Oh my goodness. This challenge was a doozy to create and a doozy to eat. Emma and Jenny, both accomplished pastry chefs with training and professional time served, challenged us to make one of their favorite confections, chocolate marquise on meringue. The challenge consisted of four parts--the fourth part that you're not seeing here is a spicy nut topping. Oh, and I didn't have cocoa nibs available anywhere in my little town, either, so those are missing as well.
But let my tell you what IS here, and you tell me if you think it needed the rest.
First is the meringue, and one the most sensory rich recipes outside of bread dough that you might ever encounter in the kitchen (at least while cooking, ahem!). In a new-to-me-twist on meringue making, the egg whites, a splash of vinegar, and a heaping love of sugar are put into a mixing bowl over a hot water bath. Then, you use your hands to stir the warming mixture until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is almost hot. Go on, I dare you!
Alrighty, see that caramel sauce? Yum. Again, the recipe called for Tequila. Again, I demurred. Whiskey! Whisky is good, right? You betcha! Interestingly, the whisky gave the caramel a fruity flavor--something akin to pineapple. Not sure what happened there, but it really goes well with the chocolate and meringue.
Clearly, we need practice!
Recipe here (I made a quarter batch)
Many, many thanks to Emma and Jenny for this great dessert. I see this as a showstopper for a crowd, maybe around the holidays?