Friday, May 27, 2011

Chilli n Cherry in Chocolate Marquise on Lemon Meringue ~ Celebrating Sisters for Daring Baker Challenge

The Daring Baker's challenge is a group which I so love... It has a new technique, new plating and fabulous flavours every month... It always starts with cold feet, then psyching myself into collecting ingredients n thinking of flavours.... Then an entire weekend is spent in making the parts, putting it together, plating and finally the pictures..... In all of this there is support from the group from those who are done with it or have common questions.... and not to forget... driving mom up the wall while I work in the kitchen :)

This month's challenge was ideal as it's my sister's birthday and she's not big on sugary desserts yet enjoys her Cherries and Chocolate so my flavours were Chilli n Cherry in Chocolate Marquise with Lemon Meringue and Tequila Caramel Sauce. I must say, this Marquise is just fabulous... creamy and melt-in-your-mouth decadence.... The deep flavours of the Tequila Caramel Sauce went very well with the tang and zing of Chilli n Cherry in Chocolate Marquise.

Blog-checking lines: The May 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Emma ofCookCraftGrow 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.

My other sister Amrita, just got back from her holiday in Tahiti and got back Vanilla beans and Vanilla essence for me..... I just had to use it in my Daring Baker Challenge.

The Meringue recipe called for a Blowtorch and I didn't have one..... I called up a cousin of mine who deals in hardware equipment and he very sweetly had one sent over..... Armed with my new recipe... new ingredients... new tools... I forged ahead, only to be cowed down by the heat...... Delhi is just soooooo hot that anything in the desserts section would melt really quick.....

Chocolate Marquise
Servings: 6 2"x2" (5cmx5cm) cubes
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)

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.

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
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

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 1 cup of meringue.
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

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 1/4 cup of caramel
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

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. 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.

Happy Birthday Nivritti!!!!!


Priya Sreeram said...

omg, lovely technique and great work ! loved the final plating

Anonymous said...

You did a great jon on the challenge..I love your creation and your ingredients pictures are beautiful

Laura said...

Beautiful plating and I love the combination of flavors.

Emma said...

Plating is beautiful and I LOVE your choice of flavours!

Karin said...

I love the piped meringue and your photos are fabulous!

Happy Birthday to your sister.


Cupcake said...

Yum! Lively flavor combinations!!

Heather said...

Loved the big round meringue and the plating :)

Jeanne said...

Wow, it sounds fabulous with the cherries. Great work on this challenge! :)

Renata said...

Cherries must have been an amazing addition! Love your plating! Congrats on the challenge!

Andrea said...

You did a great job, and I really love how your marquise turned out. I didn’t have a blowtorch either and I had to improvise with the kitchen lighter and it worked quite well.
I love your combination of spices and flavours, it all sounds very delicious. I bet your sister was very happy with birthday marquise.
It’s very hot here in Croatia too, and I had a same problem with melting as you did. Nevertheless we’ve enjoyed this dessert very much.

Sirius73 said...

Cherry and Chili sounds like a great combination of flavours. Congratulations on your challenge!

E.K.R said...

Beautiful job on the challenge and great choice of flavour combination. I bet it tasted delicious. You got some great photos of the process and I loved the ones of your family!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful flavor pairing. I can only imagine the difficulty of making merigue in super hot weather!
Great job. best, Sandie

Lizzy said...

Ooh, chocolate and cherries...yum! Such a pretty job with the meringue...I'm always a bit nervous when I first read these recipes, too! But somehow, it all comes together :)

Faery said...

I love your marquise, the flavor combination and the plating is awesome

Jessica @ bake me away! said...

Mmm, I love the sound of those flavors! Great job! Beautiful plating and lovely family, too. :)

hailey said...

Wow, your plating is absolutely beautiful! amazing job :D

Mary said...

What a great birthday dessert! I love the combination of cherries and chocolate too, so I would have been thrilled with this. beautiful plating and family photos!

Anonymous said...

I have not seen this kind of cake ever before....looks so are a daring baker for sure...


Korena said...

If someone had made this for my birthday I would have died of happiness! I hope your sister enjoyed it. The flavours sound delicious!

Absurd Baker said...

Your marquise looks fantastic!!! Cool meringue spiral - I loved that!

Anonymous said...

Great combination!good job with the challenge, like your plating.

Anita said...

What a great flavour combination - great idea! I would love to try some different flavours for this dessert.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

You did such a gorgeous job! And your friends and family always look like they have a lot of fun around you too :)

Anonymous said...

Woww.. thats an awesome technique :D Love it..

Anonymous said...

I am learning cooking now a days...your blog helps a lot...and motivates in many keep posting..


The backyard Baker said...

Wow !!! That is some love and hardwork. :-)
Tell me from where do you buy butane for your torch? I need to get mine filled but don't know where i'll get the fuel.