Archive for May, 2011

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.  The recipe is adapted from one developed by Bennie Sata, a Seattle-area pastry chef who introduced the city to one of its iconic chocolate desserts, The El Diablo. This dessert is composed of a cayenne infused chocolate semifreddo served over a scorched meringue base. Emma and Jenny also served it with a tequila caramel sauce and spiced nuts. Please make sure that you check out their blogs and view the original recipe, it is truly inspiring. For my version I chose to do a mix of raspberry marquise and cayenne chocolate.I skipped on the tequila altogether but did add a dash of Frangelico. The heat of the cayenne works really well against the coolness of the dessert so don’t be tempted to delete it. Instead of topping with spiced nuts as suggested, I made a chocolate heart using a transfer sheet

There are quite a few steps to this dessert, but if you have ever made semifreddo than you can easily make this. Like any other recipe, read through it first so you understand all of the steps. The original recipe provided was for an immense crowd, so luckily it was scaled down to 1/2 and a 1/4.I made the 1/4 amount and found that it would easily serve 4-6 people.  I looked through some of my older cookbooks to try to compare recipes but the only one I found called a marquise was a cake, not a frozen dessert, so I can’t really provide any background on a marquise .  Just try it, you’ll like it. Bake on…

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)
Raspberry base (recipe follows)
½ cup (4 fluid oz./ 120 ml.) heavy cream
½ cup Dutch process cocoa powder (for rolling) (Note: Make sure it’s a Dutch processed cocoa, not a natural cocoa powder.)


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 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 a softball stage (235F/115C).
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, remove half of the mixture to a clean bowl. Add half the chocolate base (reserve the rest for another use) to one of  the egg mixtures and whisk to combine. Try to get it as consistent as possible without losing all of the air you’ve whipped into the eggs. Add the raspberry base the the other half of the reserved egg mixture and whisk to combine.
Fold a small amount  of the reserved whipped cream into each of the the chocolate mixture and the raspberry mixture to loosen it, and then fold into each remaining whipped cream, dividing it up as equally as possible.
Pour into the prepared pans and cover with plastic wrap (directly touching the mixture so it doesn’t allow in any air).I alternated the chocolate and raspberry mixtures in the molds. To marbelize it, I gently swirled a butter knife through the mixture a few times.
Freeze until very firm, at least 2 – 4 hours (preferably 6 – 8 hours). I actually made mine 2 days before unmolding it.
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, sauce, and  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, the reserved raspberry base 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,  and sweet sensations on your palate.

Chocolate Base –

Since this recipe was already cut down, I just made this as is and only used half. I added the remaining amount to a batch of brownies batter I was making the next day.

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
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon (15 ml/ 1/2 fluid oz.) Frangelico , optional
1 tablespoon (15 ml/ 1/2 fluid oz.) light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon/(less than 1/4 ounce) cocoa powder (I used a combination of black cocoa and dutch process, 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

Note: here is an excellent article on cocoa powder

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.

RASPBERRY BASE – Reserve 2 tablespoons for plating

 1 Cup fresh or frozen raspberries
1/3 C granulated sugar
1 tablespoon corn syrup

Bring all 3 ingredients to a boil over medium heat and cook for 2 minutes. Take off heat and let cool. Strain through a fine mesh strainer to remove the seeds.

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 a very clean whisk, gently stir the eggs until completely blended or use 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.Gently stir with a clean whisk or 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.

For this 2nd plating, I used cubes of the frozen marquise and topped it with a sesame honey cashew.

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Carrot Souffle

While I hardly ever post recipes for savory dishes (I hardly ever use recipes), this one is worth mentioning. I also promised some people out there to get this recipe out there. I first made this as a Thanksgiving side dish in 2002. It was my first holiday dinner with my now husband, then boyfriend. Here in Canada, Thanksgiving is celebrated in October, where in the States it is in late November. Since I had a few days off from work, I flew to Calgary to make a traditional dinner for my boyfriend (now husband) and his closest 12 friends. The menu? here  it is:
Stuffed turkey breast w/saugage,fennel and golden raisins
Stuffed pork roast w/winter fruit
Creamed onions
Carrot soufflé
Butternut squash with orange, ginger & honey
Sweet potato casserole
Brussel sprouts with maple and mustard
String beans with pine nuts and basil
Cranberry sauce with dried apricots and cardamom
Blue cheese biscuits
Spiced pumpkin muffins

And that didn’t even include the dessert! We have such great memories of that evening. Good food and great friends, you can’t really beat that, can you?

Now I realize I am going on about Thanksgiving when it is late May, but it all comes back to the carrot souffle. I still make this a few times a year and each time remember how delicious it is. It originally had 1/4 c more sugar in it but I have found that it is too sweet, so over the years I have cut down on the sugar, but it is up to your own taste when baking things. I recently made this for a pot luck brunch at a friend’s house and had every husband and child raving about it. Children who can’t stand veggies love this- I swear.  It’s almost sweet enough to be dessert. Oh, did I mention  the best part? It is one of the easiest things to prepare. It’s springtime, so get some veggies into the ones you love today. Bake on…


7  Cups chopped carrot (I use a 2lb bag)          
1/3 cup sugar
¼ cup light  sour cream
3 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
¼ tsp salt
3 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 tablespoon powdered sugar for garnish after baking

Preheat your oven to 350.  Lightly spray a 2 quart baking dish with cooking oil (such as PAM)

Cook carrots until very tender, about 10-15 minutes, drain. Place in food processor until smooth. Add sugar and next 7 ingredients- pulse to combine.Spoon mixture into 2 quart baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes until puffed and set. Let cool. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.

Can be prepared the night before and then baked the next day.

Source: Cooking Light, November 2002

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We just got back from a fantastic week-long holiday around the pacific northwest peninsula. Since flying has gotten so expensive, it does not look like I will get to go back to NY this summer to see my mom (don’t even get me started), my husband took us away on a small trip for my birthday. We drove to Olympic National Park and Seattle. If you ever get the chance to go to Olympic National Park, do so. It is so amazingly beautiful, with rainforests, ocean views, and very snowy mountains.  We stayed in Olympia, Forks (home of the Twilight series), and Port Angeles before heading to Seattle for 2 days.  While in Seattle we stayed at the gorgeous Turret House which is owned by our friend William. I can’t recommend it enough; great location (Trader Joe’s is 2 blocks away!) , super clean, full kitchen,and  very cozy! Since William was kind enough to let us stay there I brought him some of these very travel friendly biscotti as a small token of appreciation. These are definitely dunking material, so start brewing a pot of coffee.

Butter, for greasing pan
3 1/2 cups flour, plus
   more for pan
1 tbsp. baking powder
2 cups whole blanched
   almonds, toasted
1 1/2 cups whole blanched hazelnuts,
2 1/4 cups sugar
5 eggs
1/4 cup anise-flavored liqueur, like
1 tbsp. crushed aniseed
1 tbsp. vanilla extract

1. Heat oven to 375°. Grease and flour a 10″ x 15″ jelly roll pan; set aside. In a bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder; toss in nuts. In a bowl, whisk together sugar and eggs for at least 5 minutes, until very light and airy;whisk in sambuca, aniseed, and vanilla. Add flour mixture; fold. Pour into pan; bake until golden, 20 minutes. Let biscotti cool.

2. Reduce oven temperature to 325°. Remove cooled biscotti slab from pan; cut crosswise into twenty 10″-long strips; cut each strip in half to form forty 5″-long strips. Transfer strips to parchment paper-lined baking sheets, spacing strips 1/2″ apart. Bake until golden brown, 20–25 minutes. Let cool.

Recipe Source: Saveur

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