recipe

Credit: EARL CARTER

Chocolate marquise dacquoise sandwich

Approaching holiday periods involving a lot of entertaining can be a little overwhelming at times. It always pays to have a couple of standby recipes that can be made days in advance, and that keep well, are easy to serve and are absolutely delicious.

This chocolate marjolaine ticks all those boxes, is gluten free and is a perfect grown-up chocolate treat for Easter gatherings.

A marjolaine is sometimes referred to as the doyenne of gateaux. Traditionally it layers sheets of almond dacquoise with chocolate buttercream. Here we have an even richer version where the buttercream is replaced by a chocolate marquise, a very rich form of chocolate mousse. The result is a wonderful play on textures and flavours. The meringue layers bring chewy and crunchy to the palate, and the marquise delivers richness and smoothness.

While we are enjoying beautiful autumn weather, it is delightful to serve this with in-season raspberries. Later in the year, try it with a coffee custard and pure cream.

Chocolate marquise dacquoise sandwich

Serves 8

I like to make this in a thin, high terrine tin, but if you don’t have one, you can use a 24-centimetre (9½-inch) springform tin and cut thin wedges.

– Dutch cocoa powder, for dusting

– whipped cream, to serve (optional)

– raspberries, to serve

Chocolate dacquoise

– 80g skinned hazelnuts

– 65g pure icing sugar, plus extra for dusting

– 100g egg whites (about 3)

– 25g castor sugar

– 25g Dutch cocoa powder

Chocolate marquise

– 170g dark (55%) chocolate, broken into pieces

– 120g unsalted butter

– 2 eggs, separated

– 2 egg yolks

– 110g icing sugar

– 3 tbsp Dutch cocoa powder

– 1 tsp castor sugar

– 75ml pouring cream

To make the chocolate dacquoise, preheat the oven to 180°C and line a large tray with baking paper. Using the tin you are going to use as a guide, draw three outlines on the paper. Turn it upside down so the pencil lines are away from the food but still visible through the paper. Set aside.

Place the hazelnuts on another baking tray and toast for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Finely grind 70 grams of the hazelnuts with the icing sugar. Roughly chop the remaining hazelnuts and set aside for later.

Place the egg whites and a pinch of castor sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat on medium speed until stiff peaks form. Gradually add the remaining sugar, one-third at a time, incorporating each batch before adding the next. Continue mixing on medium speed for a further five minutes for a stronger, more developed meringue. Remove the bowl from the mixer and gently fold in the cocoa and hazelnut and sugar mixture until just combined. Transfer the dacquoise mixture to a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle. Pipe the meringue around the outside of each outline on the prepared tray first, and then move inward. Sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts and dust twice with extra icing sugar. This will create a better crust on the surface.

Place the tray in the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until golden. Your dacquoise must be crisp on the outside and soft and moist on the inside. Remove from the oven, and set aside to cool completely. When cool, gently remove the meringues from the baking paper.

To make the chocolate marquise, melt the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Stir until smooth and well combined. Lightly beat the four egg yolks, then stir into the chocolate mixture. Sift together the icing sugar and cocoa powder and stir into the mixture. Beat the egg whites to soft peaks, then add the castor sugar and gently fold into the chocolate mixture. Whip the cream to soft peaks and fold into the mixture.

To assemble, line your chosen tin with foil and then plastic film, leaving some overhanging the edges to help lift it out later. Trim the meringue layers to fit. Place one meringue face down in the tin, then pour over half the marquise mixture. Add a second meringue, followed by all but a couple of spoons of marquise mixture. Top with the final meringue. Cover and chill overnight. Chill the extra marquise in a bowl.

When you’re ready to serve, invert the chocolate sandwich onto a serving platter and neaten the edges with a hot knife (one with the blade heated under hot water and wiped dry). Spread the remaining marquise mixture over the top and dust with cocoa powder. You could also do a little decorative piping along the top with some whipped cream, if you like. Serve with raspberries.

This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Apr 13, 2019 as "Pretty little layers". Subscribe here.

Annie Smithers
is the owner and chef of du Fermier in Trentham, Victoria. She is a food editor of The Saturday Paper.