I’ve had a slight hiccup with the Jupiter cake tutorial: I have the video done but it just won’t save! All my attempts at troubleshooting haven’t worked so I’m having to sort that out. I’ll have it for you soon!
In lieu of that, it’s time to move on to the Daring Baker’s challenge this month!
This month’s challenge was entitled ‘Eenie Meenie Miney Moe!’ In a celebration of past Daring Baker and Daring Cook challenges, Lisa challenged all of us to search through the Daring Kitchen archives and pick any one we’d like. The real challenge was picking which delicious recipe to try!
I set about trying to find the hardest recipe I could. I was going to challenge myself to the most ludicrous challenge I could find. But I struggled to find something that scared me. The most fearsome challenges I’d heard about from other bakers were things I have or now regularly bake: french macarons, joconde, croquembouche. The desserts I hadn’t tried all used techniques I’m familiar with. It was actually a nice moment to reflect on how far I’ve come and how much I’ve learned over the last 3 years.
I couldn’t find something as challenging as I’d wanted, but there was one…
The chocolate marquise. It was the challenge from May 2011. I’d never heard of it before and it looked divine. But the recipe was massive and had a bunch of pressure points that seemed difficult, so I decided to take it on.
I discovered as I made it that it wasn’t that scary, but it does force you to plan ahead. You need to be organised and to think through the components, particularly during plating. You have to have a plan of attack and stick to it. I’m a hot mess in the kitchen so perhaps this was the biggest challenge of all…
You’ll want to start by measuring out all your ingredients and having them ready to go. There’s a few moments along the recipe where there’s no time to stop and measure out the next component, so do it all at the start.
The order of approaching things is up to you, but I found this the best method.
First, you’re going to want to get started on your chocolate base. It’s basically a chocolate ganache with lovely things added in.
It needs to cool to room temp, so it’s good to get this done and let it sit while you work on your marquise.
This step is great if you have a stand mixer, potentially chaotic if you don’t. If you can improvise, do. The one thing I like about hand mixers is that it forces you to concentrate on the mixture so you don’t overbeat anything, but in this case I needed my hands…
… because there’s a sugar syrup to make while it beats. This is the one you really want to focus on because it can burn in a jiffy.
When it gets to temperature, you have to add it to your beaten eggs. The eggs will be cool and the sugar syrup will stiffen quickly so you want to get the sugar to hit right where the beaters are so it gets incorporated into the mix. I recommend not trying to pour and beat and take photos all at the same time – I had an impressive blister on my hand after getting sugar syrup on it.
Now you’ll beat some cream up and combine it all together. this stage is really important as what you do here will determine the final texture of the marquise. If you over-beat the cream, the texture will be really dense. The same will likely happen if you don’t gently fold through the mixture. Be gentle and take your time and the results will pay off.
And you get pretty stripes! The cream should really easily fold into the chocolate mixture. If it does, you know you’ve done it right.
When it’s done you should have a bowl full of smooth chocolateyness. You shouldn’t lose much height during this stage if you’re gentle with your folding.
Cover it with plastic wrap, freeze it, then you’re free to begin the next three components whenever suits you.
All three of these can be prepared in advance.
First I started on the spiced almonds. It involves a little egg white, some spices and the result is delicious.
These were served whole in the challenge recipe provided, but decided to pulse them quickly in the food processor for aesthetic appeal but also because I thought I would work better texturally when eating it.
Next comes the caramel sauce.
Again, I made some changes here and made it a salted caramel instead. The original recipes has tequila in this and in the marquise, but we loathe boozy desserts so it was staying out. Do be careful here as the sugar syrup boils up quite a lot the moment the cream is added and creates quite a lot of steam.
Lastly is the meringue.
I didn’t leave this one alone either. The original recipe is a toasted meringue, meaning you make the meringue and toast it with a blowtorch. I plated up my first marquise following this recipe, but it was just so sweet. I usually like meringue that way but it just didn’t fit in with the dessert. The sweetness over-powered all else and we all agreed we’d prefer the dessert without it. So I decided to make a baked cinnamon meringue instead. The change of technique makes the meringue seem less sweet and adds another textural element to the dish, and the cinnamon also helped balance out the sweetness. We all liked it much better this way. Another advantage is that by baking the meringue it can be prepared in advance as well so you can have everything ready to plate up when you’re ready for the dessert.
The original recipe calls this a marquise on meringue. The marquise is served, cubed, on top of the toasted meringue with nuts scattered about the plate and the sauce drizzled around it. I wanted to do a more de-constructed version of it.
This recipe makes enough for multiple serves and, the best part, it can be stored for 6 months so you can keep it for special occasions or just to have whenever a chocolate craving hits,
The marquise is kind of somewhere between a chocolate mousse and an ice cream. It tasted more like a luxurious chocolate ice cream, it was such a familiar taste but we couldn’t pick exactly why. The spiced chocolate adds a dimension to this I just loved. These smooth fluffy pillows of chocolate amazingness with have you wanting more, but they are so rich you’ll hit your limit pretty soon. We’re trying to space it out and save it for future desserts but it’s really hard.
When making the meringue, you only need to use as many eggs whites as necessary for the amount of people you’re serving. I got 3 generous serves of meringue from one egg white, you could probably stretch it to four.
|Chocolate Base170g (6oz) dark chocolate180ml (6fl oz.) thickened (heavy) cream
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/8 cup (30ml/1fl oz.) maple syrup (can use corn syrup or golden syrup)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 cup (15g/ 1/2oz) dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/16 tsp fresh ground black pepper
15g (1/2oz) unsalted butter, room temperature
6 egg yolks
1/3 cup (75g/ 2 2/3 oz) caster sugar
40ml (1 1/3 fl oz.) water
1 cup (250ml/8fl oz.) thickened (heavy) cream
1 cup dutch processed cocoa powder (for rolling marquise in later)
1/2 cup (110g/4oz) caster sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg white
1 cup (150g/5oz) blanched whole almonds
1/2 cup (115g/4oz) caster sugar
1/4 cup (60ml/2fl oz.) water
1/2 cup (120ml/4fl oz.) thickened (heavy) cream
1/2 tbsp ground sea salt
1/4 cup (60g/2oz) caster sugar per each white
1 tbsp cinnamon per egg white
To plate up