I am so glad to finally be back on the Daring Bakers bandwagon! After missing a few challenges in April and May due to school and scheduling craziness, I have completely and totally rejoined the addictive, uplifting group that is The Daring Bakers. And let me tell you, it’s a good thing I came back when I did, because this challenge was not to be missed. 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.
Like many, I had no idea what a Chocolate Marquise was when I first heard the name. However, I saw that it contained chocolate, caramel, and toasty meringue—always a winning combination. Brushing aside the complicated processes and technical lingo, I find that the mysterious Chocolate Marquise resembles something very similar to a deconstructed Baked Alaska, with blocks of a frozen chocolate custardy mousse and a simple torched meringue.
That being said, there are some distinctive characteristics that make a Chocolate Marquise deliciously different from a basic Baked-Alaska-type dessert. Let me break it down for you, starting with the chocolate base. Those cocoa-dusted pieces of creamy, icy goodness taste exactly like chocolate truffles, filling your taste buds with a flavor that can only be described as pure chocolate. They rest atop a crisp, darkened meringue that tastes just like puffy, roasted marshmallows. Finally, the whole thing is drizzled with a spider web of caramel sauce.
Sound decadent enough for you? I actually left out the spiced almonds and cacao nibs that the original challenge included. Admittedly, I also simplified the ingredients for the whole dessert as well, opting to go with the natural flavors of Chocolate Marquise, rather than following the recipe’s orders for tequila, black pepper, and cayenne. The meringue was just a basic meringue, rather than one involving double boilers and hand-sifting. Even with those subtractions though, it was still oh-so-yummy.
When it comes to actually digging into this creation, let me pass on a piece of advice. I wish I could put this more delicately, but you must attack those blocks of chocolate with your spoon. Due to both their frozen state and their precarious placement on top of the meringue, they tend to slip and slide, evading your attempts at good table manners. Therefore, toss that sense of decorum out the window and pretend you’re a toddler and the Chocolate Marquise is your birthday cake. Descend and devour.
If you’d like to learn more about this month’s challenge or give the recipe a try for yourself, just check out the information packet provided by The Daring Bakers.