Chocolate Marjolaine

The original version of this dessert was a speciality of the Pyramide restaurant in Vienne, France. In this recipe I have the altered proportions so that there is much more chocolate to baked meringue – I prefer it that way. It’s a fairly complex method and requires your total attention while being made.

Ingredients

For the White Layer

  • 75g (3 oz/¾ cup) white chocolate couverture
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • a drop of vanilla extract
  • 10 g (½ oz/1 sachet) powdered gelatine
  • 2 medium (large) egg yolks
  • 50g (2 oz/½ cup) caster (granulated) sugar
  • 150ml (5 fl oz/ cup) double (heavy) cream
  • 150ml (5 fl oz/ cup) soured cream

For the Meringue

  • 75g (3 oz/heaping ½ cup) blanched hazelnuts
  • 50g (2 oz/scant ½ cup) blanched almonds
  • 50g (2 oz/½ cup) caster (granulated) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 3 medium (large) egg whites

For the Dark Layer

  • 175g (6 oz/l ½ cup) dark chocolate couverture
  • 2 tablespoons brewed coffee
  • 3 tablespoons caster (granulated) sugar
  • 75g (3 oz/¾ stick) unsalted butter

Method

To prepare the white layer, grate the white chocolate and gently melt it in a saucepan with the milk and vanilla extract. Meanwhile, dissolve the gelatine in 6 tablespoons of lukewarm water.

Whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl. When the chocolate has completely melted into the milk, add it to the egg mixture. Return to the saucepan and cook over a gentle heat, whisking continuously, until the mixture thickens – do not let it boil.

Add one-third of the gelatine mixture and leave to cool.

Whisk the cream and soured cream together until firm, and add half of this to the white chocolate mixture. Place in the refrigerator so that it may begin to set.

Heat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4). To make the almond and hazelnut meringue, grind together the nuts, then combine them with the sugar and flour.

Whisk the egg whites until firm and fold them into the nut mixture. Spread the mixture on a baking tray lined with non-stick baking parchment and bake for 12 minutes.

To make the dark layer, grate the dark chocolate and gently melt it in a saucepan with the coffee and sugar. Stir in the butter and turn off the heat. Add the remaining gelatine mixture and leave to cool. Fold in the remaining whisked creams.

To assemble the marjolaine, line a terrine or oblong cake tin with plastic wrap. Pour in half the dark chocolate mixture. Cut the cooked meringue into 2 rectangles and place one on top of the chocolate. Cover with all the white chocolate mixture and lay the second rectangle of meringue on top of this. Spread over the remaining dark chocolate mixture and refrigerate overnight to set. Serve the marjolaine in slices.

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