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  • pixeltheatre 12:01 am on May 27, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: chocolate marquise, , tequila   

    Daring Bakers 50th Challenge (!): Chocolate Marquise 

    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.

    I had never heard of this dessert before, but judging from the ingredients, it was not for the faint of heart: a combination of eggs (lots of them), heavy cream (lots of that too), sugar, dark chocolate and… tequila! Couldn’t pass on this dessert. It was nice that you could do it in sections. So I made the base on Sunday and froze it, as required, made the caramel sauce and spicy nuts on the following Friday night and we made and torched the meringue and plated the whole thing on Saturday night for dessert. It was incredibly smooth and decadent, with a nice mix of silky texture, and sweet, balanced with the tequila flavour and the spiciness and crunchiness of the nuts. Though quite involved, this makes an impressive dessert for special company. It truly was a great way to celebrate my 50th Daring Bakers challenge. Looking forward to the next 50!

    PS. Shout out to Audax for converting this massive recipe into half and quarter yields, for those of us who don’t bake for a crowd.  🙂 Conversions included below.

    Chocolate 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).

    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

    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.

    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.

    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 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.

    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 tequila and stir to combine. Set aside until ready to serve.

    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.


    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

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    • Crumbs of Love 6:11 pm on May 29, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Wow- 50 challenges!Cheers to you
      Best, Sandie

  • pixeltheatre 12:05 am on May 14, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , gumbo   

    Daring Cooks 25th Challenge: Chicken gumbo – Laissez les bons temps rouler! 

    20110501-114533.jpgOur May hostess, Denise, of There’s a Newf in My Soup!, challenged The Daring Cooks to make Gumbo! She provided us with all the recipes we’d need, from creole spices, homemade stock, and Louisiana white rice, to Drew’s Chicken & Smoked Sausage Gumbo and Seafood Gumbo from My New Orleans: The Cookbook, by John Besh. I had often heard of gumbo but never tried it. There were plenty of nice spicy sausage in this recipe, and it can only get better when you start frying everything in duck fat. Though heavy on the prep work, this recipe went smoothly. The aroma as it simmered for an hour and a half was just sublime. This will be a nice repeat in a colder time of the year, with perhaps an extra dash or two of Tabasco for extra heat. Very nice challenge.

    Drew’s Chicken & Smoked Sausage Gumbo

    Minimally adapted from My New Orleans: The Cookbook, by John Besh
    Serves 10-12

    Ingredients

    1 cup (240 ml) (230 gm) rendered chicken fat, duck fat, or canola oil
    1 cup (240 ml) (140 gm) (5 oz) flour
    2 large onions, diced
    1 chicken (3 ½ to 4 lbs.), cut into 10 pieces
    2 tablespoons (30 ml) (15 gm) (½ oz) Basic Creole Spices (recipe follows), or store-bought Creole spice blend
    2 pounds (2 kilograms) spicy smoked sausage, sliced ½ inch (15mm) thick
    2 stalks celery, diced
    2 green bell peppers (capsicum), seeded and diced
    1 tomato, seeded and chopped
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    Leaves from 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
    3 quarts (3 liters) Basic Chicken Stock (recipe follows), or canned chicken stock
    2 bay leaves
    6 ounces (175 gm) andouille sausage, chopped
    2 cups (480 ml) (320 gm) (11 oz) sliced fresh okra, ½ -inch (15mm) thick slices (or frozen, if fresh is not available)
    1 tablespoon (15 ml) Worcestershire sauce
    Salt, to taste
    Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    Filé powder, to taste
    Tabasco, to taste
    4-6 cups (1 – 1½ liters) (650 gm – 950 gm) cooked Basic Louisiana White Rice (recipe follows)

    Directions:

    1. Prepare homemade chicken stock, if using (recipe below).
    2. Prepare homemade Basic Creole Spices, if using (recipe below).
    3. Season the chicken pieces with about 2 tablespoons of the Creole Spices while you prepare the vegetables.

    4. Make sure all of your vegetables are cut, diced, chopped, minced and ready to go before beginning the roux. You must stand at the stove and stir the roux continuously to prevent it from burning.

    5. In a large cast-iron or heavy-bottomed pan, heat the chicken fat, duck fat, or canola oil over high heat. Whisk the flour into the hot oil – it will start to sizzle. Reduce the heat to moderate, and continue whisking until the roux becomes deep brown in color, about 15 minutes.

    6. Add the onions. Switch to a wooden spoon and stir the onions into the roux. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Continue stirring until the roux becomes a glossy dark brown, about 10 minutes.

    7. Add the chicken to the pot; raise the heat to moderate, and cook, turning the pieces until slightly browned, about 10 minutes.

    8. Add the sliced smoked sausage and stir for about a minute.

    9. Add the celery, bell peppers, tomato, and garlic, and continue stirring for about 3 minutes.
    10. Add the thyme, chicken stock, and bay leaves. Bring the gumbo to a boil, stirring occasionally.
    11. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes. Stir occasionally, skimming off the fat from the surface of the gumbo every so often.
    12. Add the chopped andouille, okra, and Worcestershire. Season with salt and pepper, several dashes of filé powder, and Tabasco, all to taste.
    13. Simmer for another 45 minutes, continuing to skim the fat from the surface of the gumbo. Remove the bay leaves and serve in bowls over rice. Pass more filé powder at the table if desired.

    Basic Louisiana White Rice

    Adapted from My New Orleans: The Cookbook, by John Besh
    Servings: About 4 cups

    Ingredients

    1 tablespoon (30 ml) (30 gm) (1 oz) chicken fat, extra-virgin olive oil, or butter
    1 small onion, minced
    1½ cups (360 m) ((280 gm) (10 oz) Louisiana (or another long-grain white rice)
    3 cups (750 ml) Basic Chicken Stock
    1 bay leaf
    1-2 pinches salt

    Directions:

    1. Put the fat, oil, or butter and the onions into a medium saucepan and sweat the onions over moderate heat until they are translucent, about 5 minutes.
    2. Pour the rice into the pan and stir for 2 minutes.
    3. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil.
    4. Add the bay leaf and salt.
    5. Cover the pan with a lid, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 18 minutes.
    6. Remove the pan from the heat, fluff the rice with a fork, and serve.

     
    • Audax Artifex 5:12 am on May 15, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Your gumbo is s.t.u.n.n.i.n.g I love the photo it looks so delicious well done.

      Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

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