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Marquise on Meringue

Daring Bakers
May 2011

At long last, it’s finally time to spring our big dessert surprise on our Daring (and Darling) Bakers! May is just about time for fresh fruits and ice creams, but before we embrace summertime completely, we wanted to bring you an absolutely over-the-top chocolate dessert – just in time for Mother’s Day (and any other chocoholic celebrations).

Emma of CookCraftGrow and I, Jenny of Purple House Dirt, met while in pastry school nearly a decade ago, and ever since we’ve been baking together whenever we have a chance. Many years ago we worked side-by-side at a local restaurant where we learned this dessert, a chocolate marquise, and because it was unlike anything we’d learned in school, we kept it in our repertoires for truly special occasions.

Download printable file HERE

When we learned we’d be hosting a Daring Bakers challenge, we knew this was the dessert to share with all the other bakers willing to take it on.

Why is this dessert so special? Well, for starters, it’s rare for us to meet anyone who’s even heard of a marquise, much less tasted one. Nobody makes this dessert anymore. I found a recipe for it in a professional pastry curriculum, but I’ve almost never seen it in mainstream cookbooks, and rarely is it written about online (although there seem to be plenty of photographs). We’d better share it if we want to keep it alive.

It’s also a fairly involved dessert, if you make all of the components. Imagine a cube of spicy and creamy chocolate resting on a tuft of something that tastes like burnt marshmallow cream, drizzled with tequila caramel, spicy nuts, and some cacao nibs. Yum. But take away all of those accoutrements, and you have a lot of technique in these recipes, things you may not get to do every day. When was the last time you worked with a frozen mousse? Boiled meringue? A blowtorch?

And because this is such an egg-heavy dessert, we’ve been joined in the kitchen by Ashlae of Ladycakes, who did the heavy-lifting to ‘veganize’ these recipes. Her amazing interpretations are at the end of this post, and there’s even a gallery of photos showing the vegan chocolate marquise as well.

We hope you enjoy this challenge as much as we’ve enjoyed sharing it with you. We’re constantly blown away by the breadth and depth of baking challenge responses, so given the nature of this chocolate dessert, we’re really looking forward to the results. Good luck, and have fun!

Recipe Source: Emma and Jenny learned how to make this marquise dessert when they worked together at a Seattle restaurant. The recipe is adapted from one developed by Bennie Sata, a Seattle-area pastry chef who introduced the city to one of its iconic chocolate desserts. All vegan recipes were created by Ashlae of Ladycakes.

Blog-checking lines: 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.

Posting Date: May 27, 2011

Note: This recipe was created in a commercial kitchen for restaurant-sized equipment and portions, but we have scaled it down for use in the home kitchen. That said, it still makes two pans of marquise - approximately 18 servings of substantial heft. But don't be deterred. The finished marquise freezes perfectly for up to 6 months if well-wrapped, and it makes the best dinner party and special occasion dessert you'll ever pull from your freezer. Plus, halving the remaining ingredients meant odd measurements in the mixer, like 1/16 teaspoon and half-eggs, so we decided to bring this to you in the size we each use at home.

Mandatory Items: The marquise and the meringue are mandatory items. All other components are optional, but really do make this a complete (and outrageously decadent) dessert.

Variations allowed: Because the marquise relies on chocolate for its structure, its primary flavor needs to be chocolate, but the spices we added (cayenne, tequila, black pepper) are really very personal and you can adjust those when making the chocolate base. Additionally, if you've decided to make the caramel, you can opt towards another liquor (rum and brandy are particularly nice), or make a non-alcoholic version. The nuts can be of any variety, spiced in whatever fashion you prefer, though they work best if they mimic the flavors of the chocolate base and are crunchy.

Again, because this dessert relies so heavily on chocolate, eggs, cream, and sugar, it would be impossible to make it egg-free. With a little experimentation you might be able to make it dairy-free, using products like MimicCreme or other non-dairy substitutes that whip or process with volume. And at first glance we'd like so say this is a gluten-free dessert, but neither of us are true GF bakers and would urge anyone who is to give it a thorough review before making the same assumption. Luckily for us, we got some help from the incredible Ashlae at Ladycakes, who stepped in and helped us convert three of these recipes into vegan-speak. She’s turned our total eggy recipe into a fantastic tofu-based version, and she’s provided some pictures of the resulting dessert as well (a link to the vegan slideshow is at the bottom of this page).

Preparation time: Start to finish, about 8 hours including cooling and freezing time, but this is best done over two days, with a full night for freezing the marquise.

Equipment required:Parchment lined pans
2 8"x8" square pans, lined with parchment paper
Stand mixer or a hand mixer and someone to stand over it for 15 – 20 minutes uninterrupted
Parchment paper
Whisk
Blowtorch
Saucepan
Sheet pan
Candy thermometer or cake tester
Spatulas for folding, spooning, and otherwise scraping
Mixing bowls
Plastic wrap


Chocolate Marquise


Plated marquise
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)
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)
Cacao nibs (optional)

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).

Blowing a sugar bubble Sugar bubble

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.

Drizzle in sugar syrup

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.

Cooled eggs

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.

Combining the chocolate and eggs Combined chocolate and eggs

Fold 1/3 of the reserved whipped cream into the chocolate mixture to loosen it, and then fold in the remaining whipped cream.

Fold in the whipped cream

Pour into the prepared pans and cover with plastic wrap (directly touching the mixture so it doesn't allow in any air).

Pour into pans

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.

Unmold the frozen marquise

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.

Rolling in 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.

Completed marquise


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.
Softened chocolate base


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.

Sugar and egg whites

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.

Smooth egg mixture

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.

Whipped meringue

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.

Torching the meringue


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.

Darkening caramel

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.

Stir fast!

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.

Finished caramel


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.
Spiced almonds


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


Vegan Recipe Variations:


Our vegan recipes come from Ashlae of Ladycakes, who we’re going to call our little vegan miracle-worker. Ashlae took a look at all of our recipes and went to work adapting and testing – and finally came up with some amazing substitutions that neither Emma nor I would have been capable of doing. She’s offered three recipes below, a chocolate pudding that can be frozen, a meringue that torches beautifully, and a caramel sauce for drizzling.


Vegan Chocolate Pudding


(http://ladycakesbakes.blogspot.com/)

Ingredients
1 package Mori- Nu soft silken tofu (approximately 12.3 oz.)
1 cup up vegan chocolate chips (approximately 6 oz.)
1 Tablespoon vegan butter (approximately ½ oz.)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. In a food processor, blend the tofu until it is creamy and lump-free; keep in food processor and set aside.
  2. In a double boiler over medium heat, melt the butter into the chocolate chips until smooth. Once melted, remove from heat and cool for 10 minutes.
  3. Pour chocolate mixture and vanilla extract into food processor; blend with tofu until combined.
  4. Pour into molds and freeze for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
  5. Continue with the Chocolate Marquise recipe (where you roll in cocoa powder), substituting the appropriate recipe for your meringue and caramel sauce.

Notes: Make sure you do not use water-packed tofu, it will not work with this recipe Mori-Nu is available at Whole Foods and on Amazon. If you like an intense chocolate flavor, try using 1 ½ cup chocolate chips (or 9 oz.) instead of 1 cup. Also, make sure you do not instantly pour the hot chocolate into the tofu – it will make it curdle.


Vegan Meringue


Ingredients
1 cup water, cold
1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoon EnerG egg replacer
1 teaspoon agar-agar powder
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Directions:

  1. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine ¾ cup water and the egg replacer; beat on highest speed for 6-8 minutes, or until stiff peaks form.
  2. While the base is mixing, combine the remaining ¼ cup water and agar-agar powder in a saucepan over medium heat; stir constantly, just until the mixture starts to thicken (this should only take1-2 minutes).
  3. Once the base mixture forms stiff peaks, pour in agar-agar mixture, vanilla extract and lemon juice; mix until combined.
  4. Turn off mixer and sift in powdered sugar. Resume mixing on high speed until the stiff peaks return.
  5. Transfer to piping bag and use immediately.
Vegan Meringue

Notes: If you do not have a powdered egg replacer available in your area, contact me and we will figure out an alternative. EnerG egg replacer is available at most grocery stores, as well as Amazon.


Vegan Caramel Drizzle


Ingredients
¼ cup water
1 cup cane sugar
2 Tablespoon vegan butter
¼ cup coconut milk
dash of pure vanilla extract (or molasses)

Directions:

  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, mix together the water and sugar; stir until just combined then allow the mixture to bubble for 3-4 minutes, or until it is amber in color.
  2. Stir in the vegan butter, coconut milk and vanilla extract; whisk for 1-2 minutes (it should be bubbling during this time).
  3. Remove from heat and transfer to a heatproof bowl.
  4. Refrigerate for at least 75 minutes before using - for best results, overnight.


Additional Information:

Disclaimer:

*Note: The Daring Kitchen and its members in no way suggest we are medical professionals and therefore are NOT responsible for any error in reporting of “alternate baking/cooking” ingredients. If you have issues with digesting gluten, then it is YOUR responsibility to research the ingredient before using it. If you have allergies, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure any ingredient in a recipe will not adversely affect you. If you are lactose intolerant, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure any ingredient in a recipe will not adversely affect you. If you are vegetarian or vegan, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure any ingredient in a recipe will not adversely affect you. The responsibility is YOURS regardless of what health issue you’re dealing with. Please consult your physician with any questions before using an ingredient you are not familiar with. Thank you! Smile

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Adapted by Jenny and Emma from a recipe developed by Bennie Sata, a Seattle-area pastry chef