May 27, 2011

Daring Bakers' May 2011 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.

Doesn't it look great when all components come together?
And what a challenge this was! Each single part was not too difficult to master, but the complete dessert consisted of several components and handling the frozen chocolate mousse was no easy task. But it was all worth it for such a plate of dessert.

I was very excited that this month's challenge included torched meringue because this was an excellent opportunity to break in my brand new blowtorch. Yay! :-)

The chocolate mousse obviously was the star of this plate. It tasted great and while preparing it, I realised how easy it is to modify it with different spices. And while I cut it into classical cube shapes for this challenge, it would be a cute idea to use cookie cutters to serve it in other shapes. As far as I could see, some of my fellow Daring Bakers already did this. The taste and consistency of the mousse was simply delicious: rich, dark and not too sweet - just the way I like my chocolate mousse.

The caramel sauce was maybe my favourite part of this challenge. I'm not very experienced with caramel and was amazed at how easy this recipe was. I love the slight bitter taste (maybe I burnt the caramel a bit?) together with the salt and rum (which I substituted for the tequila). There's still some sauce left in my fridge and I'm already planning on what to do with it. Maybe I could use it to bake some special cupcakes? Or I'll just eat it with a spoon…

My first plating. Well, the first that was worthy to be photographed, anyway...
Loved the spiced almonds! This is also a great snack that can be varied with all different kinds of spices and flavors. Unfortunately, I misunderstood the recipe (memo to self: "whisk egg white until frothy and thick" does not equal "whisk until stiff") and overbeat the egg white. After baking the almonds, I had to break them out of the egg white casing. The taste was still great, although I suspect that some of that spicy flavour  was lost in the discarded egg white… I'll definitely try this recipe again!

Plating was no easy feat. The cubes were quite difficult to handle if they should stay neat and the cocoa powder seemed to go everywhere. On the pictures you can see two different platings, but I used up several more plates until I was satisfied with the result. Also, I cheated and put the chocolate mousse on the plate while it was still frozen, because obviously for the picture it did not have to be thawed. Until I was finished with taking pictures and started eating my plate, the mousse had the exact right temperature and consistency :-)

Details of the recipes can be found here. I made only half of the chocolate mousse and used rum instead of tequila and maple sirup instead of light corn sirup. In the caramel sauce I also substituted the tequila with rum. For the spiced almonds I picked several spices from my spice cupboard (coriander seeds, cardamom, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, nutmeg, clove and salt).

My favourite plating
Thanks for a great challenge Emma and Jenny!


  1. love the way you edit that first picture! great job on the challenge!

  2. Great job with this challenge! I am so glad you got to play with your new torch - it sounds like such a fun tool for the kitchen, but I don't think I could be trusted with one! Your marquise look delicious. Thank you for sharing with us!

  3. your photo looks like it came straight out of a magazine. I must try the caramel sauce, everyone is going on about how wonderful it is. You did a great job this month, your marquise looks yummy. Best, Sandie

  4. Nothing better than breaking in a new blowtorch! The marquise was fabulous, even if it was hard to handle :D

  5. It looks beautiful on the plates, and I'm glad the photography took just enough time for it to come to perfect eating temperature!
    I was very happy to get reacquainted with my blowtorch for this challenge, so I can well imagine your excitement with a new one.

  6. Wow - thank you all of you for these nice comments! I liked playing around with the plating. After the photoshoot, my kitchen was one big mess of cocoa powder, caramel sauce, chocolate mousse and dirty plates... But it was fun!

  7. I felt the same when I first used my blowtorch, not very long ago, and I'm always excited when I can use it to make my desserts look "pro" :)
    You did an amazing job on the challenge, looks delicious, and "pro"!

  8. I completely agree with you, the plating was really the most difficult part of this challenge. I had the same problem with cocoa powder, it was very messy and my marquise was melting pretty quickly.
    Well, your challenge turned out wonderful, and your plating looks very elegant.:)

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