My friend BK is a self admitted chocoholic. He is also a super talented architect of the highest magnitude. Recently on a particularly lazy afternoon I was daydreaming and found myself thinking about conversations he and I had had about food and wine and architecture. As I drifted through these relived conversations I suddenly found myself inspired to make something chocolate but with a slight twist. Funny how an inspiration sneaks up on you when you aren’t even aware of it. After that day I couldn’t stop thinking about those conversations or about this dessert. I started leafing through old recipes and books and found a few things that further inspired me and served as a jumping off point.
I knew that I wanted to celebrate his love of chocolate but I also wanted to pay homage to his passion for and ability to create unique and incredibly beautiful buildings. A talent that I am constantly in awe and extreme envy of. I set to work with my recipe scraps and memories of conversations as my guide. What I ended up with is a layered dessert with a flourless cake base of bittersweet chocolate and hazelnuts with a hint of orange and spice. This cake base is actually more of a brownie than a cake. It is topped with a layer of milk chocolate mousse. I chose milk chocolate here because I knew that BK liked milk chocolate. Also, as I have mention before, as I get older my tolerance for chocolate has decreased and I didn’t want this to end up being a blast of chocolate intensity. It is very rich but I think it is incredibly good and I hope that BK will enjoy it as much as I enjoyed making it for him. BK recently celebrated a milestone and I offer the choco-tectural marquis as my gift to him. BK, thank you for your friendship and for being a never ending well of inspiration, even when you aren’t even aware your doing it.
BK’s Choco-Tectural Marquis
Adapted from a recipe from Green & Blacks Chocolate
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Melted butter for greasing the pan
1 ½ tablespoons ground hazelnuts (plus extra for dusting the pan ) about 1/3 cup whole hazelnuts
(You can also substitute ground almonds)
7 ounces of dark chocolate (minimum 60% cocoa content, I used Ghirardelli Bittersweet 60% cocoa)
3.5 ounces dark orange flavored chocolate (I used Green & Blacks Maya Gold)
(If you prefer you can use 10.5 ounces of dark chocolate)
1 ½ cups superfine sugar
5 ½ ounces unsalted butter
5 large eggs
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Toast the hazelnuts for about 7 – 10 minutes to loosen the skins. Rub the nuts together in a tea towel to remove the skins. Grind the nuts in the food processor until very fine but not greasy or pasty. Reserve 1 ½ tablespoons of nuts.
Brush a 9 inch springform pan with melted butter and dust with the remaining hazelnuts and set aside.
In a large bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the chocolate, butter, sugar and salt. When melted remove the bowl from the pan and set aside.
Whisk the eggs together with the hazelnuts and fold into the chocolate mixture. Continue folding until the mixture thickens. About 2 minutes. Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan and bake for 35-40 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. The cake will resemble baked brownies. Set the cake on a rack to cool completely. Allow the cake to cool at least 2 hours before beginning the mouse.
9 ounces of milk chocolate (You can also use all dark chocolate, minimum 60% cocoa content)
¾ cup confectioners sugar, sifted
6 ounces unsalted butter
5 large eggs, separated
2/3 cup whipping cream
Cocoa powder for dusting
In a large bowl set over a pan of simmering water, melt the chocolate. When melted remove the bowl from the pan and add half of the confectioners sugar, stir, and then whisk in the butter. Whisk in the egg yolks, one at a time. Set this mixture aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, using the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining confectioners sugar and continue to whisk until the egg whites are glossy. Set aside. Whip the whipping cream until stiff peaks form.
Add one third of the egg whites to the chocolate mixture and fold them in to lighten the mixture. Gently fold in the remaining whites alternating with the whipped cream being careful to retain as much volume as possible. Do not overmix, but ensure that the mixture is well blended. Pour the mousse over the cooled cake base in the springform pan and refrigerate overnight.
Remove the pan from the refrigerator about 15 minutes before serving. Dip a thin bladed knife in hot water and slide it around the side of the pan to loosen the cake from the pan and remove the ring. Dip the knife in hot water again and gently smooth the sides of the mousse.
Keep the cake on the removable bottom and place it on a serving plate. Dust the cake with cocoa powder.
Serve with crème fraiche, crème anglaise, or softly whipped cream.
Makes about 15 small slices.