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 Marjolaine

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PostSubject: Marjolaine   January 6th 2013, 3:22 pm



Marjolaine

MAKES ONE 12-INCH (30-CM) RECTANGULAR CAKE; 12 SERVINGS

I'm not a fan of fancy, complicated desserts, but I am a fan of anything delicious-especially when it involves cara¬melized nuts, chocolate ganache, and Cognac-flavored creme fraiche, as this cake does. True, this recipe requires a few steps to gather the components, but slicing layers of nutty meringue and spreading layers of crackly praline cream never feels like work to me. Like all good things, marjolaine is worth the of furl.
To make things easy, instead of laborious buttercream, I make a simple creme fraiche-based icing, which adds a distinctive tangy flavor and isn't so rich. You can make the praline and the meringue days in advance, and the marjolaine should be assembled at least a day before it is served to give the flavors a chance to marry, so you can stage out the preparation. It's really not difficult to assemble once you've gotten the components organized. And 1 guarantee, when you proudly glide a slick layer of chocolate ganache over the top and then take that first bite, you'll be congratulating yourself on a job well done.

NUT MERINGUE
3/4 cup (75 g) hazelnuts, toasted
V4 cup (75 g) almonds, toasted
tt/t cups (265 g) sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
8 large egg whites, at room temperature Pinch of salt
To make the nut meringue, preheat the oven to 350°F

PRALINE
1/2 cup (I00 g) sugar
1/2 cup (65 g) almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped

CHOCOLATE GANACHE
3/a cup (180 g) creme fraiche
10 ounces (280 g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped

PRALINE AND VANILLA CREAMS V4 cup (180 g) creme fraiche
1/4 cup (60 ml) heavy cream
2 tablespoons (30 g) sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon Cognac or brandy

(175'C). Coat the bottom and sides of a 12 by 18-inch (30 by 46-cm) baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray and line the bottom with parchment paper. Generously grease the parchment paper, then dust the pan with flour and tap out any excess.
Rub the toasted hazelnuts between your hands or in a kitchen towel to loosen and remove the skins. In a food processor fitted with the metal blade or in a blender, pulverize the almonds and hazelnuts with the 11/3 cups (265 g) sugar and the cornstarch until finely ground, then transfer the mixture to a bowl.
In a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment, whisk the egg whites on low speed until frothy. Add the salt, increase the speed to high, and beat until the egg whites form stiff peaks.
Gradually sprinkle the ground-nut mixture over the egg whites, folding it in as you go. Scrape the batter onto the prepared baking sheet and smooth with a spatula. Bake until light golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool
completely.

To make the praline, lightly coat a baking sheet with cooking spray or line it with a silicone baking mat. Spread the 1/a cup (100 g) sugar in an even layer in a medium heavy-bottomed skillet and cook over medium heat until the sugar begins to melt around the edges. Using a heatproof utensil, slowly drag the liquefied sugar to the center and stir gently until all of the sugar is melted. Continue to cook, stirring infrequently, until the caramel is deep amber in color and begins to foam a bit. Remove from the heat, immediately stir in the chopped almonds, then pour the mixture onto the prepared bak¬ing sheet and spread it in an even layer. Let cool com¬pletely. The praline will harden with cooling.
Once cool, break up the praline with your hands. In a food processor fitted with a metal blade or with a chef's knife, chop the praline into very small pieces. Transfer to a medium bowl.
To make the ganache, heat the 3/a cup (1S0 g) creme fraiche in a small saucepan over medium heat until it just begins to boil. Remove from the heat and add the choco¬late. Let stand for a minute, then stir until the mixture is completely smooth. Set aside to cool.
To make the praline and vanilla creams, in a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment (or in a bowl by hand), whisk together the 3/4 cup (180 g) creme fraiche, the cream, 2 tablespoons (30 g) sugar, and vanilla on medium speed until the mixture is stiff but still glossy. Don't overbeat.
For the praline cream, stir 213 cup (160 ml) of the whipped creme fraiche mixture into the chopped praline. (The mixture will seem somewhat stiff. but the ingredi¬ents will meld and by the time you're ready to use it, the praline cream will be spreadable.) Set aside.
For the vanilla cream, add the Cognac or brandy to the remaining whipped creme fraiche mixture and whisk lightly until firm. Set aside.

To assemble the marjolaine, run a knife around the edges of the meringue to loosen it from the pan, place another baking sheet over it, and invert the meringue. Peel away the parchment paper, holding down the meringue as you pull so that it won't break. Of you do break the meringue, it can be patched together when you are assembling the layers.)
Using a serrated bread knife, cut the meringue cross-wise (nut lengthwise) into 4 even rectangles, each about 411: by 12 inches (11 by 30 cm). Cover a baking sheet or large rectangular platter with plastic wrap and set one meringue rectangle on top. Spread 3/4 cup (180 ml) of the chocolate ganache over it in an even layer. Cover and refrigerate the remaining ganache.
Top the ganache layer with a second meringue rectangle and spread evenly with the vanilla cream. Top with a third meringue rectangle and spread evenly with the praline cream. Top with the last meringue rectangle. Wrap the marjolaine in plastic wrap and refrigerate it overnight.
To finish the cake, remove the marjolaine and the reserved ganache from the refrigerator. Trim the rough edges of the marjolaine with the serrated knife. Gently warm the ganache over a small pan of simmering water until it's spreadable, then spread it evenly over the top and sides of the cake.
Using the serrated knife, slice the marjolaine cross-wise into slabs, dipping the knife blade in hot water and wiping it clean after each cut. Serve at room temperature.
SERVING: \larjolafne is flavorful on its own, though you might want to offer some lightly sweetened whipped cream (page 239) alongside.
STORAGE: The assembled unfrosted cake can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.






TIP: Some of the components can be made ahead: The meringue can be made up to 3 days in advance and wrapped in plastic. The praline can be made
1 week in advance, chopped, and kept in an airtight container.



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