We are having a fondue party, and I plan on making it the authentic real deal. In other words, fondue as the Swiss would serve it, minus, unfortunately, the alpine setting. No extra accoutrements that wouldn't be seen on a chalet farm table; cow bells and ski attire welcome. The question I face, however, is what to serve for dessert? (This is where I might stray somewhat from the alpine theme.) With 12 adults and as many children expected, I would like to serve something that can be assembled in advance - something that is sweet and intense, but not terribly filling following all that cheese, and, of course, something worthy to serve for wonderful friends. Oh, and if I can use my French when I talk about it, all the better.
So, I remember a few weeks back when I was in bed with Bouchon while recovering from the flu. For some time I had been thinking about making a Marquise au Chocolat, or Chocolate Terrine for a dinner party, but hadn't come across a recipe for one that sounded right to me. I pictured a thin brick of smooth, dark chocolate, soft yet firm, glistening but not runny, arranged in a pool of ethereal crème Anglaise, garnished with fruit to lend some acidity. As I thumbed through Thomas Keller's wonderful book, voilà! there was the Marquise staring me in my face.
So fast forward to my fondue party, and I know what I will make for dessert. Oh, too rich! you may think. Yes, but the beauty of this chocolate-y block of silken goodness is it can be cut in very small portions: the brick becomes a square, the square becomes a domino, the domino becomes a sliver. Slice away until you end up with a little jolt of intense chocolate, floating in airy, light crème anglaise. In this case I have infused the custard with a hint of orange and finished the dessert with a garnish of glistening orange fruit segments marinated in Gran Marnier. So, while this would hardly be found in a lost Swiss alpine village following a fondue meal, I may stretch the theme a bit for this dessert. After all, aren't the Swiss known for their chocolate? And they even speak French in Gruyère.
Chocolate Terrine with Orange Crème Anglaise and Gran Marnier Oranges
Adapted from Thomas Keller's Bouchon Cookbook
For the Chocolate Terrine:
12 oz. (350 grams) 70% dark chocolate (I prefer Lindt)
8 oz. (225 grams) unsalted butter
4 large eggs, separated
4 large egg yolks
1 cup sifted confectioners' sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup (125 ml.) heavy cream
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
Lightly oil a 6 cup terrine mold or loaf pan. Line mold with plastic wrap.
In a double boiler melt chocolate and butter over barely simmering water, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
Add 8 egg yolks to cooled chocolate mixture, stirring to combine. Sift together confectioners' sugar and cocoa. Stir into the chocolate mixture.
In bowl of electric mixer, beat cream until soft peaks form. Transfer to small bowl and refrigerate until use. Beat egg whites with sugar in clean bowl of electric mixer until soft peaks form.
Fold egg whites into chocolate mixture, then fold in whipped cream.
Pour into terrine mold and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate 12 hours. (Terrine can be made up to 3 days in advance.)
For the Orange Crème Anglaise:
Makes about 2 cups
1 cup (250 ml.) heavy cream
1 cup (250 ml.) whole milk
6 tablespoons sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
2 teaspoons grated untreated orange zest
5 large egg yolks
Combine the cream, milk and 4 tablespoons sugar in a medium saucepan. Add the vanilla bean with seeds and orange zest. Heat to a simmer, stirring. Remove pan from heat, cover and let sit 30 minutes to let flavors infuse.
Whisk egg yolks with the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in a medium bowl until mixture thickens and lightens in color. Whisking constantly, pour 1/3 cream mixture into egg mixture. Return egg mixture to the saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until mixture thickens and coats the back of the spoon, about 10 minutes. (To check if done, run a finger down the back of the wooden spoon. The line should remain clearly intact without the custard running.)
Strain custard through a fine meshed sieve into a metal bowl set in a larger bowl of ice water.
Cool custard, stirring occasionally. When completely cool pour into a container. Place plastic wrap over surface of custard. Cover container and refrigerate. Can be made 3 days in advance.
For the Gran Marnier Oranges:
2 navel oranges
2-3 tablespoons Gran Marnier (or Cointreau)
1 teaspoon sugar
Cut away peel and pith of oranges with a knife.
Slice oranges horizontally, about 1/4" thick
Cut out orange segments. Toss segments with Gran Marnier and sugar in a bowl. Let sit at least 2 hours and up to 1 day.
Remove terrine from mold. Run a knife under hot water and wipe dry. Slice terrine in 1/4" slices. Arrange 1-2 slices on a plate. Drizzle Orange Crème Anglaise around terrine. Garnish with Gran Marnier Oranges.
Can't get enough chocolate? You might want to try these:
Flourless Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Coulis
Chocolate Mousse with Raspberries and Cream