Frozen Marjolaine with Almond Meringue and Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream

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A classic French marjolaine is made of nut meringues layered with chocolate butter-cream. In this frozen version, I layer ice cream made with Ibarra chocolate and rectangles of almond meringue. This Mexican chocolate comes in disks and is made of sugar, cocoa nibs, cinnamon, and ground almonds. Normally used for making hot chocolate, it has a less chocolaty flavor than American or European hot chocolate and makes a delicious ice cream.

Ingredients

Almond Meringues

  • ½ cup (2 ounces) whole natural almonds, toasted
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 4 large egg whites

Mexican Chocolate Ice Cream

  • cups milk
  • cups heavy (whipping) cream
  • 2 disks ( ounces) Ibarra Mexican chocolate, coarsely chopped

Method

To Make the Meringues

Preheat the oven to 200°F. Cut parchment paper to fit 2 large baking sheets. Trace 3 rectangles, each 12 inches long and 4 inches wide, on the paper. (Two will fit on one piece of parchment paper; leave at least ½ inch between them.) Place the parchment paper, marked side down, on the baking sheets. (Placing it marked side down will prevent marks on the meringue. You will still be able to see the marks through the paper.)

In a food processor, finely grind the almonds with ¼ cup of the granulated sugar and all of the confectioners’ sugar. With an electric mixer, whisk the egg whites on medium-low speed until frothy. Increase to medium-high speed for a stand mixer, high speed with a handheld mixer, and whip until soft peaks form. Add the remaining ½ cup granulated sugar and continue to whip until stiff, glossy peaks form. By hand, fold in the nut mixture. With a small offset spatula, evenly spread the meringue in the 3 rectangles.

Bake the meringues until dry, 5 to 7 hours. To test for doneness, remove the pan from the oven and let sit on the counter for 30 seconds. Slide a metal spatula under one of the meringues. If it comes off of the parchment paper easily, it is done. If it sticks, return it to the oven. It is okay to leave them in the oven overnight.

To Make the Ice Cream

Cook the milk and cream in a heavy saucepan, over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until almost simmering. Add the chocolate and whisk until smooth. Strain the custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean bowl. Cool over an ice bath until room temperature. Refrigerate the custard for at least 4 hours or overnight. Churn in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Freeze the ice cream for at least 1 hour until firm but still spreadable.

In Advance

The meringues can be made a couple of days in advance if the weather is not humid. The marjolaine can be assembled and frozen up to 2 days. Wrap well in plastic wrap or aluminum foil.

To Assemble the Marjolaine

If the ice cream has gotten hard, temper it. Gently spread the ice cream over 2 of the meringue rectangles. (If you press too hard, the meringue will crack. If this happens, just piece it back together.) Stack the ice cream and meringue layers on top of each other. Place the third rectangle on top. If necessary, trim the edges of the marjolaine to make it neater. Using a large metal spatula, place the marjolaine on a large platter or baking sheet. Freeze until ready to serve.

To Serve

Spread half of the Chantilly cream on top of the meringue. Cover with the nuts. Cut into 8 pieces and serve immediately, with extra cream on the side.

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