chocolate marquise before or even know it. Thank you Emma and jenny for sharing the recipe.

The Chocolate Marquise to me looks like frozen chocolate mousse or soft ice-cream when it melt. very delicious rich chocolate flavor smooth and sweet. can be served a long with different flavors, just make sure it complement with the chocolate.

In my version of chocolate marquise tried to substitute the tequila with the orange juice and add zest of orange to enhance more orange flavor hmm yummy… and omit the cayenne, the meringue looks really like marshmallow cream.

I did the quarter recipe and it was considered huge for my little family, so I served half of it and kept the rest in the freezer for another serving (it can be frozen up to six months).

The first time served it with fresh mango and strawberry salad, it adds more freshness to the chocolate. The second with roasted peanuts – caramel popcorn and it was wonderful, the popcorn adds crunching and saltines to harmony with the caramel (every ones favourit)and completed with the creamy chocolate and the meringue.

Here is my presentations:

Chocolate Marquise with Fresh Mango and Strawberry Salad 

The Chocolate Marquise with the meringue topped with the fruit salad, roasted almond, caramel sauce.

Prepare the pan and line it with parchment papers.

For the Chocolate Marquise (the quarter recipe) :

3 large egg yolks at room temperature
1 large egg
2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon  water
Chocolate Base, barely warm (recipe follows)
½ cup  heavy cream
½ cup Dutch process cocoa powder (for rolling)

For the Chocolate Base:

3 oz  bittersweet chocolate (I used cherardelli 60% coco)
1/3 cup + 2 teaspoons  heavy cream
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon orange juice
zest of an orange
1 tablespoon 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), softened

Begin with the chocolate base to let it cool down a little to use it in the marquise recipe.

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

Continue with the Chocolate Marquise recipe, 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  (235F/115C).

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 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 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 into another piece of parchment.

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

For the torched meringue:

3 large egg whites
1/2 cup less 1 tablespoon  sugar
Splash of apple cider vinegar
1/8 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 into a plate (or use a piping bag) and use a blowtorch to broil.

For the Caramel sauce:

1 cup sugar
1\2 cup water
1 teaspoon light corn syrup
1\4 teaspoon lemon juice fresh
1 cup heavy cream

In a pan put the sugar then the water, let the sugar soak and try to wipe any sugar on the sides of the pan (because if sugar didn’t desolve completely it will crystallize),bring it to boil on medium – high heat until almost all the water evaporates and the sugar Carmelites to a dark mahogany color.

Add the corn syrup and the lemon juice, 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 stir to combine. Set aside until ready to serve.

For the Spiced almonds:

Makes about 1 cup of spiced almonds

1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg white
1 cup blanched whole almonds

reheat the oven to 350F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or foil.

In a small bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon,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.

For the fresh mango strawberry salad:

mango diced
strawberries diced
fresh mint leaves
fresh orange juice
sugar
drops of lemon squeeze

Combine all ingredient, let it in the fridge to cool, use it fresh.

Chococlate Marquise with Roasted Peanuts Caramel Popcorn

The same recipe of the chocolate marquise as above, and the same meringue.

for the peanut caramel popcorn

Roast the peanuts either in the oven or on the pan on the top of the stove,  let it cool down a little, heat he caramel on the microwave add the popcorn and the peanuts (the caramel will harden a little).