Chocolate Marquise “Forest Floor” (Daring Bakers 2011)

May 30, 2011

Chocolate Marquise 'Forest Floor'

I know I’m a sporadic Daring Baker and I’m shamefully late with this one but I found it hard to resist this one challenge. Namely because it’s chocolate and hello! it’s one of my favourites, the Marquise. As we were told, this was a special dessert that was chosen because it’s relatively unknown and it doesn’t feature in standard cookbooks and online. From my end, I’ve seen it on many dessert menus and there are a multitude of recipes online and in mainstream cookbooks (Gordon Ramsay for one). So I’m not sure if it’s really that rare of a dessert but I do agree on one thing, it’s special and I couldn’t resist making it again. Also, advance apologies for the shoddy photos; night photography is the bane of my blogging existence!

Chocolate Marquise 'Forest Floor'

The original hosts’ recipe consisted of a spiced and tequila-ed marquise served with a mound of torched meringue, spiced nuts and tequila caramel. This time round, I reduced the meringue to a mere cameo role because I can’t stand the stuff especially when it isn’t baked. Also I wanted it to be all about the chocolate so I chose to leave the mousse plain (except for a smidgen of Grand Marnier) and I skipped the caramel and spiced nuts altogether. It was a different marquise to the one I made last year, which was in-your-face and shamelessly rich, but I really loved this one, especially straight out of the freezer.

Chocolate Marquise 'Forest Floor'
A bowl-less way of serving (hello tile!) – marquise slab dusted with cocoa


Food loving Sydneysiders would recognise the inspiration behind this dessert; the widely lauded ‘Chocolate Forest Floor’ from Sepia Restaurant. So utterly beautiful that it was featured as one of Terry Durack’s best dishes of 2010. Of course this homely version pales in comparison to theirs but consider it my humble tribute to a stunner. It was a bit crazy and time-consuming but it was a riot of different textures and flavours. Plus I was beyond thrilled that it literally looked like a bowl of dirt! And just to prove that there is actually mousse under there…

Chocolate Marquise 'Forest Floor'


I used a chocolate hazelnut soil,brown sugar, cinnamon and hazelnut crumble as dirt, dehydrated meringue crushed to look like green grassy moss, crystallised dill fronds for extra foliage and finally, shaved chocolate to look like twigs and bark. For one last zing, I also served some of it with a scoop of homemade lemon and olive oil ice cream, as I love the combo of chocolate and citrus. The marquise was delicious on its own but with all the extra ‘garden’ frills, it was simply dessert heaven.

The May 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Emma of Cook Craft Grow and Jenny of Purple House Dirt. They chose to challenge everyone to make a Chocolate Marquise. The inspiration for this recipe comes from a dessert they prepared at a restaurant in Seattle.

Chocolate Marquise 'Forest Floor'

This is the recipe for the marquise only. To assemble the dessert;

• I used this crumble recipe as a basis for the soil and dirt (one portion left plain, another portion with cocoa powder to replace half the hazelnut meal).

• The moss is a basic meringue recipe with added green colouring, baked until completely cooked through and dry (then crushed to a rough powder).

• The dill fronds were dipped in lightly beaten egg white then dusted with caster sugar.

• The twigs were made with the same method as making chocolate curls as posted here.

• And finally the ice cream was based on my basic recipe with the passionfruit purée replaced with 100ml olive oil and finely grated zest of 2 lemons. Feel free to use whatever crumble/meringue/ice cream recipe that works for you. 

Chocolate Marquise
Makes enough to fill a 20cm square tin for 6 people
Write a review
Print
Chocolate Base
  1. 85g good quality dark chocolate (I used Belgian Callebaut but I also recommend Valrhona)
  2. 90ml heavy whipping cream
  3. pinch of salt
  4. 1 Tbl (15ml) Grand Marnier
  5. 1 Tbl glucose syrup / light corn syrup
  6. 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  7. 1 Tbl of Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  8. 8g unsalted butter
Marquise
  1. 120ml heavy whipping cream
  2. 3 large egg yolks, room temperature
  3. 1 large egg (make sure you’re using ultra fresh eggs)
  4. 40g sugar
  5. Dutch-processed cocoa powder for dusting
Chocolate Base
  1. In a pot over low gentle heat, add the chocolate and cream and warm through until chocolate has melted. Stir to combine. Add the remaining ingredients and mix once glucose syrup and butter has melted. Set aside to cool to warm while you begin the marquise.
Marquise
  1. Whisk the cream until soft peaks and set aside in the fridge. Line a 20cm square tin with baking paper or clingwrap.
  2. With an electric mixer, whisk yolks, the egg and sugar in another bowl for about 8-10 minutes or until the mixture is pale and thick.
  3. Add the slightly warm chocolate base mixture to the whipped eggs (from above recipe) and gently fold through to combine.
  4. Add a quarter of the whipped cream to the chocolate mix and gently stir to lighten. Add the remaining cream and gently fold until just mixed. Be careful not to knock so much air out of the eggs.
  5. Pour into your prepared tin and give it one rap against the bench to get rid of air bubbles. Cover and freeze until firm.
  6. When ready to serve, use the baking paper to lift out the marquise. Cut frozen marquise into squares with a hot knife (wiping after each cut) and dust in cocoa powder. Only do this at the last minute before serving because it will start to melt immediately.
Notes
  1. Be sure to use very fresh eggs because this version leaves it raw so it’s not recommended for children etc. The Daring Bakers recipe uses the sugar plus 20ml water to make a hot syrup to pour into the eggs while it’s whisking (which in effect, ‘cooks’ the eggs). Check out the other daring bakers for the original recipe.
Citrus and Candy http://www.citrusandcandy.com/
 

{ 87 comments… read them below or add one }

Bernadette Cross March 10, 2013 at 16:54

I think this may be one of your prettiest desserts yet, Ms Candy! We get some pasteurized eggs around here, I wonder if those would work for a raw preparation. Great take on the challenge. The dessert is interesting, looks fabulous and I can’t wait to try it.
Bernadette Cross recently posted..Heather Penko

Reply

Melva Wade December 14, 2011 at 03:37

This dessert definitely looks amazing and so greedy. Is that what it is, or is it crumbled cookie? Congratulations on an amazing challenge!
Melva Wade recently posted..Acne Tips

Reply

Anders@Icecreamnation.org October 4, 2011 at 18:36

I’ll just add my voice to the general praise! Stunning presentation – love your photos, the clear instructions and the creative sparks. First time on your blog, but will definitely come back:-)

Reply

K&B June 14, 2011 at 23:02

This dessert definitely looks amazing and so greedy.

B from K&B.

Reply

Citrus and Candy June 25, 2011 at 23:42

Thank you so much :)

Reply

Rhonda (The Dainty Baker) June 13, 2011 at 02:10

hello my dear! love the renos done to the site!! and boy!! what a challenge!! well done!!!
Rhonda (The Dainty Baker) recently posted..Chocolate &amp Butterscotch Cake

Reply

Citrus and Candy June 25, 2011 at 23:43

Thank you so much lovely! We miss you here xx

Reply

lifeis2munch June 12, 2011 at 21:54

wow, that looks amazing! definitely looks like forest floor…
lifeis2munch recently posted..Pasteur- Haymarket

Reply

Citrus and Candy June 25, 2011 at 23:43

Thank you! It was a lot of fun throwing it all together :)

Reply

Hotly Spiced June 11, 2011 at 20:48

Don’t worry about the photography. The dessert is interesting, looks fabulous and I can’t wait to try it.
Hotly Spiced recently posted..A Country Sojourn

Reply

Citrus and Candy June 25, 2011 at 23:43

Aww thanks so much! :D

Reply

Anna@ The Littlest Anchovy June 8, 2011 at 16:00

What a beautiful and whimsical dessert. Just perfect!
Anna@ The Littlest Anchovy recently posted..Growing- Garlic

Reply

Citrus and Candy June 25, 2011 at 23:43

Thanks Anna! It was a ball of fun to make and eat hehe.

Reply

mademoiselle délicieuse June 6, 2011 at 22:29

I think this may be one of your prettiest desserts yet, Ms Candy!
mademoiselle délicieuse recently posted..Mango Restaurant 不見不散

Reply

Citrus and Candy June 25, 2011 at 23:46

Thanks so much love xx

Reply

catty June 6, 2011 at 06:35

omg i love this and LOVE the idea of forest floor.. it sure looks authentic!!
catty recently posted..sunshiny summer days and Flat Planet love

Reply

Citrus and Candy June 25, 2011 at 23:47

Cheers Cat! :D

Reply

Samah June 4, 2011 at 01:09

Very creative, cool looking, nice plating.
Good job for the challenge.
Samah recently posted..Caramel Bread Pudding

Reply

JasmyneTea June 2, 2011 at 17:23

It’s awesome dishes like this one that intimidate me from joining the Daring Bakers, lol! Looks fantastic, almost too good to eat!

Reply

Citrus and Candy June 3, 2011 at 02:10

Oh no don’t be intimidated! The beauty of Daring Bakers is that every month, there are different recipes of all different types and levels of difficulty. Best of all, there are HEAPS of daring bakers from all walks of life and we’re all here to help :) Don’t let this stop you from joining, I promise you you’ll have fun :D

Thank you for your lovely comments :)

Reply

Andrea June 1, 2011 at 22:30

WOW this is just wonderful, I think that your finished challenge is the most creative one. I love this forest plating and your photos are amazing.:)
Andrea recently posted..The daring bakers may 2011 challenge- Marquise on meringue

Reply

Citrus and Candy June 3, 2011 at 02:11

Aww thanks so much Andrea! :D

Reply

ginger and scotch June 1, 2011 at 14:35

this looks AWESOME! even for a non-sweet lover like me. just joined daring cooks and can’t wait to get in on the action.

love the photos as usual :)

Reply

Citrus and Candy June 1, 2011 at 19:13

Aah awesome! Welcome to the daring kitchen! :D And thanks so much for your awesome compliment *blush*

Reply

Sirius73 June 1, 2011 at 06:19

Wow! This is such a great dish – I’m stunned! Congratulations on an amazing challenge! I haven’t seen this concept before, but this is the kind of food that keeps me going and trying. Thank you for the inspiration!
Sirius73 recently posted..Daring Bakers May 2011 Challenge – Chocolate Marquise

Reply

Citrus and Candy June 1, 2011 at 19:12

Thank you so much for your kind words :D

Reply

Conor @ Hold the Beef June 1, 2011 at 01:17

You had me completely stumped with these photos! Stumped.. get it? Oh lord actually forget that, it’s so lame, I take it back. You had me fooled, that’s what you did!

THis is freakin awesome, so creative and artistic and beautifully executed :)
Conor @ Hold the Beef recently posted..Good Food &amp Wine Show 2011

Reply

Citrus and Candy June 1, 2011 at 02:43

ROFL love your work Conor. And thank you! xx

Reply

shaz May 31, 2011 at 22:52

That looks fantastic. I thought the dill was actually pine needles at first! Great take on the challenge.
shaz recently posted..Pop on over

Reply

Citrus and Candy June 1, 2011 at 02:43

Hi Shaz. Hehe the pine needles would’ve certainly added a different flavour to the dessert. Umm interesting… :P

Reply

penny aka jeroxie May 31, 2011 at 22:25

Speechless! So amazing.
penny aka jeroxie recently posted..A Preview – Starlight Five Chef’s Dinner 2011

Reply

Citrus and Candy June 1, 2011 at 02:42

Aww thanks Penny! xx

Reply

kimberlycun May 31, 2011 at 20:26

i’ve never seen anything like it before! and surprisingly manageable number of ingredients! thanks for sharing the recipe!
kimberlycun recently posted..Hate it or Love it Pork Supreme Recipe

Reply

Citrus and Candy June 1, 2011 at 02:42

You’re welcome Kimberly! The marquise and the other elements are all super easy to make with relatively basic ingredients so it’s def not a difficult dessert at all :)

Reply

sugarpuffi May 31, 2011 at 13:52

Better late than never :p and I seriously did not realize that was the dessert until I read on. I tthought at first, you were roasting the chocolate or something *face palm*

Reply

Citrus and Candy June 1, 2011 at 02:41

Lol now that is something I’ve never tried before.

Reply

sara May 31, 2011 at 03:11

Gorgeous! What a beautiful idea, this looks delicious!
sara recently posted..Cookbook Giveaway!

Reply

Citrus and Candy June 1, 2011 at 02:40

Hi Sara, thanks so much! :D It certainly tasted equally good!

Reply

Jennifer May 31, 2011 at 02:49

Oh wow..that is amazing!I’ve never seen or heard of anything like it,but I’m not on very food blogs,nor do i read a ton of cookbooks.
Great job!

Reply

Citrus and Candy June 1, 2011 at 02:49

Thank you so much! :D

Reply

Laura May 31, 2011 at 00:50

Really beautiful job, Karen. I always look forward to seeing what you do-it is always especially wonderful. This is a very creative take on the challenge-I want to try this now.

The hazelnut soil . . . what is that? I remember seeing something on Gourmet.com about making nutelia soil with chocolate and maltodextrin. Is that what it is, or is it crumbled cookie?

I dealt with the egg safety issue by cooking my eggs and sugar to 140 (really between 140 and 160) degrees before whisking.
Laura recently posted..Ultra Light Cheesecake

Reply

Citrus and Candy June 1, 2011 at 02:39

Hi Laura, you’re absolutely right. The hazelnut soil is merely a baked crumble made with flour, hazelnut meal (or ground hazelnuts), brown sugar, butter and cinnamon. I like to keep things simple, maltodextrin not necessary :D

Thank you so much for your lovely comments! x

Reply

LunaCafe May 31, 2011 at 00:01

Absolutely stunning concept! Love your creativity. I sampled a dessert with chocolate “soil” at Clio in Boston, but it pales in comparison to your rendition of the Sepia original. Thank you so much for sharing. Now I’ll go spread the word on FaceBook. :-) …Susan
LunaCafe recently posted..Chewy Gooey Congo Bars Blondies on Steroids

Reply

Citrus and Candy June 1, 2011 at 02:37

Aww blush, thank you so much!

Reply

LunaCafe May 31, 2011 at 00:00

Absolutely stunning concept! Love your creativity I sampled a dessert with chocolate “soil” at Clio in Boston but it pales in comparison to your rendition of the Sepia original. Thanks you so much for sharing. Now I’ll go spread the word on FaceBook. :-) …Susan
LunaCafe recently posted..Chewy Gooey Congo Bars Blondies on Steroids

Reply

Jacq May 30, 2011 at 23:06

Love the presentation, it looks exactly like a forest floor! I love the photo of the marquise slab as well, absolutely drool-worthy!
Jacq recently posted..El Loco- Surry Hills

Reply

Citrus and Candy May 30, 2011 at 23:33

Cheers Jacq! :D

Reply

Liz May 30, 2011 at 22:36

I love how you veered off the path with your version! Gorgeous photos…I don’t think the night hindered you at all. I think I loved the caramel most of all…but I wouldn’t refuse a beautiful plate from you!
Liz recently posted..Marquise on Meringue

Reply

Citrus and Candy May 30, 2011 at 23:33

Hi Liz, the caramel can also be easily added as a pool under the marquise. Think I’m going to give that a try next because it seems the caramel sauce was a winner! Thank you for your lovely compliments!

Reply

Martyna May 30, 2011 at 20:33

Oh my gosh! This just looks like the perfect chocoholics dessert!!! So beautiful too. I migh take inspiration from your dessert one day.
Martyna recently posted..Crispy skin pork belly to order with parsnip and swede slaw

Reply

Citrus and Candy May 30, 2011 at 23:32

Aww thanks for your lovely comment Martyna. It’s definitely a winner for chocoholics :)

Reply

Renata May 30, 2011 at 19:28

What a different interpretation to the challenge, very creative and I bet delicious.
Renata recently posted..MARQUISE DE CHOCOLATE – Desafio Daring Bakers – Maio- 2011

Reply

Citrus and Candy May 30, 2011 at 23:31

Thank you so much Renata!

Reply

Phuoc'n Delicious May 30, 2011 at 14:55

OMG!!! What a stella dessert! It looks so incredible, well done!

I’ve done the challenge but still need to take pictures and post it.. Eeek!
Phuoc’n Delicious recently posted..Roasted almond and chocolate chip cookies

Reply

Citrus and Candy May 30, 2011 at 15:10

Yup I’m still waiting for yours missy! I want a slice of your sponge! :D

Reply

Minh May 30, 2011 at 14:33

Looks gorgeous Karen!! Love how you layered it all, gorgeous shots
Minh recently posted..El Loco- Surry Hills

Reply

Citrus and Candy May 30, 2011 at 15:10

Aww cheers Minh! :D

Reply

bake in paris May 30, 2011 at 14:26

I adore your interpretation of “Forest Floor”. This is definitely creative and stands out from all other DB members’ presentations. Bravo, Karen :-)

Reply

Citrus and Candy May 30, 2011 at 15:10

Coming from you that means a lot :) Thanks so much Kris!

Reply

Simon @ the heart of food May 30, 2011 at 13:57

If that’s how yours looks, I can’t imagine how Sepia’s one was like! Nice work with the dish. Must have been fun to put together :)

Should get back into the DB challenge. Been a bit slack of late.

Reply

Citrus and Candy May 30, 2011 at 15:09

Aww thanks Simon! It was fun but much debate went on about how to layer it. I just went bugger it and mixed it all up!

Reply

Miss T May 30, 2011 at 12:43

I missed the DB challenge! yours looks tremendous! yummmmm
T x

Reply

Citrus and Candy May 30, 2011 at 15:09

Oh no what a shame because that marquise was definitely worth making. If you ever get a chance, I recommend the chocolate marquise at the very least :) Thanks so much!

Reply

OohLookBel May 30, 2011 at 11:26

I’ve tasted and loved Sepia’s Forest Floor, and yours looks just like it. I remember having to ask (duh!) what the fronds were made from and they said fennel. Your lemon olive oil ice cream would go so beautifully with it.
OohLookBel recently posted..Honey vanilla panna cotta – ASAP!

Reply

Citrus and Candy May 30, 2011 at 15:08

Oh yes Belle, long have I drooled at your Sepia post amongst others and lusted after the dessert! Lol I wanted to use fennel fronds initially but every market I went to, the grocers cut off the fronds! :( But dill was a great substitute and tasted pretty awesome with the dessert.

Reply

joey@FoodiePop May 30, 2011 at 11:24

Looks great, I’m really impressed! Well done!

Reply

Citrus and Candy May 30, 2011 at 15:06

Thanks heaps Joey!

Reply

maria May 30, 2011 at 11:05

Thank you so much for the kind comment you left on my blog! I absolutely LOVE your finished challenge and LOVE all your amazing creations! good job! I’m a beginner at photography and am loving all your professional looking photos…inspiring!
maria recently posted..My first ever Daring Bakers challenge!!! Chocolate Marquise with a tease of lime and coconut

Reply

Citrus and Candy May 30, 2011 at 15:06

Thank you so much Maria! Your lovely comments certainly made my day :D

Reply

Mary May 30, 2011 at 10:48

What a gorgeous creation, and much less fussy than the original challenge recipe. Wish I’d thought of it! I laughed out loud at this line, one I never thought I’d see on a food blog: “I was beyond thrilled that it literally looked like a bowl of dirt”. Great work this month!
Mary recently posted..The Daring Bakers overdose on chocolate!

Reply

Citrus and Candy May 30, 2011 at 15:06

Hi Mary, the bad thing was there as no blowtorch action but at least I didn’t have to use the thermometer :D

Hahaha I think my partner was most confused when I was celebrating my bowl of ‘dirt’ (or rather, worried? Lol!).

Reply

betty May 30, 2011 at 10:18

looks gr8 karen!
betty recently posted..Kuih Bakar

Reply

Citrus and Candy May 30, 2011 at 15:04

Thank you!

Reply

muppy May 30, 2011 at 09:22

Love your presentation!! looks incredible, i think those spice nuts and caramel would have gone quite well…?
muppy recently posted..Baked Whole Rainbow Trout

Reply

Citrus and Candy May 30, 2011 at 15:03

They probably would too! But they were two extra recipes on top of 7 others :P

Reply

Steph May 30, 2011 at 07:09

Amaaaaazing! You’ve outdone yourself Karen. It’s such a fantastic tribute to the inspiration. It really does look just like a forest floor, I can imagine all the different textures and flavours. Yumm I still remember trying your marquise from last year, it was so lovely and rich.
Steph recently posted..The Ultimate Milo Chocolate Malt Cake

Reply

Citrus and Candy May 30, 2011 at 15:03

Hehe it blew my chocolate cravings out of the water. Luckily I have more frozen marquise stowed away…

Reply

Sawsan@chef in disguise May 30, 2011 at 05:29

Amazing! I love your creation! and your blog! and your photography!
Stunning
Sawsan@chef in disguise recently posted..Mujadaralentil spice rice with carmelized onions

Reply

Citrus and Candy May 30, 2011 at 15:02

Blush. Blush. Blush. Thank you so much for your awesome compliments! x

Reply

Lena May 30, 2011 at 04:42

The forest floor looks amazing! What a great idea. Never seen something like this before.
Lena recently posted..Today we go with Cantucchini

Reply

Citrus and Candy May 30, 2011 at 15:01

The original version was quite an inspiration :) Thank you!

Reply

Bourbonnatrix May 30, 2011 at 04:02

WOW! This is amazing! I’d definitely want to dig (!) into this! Great, GREAT job on the challenge! First time on your blog, I’m off to have a look around :)

Reply

Citrus and Candy May 30, 2011 at 15:01

Thanks so much :D

Reply

Karla May 30, 2011 at 03:39

Karen! This looks amazing. You are so creative. I’ve had edible “soil” in salads and savory dishes but I’ve never had it in a dessert form. Thanks for the welcome. :-)

We get some pasteurized eggs around here, I wonder if those would work for a raw preparation. (making it safer?)
Karla recently posted..Chocolate Marquise on Meringue

Reply

Citrus and Candy May 30, 2011 at 15:01

Hi Karla! I don’t see pasteurized eggs being a problem. To be honest the chances of poisoning from raw eggs (that are fresh) are slim and I’ve never had a problem with it all my life so I’m never concerned when I’m baking. That being said, I certainly wouldn’t risk it with children :) Thanks for your lovely comments!

Reply

stacie tamaki May 30, 2011 at 03:02

Oh my gosh I LOVE it! Had never seen the original so thank you for the link. Now I really want to make this, well, for any old reason! Stunning :D
stacie tamaki recently posted..Be The Match Opens Their Online Gift Shop

Reply

Citrus and Candy May 30, 2011 at 14:58

Aww thank you so much! I’ve still yet to get myself into the restaurant to taste the original! At the moment it only lives in my dreams :P

Reply

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

Previous post:

Next post: