Friday, May 27, 2011
The rainy season finally came. It is late than last year but the rainfall is definitely still as stong. People in some parts of Thailand start worrying about flood, the worst nightmare that could happen and drive them away from their houses, and destroy their farms and cattles. Let's wish it doesn't go into that state of disaster this year.
However, thanks to the rain, the weather is cooler right now. After the extreme heat in April, I basically so looked forward to welcoming the rainy season.
May is the month when things are getting better and nicer. It is a month full of public holidays, and swamped by a wide variety of fruits. Durian, the king of fruits are available abundantly with reasonable price and excellent taste. Mangosteen is a dear friend of durian and always present right side by side. Mango, orange, lychee, and jackfruit are next to them. It is a great month for fruit lovers.
And in this great month, we have a great Daring Baker's challenge: Marquis on Meringue. Emma of CookCraftGrow and Jenny of Purple House Dirt, the hosts are proclaiming that this is a special dessert due to its rareness - never being seen in mainstream cookbooks or written about online. By participating and indulging in this dessert makes me one of the small percentage of world population who ever made and tasted Marquis.
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.
MARQUIS ON MERINGUE
1. Chocolate Base
- 12 oz (240 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/ 3 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
- 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.
2. Chocolate Marquise
Servings: 18 2"x2" cubes (or other optional shapes)
- 11 large egg yolks at room temperature
- 4 large whole eggs
- 2/3 cup (120 grams/ 4 oz.) sugar
- 1/3 cup (2.5 fluid oz./ 70 ml.) water
- Chocolate Base, barely warm (recipe follows)
- 2 cups (16 fluid oz./ 500 ml.) heavy cream
- 2 cups Dutch process cocoa powder (for dusting)
- 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 picture).
- 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).
3. 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.
- 11 large egg whites
- 1 ¾ cups (12 oz.) sugar
- Splash of apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 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 onto a plate (or use a piping bag) and use a blowtorch to broil.
4. Tequila Caramel
Servings: Makes about 1 cup of caramel
- 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
- 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.
- 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 or other desired shapes, and dust with cocoa powder. These will start to melt almost immediately, so don't do this step until all of your other plating components (meringue, and caramel) are ready. The marquis needs 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 marquis are dusted with cocoa powder.
- Plate with the torched meringue and drizzled caramel sauce, and garnish with chocolate coated almond chunks if desired. You want to handle marquis 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.