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La Belle Cuisine - More Lagniappe * Recipes

Fine Cuisine with Art Infusion

"To cook is to create. And to create an act of integrity, and faith."

*Lagniappe (lan-yap)  - a little something extra,
that little unexpected pleasant surprise.


Nancy Silverton's Marjolaine




"I have had the good fortune of observing Nancy Silverton at my own
cookstove preparing desserts that tantalize the tastebuds and glorify the appetite.
Her recipes are seductive and delectable and presented with uncommon clarity.
This is a book [Nancy Silverton's 'Desserts'] that should give good cheer and
untold pleasure to amateurs and professionals alike."
~ Craig Claiborne

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"The challenge in creating a good dessert, and the pleasure it brings to its recipient, is unmatched by any other type of cooking. There is something that is associated with a homemade dessert that evokes among all of us a sense of comfort and
well-being - it is a gift of love."
~ Nancy Silverton




by Nancy Silverton, 1986, Harper & Row

“Almond-hazelnut meringue layered with chocolate, whipped cream, and
orange buttercream make the marjolaine. When cut, the cross-section of several colors is lovely.
At the restaurant, I make this dessert the French way, baking the meringue in four large sheets, sandwiching them together with filling, and then cutting it into
squares to serve. The meringue is quite brittle, however, and unless you’re really adept, the large sheets can shatter when you handle them. For the home cook,
baking the meringue in rounds, as described below, makes the dessert much less difficult to assemble, and the combination of flavors and colors remains the same.
Use four 8-inch flan rings and one 8-inch high-sided springform pan or a
2 1/2-inch-high entremet ring.”

Makes one 8-inch round cake, serving 10-12

To Prepare Pans:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Meringue Layers:

1 1/3 cup almonds (6 ounces)
1 cp hazelnuts (4 ounces)
2/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar in all
2 teaspoons flour
6 egg whites


3/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sour cream
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup orange liqueur
1 cup Buttercream [recipe follows]
2 tablespoons grated or finely chopped orange zest (2 oranges)
6 tablespoons fresh orange juice

To Decorate:

1/2 cup Bitter Chocolate Glaze [recipe follows]

Making the meringue layers

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees [F]. Adjust oven racks to upper and middle positions.
Spread the almonds and the hazelnuts on separate baking sheets and toast each for 8-10 minutes, until brown. Cool. Rub the hazelnuts in a clean dish towel to remove skins.
Brush the baking sheets with melted butter. Line with [parchment] paper, butter again, and chill briefly to set. Dust with flour and knock off excess.
Set aside.
In a food processor, grind together the nuts, 2/3 cup sugar and flour until
the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Do not grind to a paste. Depending
on the size of your food processor, you may have to grind the ingredients in two batches.
Using the whisk attachment of an electric mixer, beat the egg whites on low speed until frothy. Increase speed to medium and beat until soft peaks form. Increase speed to high and very gradually beat in the 3 tablespoons sugar, beating until peaks are stiff and glossy. Fold in the nut mixture in two batches.
Place the flan rings on the paper-lined baking sheets. Divide the meringue mixture into four parts and spread thinly in the flan rings, using the back of a spoon or an offset metal spatula. The layers should be no more than 3/8 inch thick. (There may be meringue left over.) Bake for 20-25 minutes, until layers are very crisp and lightly browned. Rotate the baking sheets once during baking so that the layers cook evenly.
When cool, run a sharp knife around the inside edges of the flan rings to release. Remove rings. Peel off meringue layers. Trim the edges of the meringue layers so that they fit into the springform pan by holding them
up with one hand and whittling away carefully at the sides with a small,
sharp knife. Center one meringue layer in the bottom of the springform pan; set aside.

Making the fillings and assembling the Marjolaine

In an electric mixer, beat the heavy cream with the sour cream until thick enough not to spatter. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until thick and mousselike. Remove from mixer and whisk a few times by hand to form soft peaks. Refrigerate.
Cut the chocolate into 2-inch pieces. In a heatproof bowl, melt chocolate over barely simmering water. (The water should not touch the bottom of the bowl or the chocolate will burn.) Turn off heat and let stand. In a small saucepan, heat 1/4 of the orange liqueur over low heat to steaming. Stir into the chocolate. Remove bowl from heat and stir 1/4 cup whipped cream into the chocolate. The mixture should be smooth and shiny.
As soon as the chocolate mixture has been made, spread it over the meringue layer to cover the surface. Place another meringue layer on top of the chocolate and press down lightly to spread the filling evenly. Next, spread on an even layer of 1 1/4 cups whipped cream. Place another meringue layer on top and press down lightly. Refrigerate.
Place the buttercream and orange zest in the metal bowl of an electric mixer with the wire whisk attached; set aside. Combine the orange juice and remaining 1/4 cup orange liqueur in a saucepan and boil until the liquid reduces to about 2 tablespoons and starts to caramelize. Immediately pour the hot liquid into the buttercream and beat on high speed until smooth and shiny. Measure out 3 tablespoons of orange buttercream; set aside.
Remove springform pan from refrigerator and spread all but the 3 reserved tablespoons of orange buttercream onto the meringue layer. Top with last meringue layer and press down lightly. Spread reserved 3 tablespoons buttercream evenly on top. The cake will not be as high as the sides of the pan. Refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours.

Glazing the Marjolaine
Warm the chocolate glaze over barely simmering water until just warm
enough to be pourable, but not hot. Pour onto top of the Marjolaine, turning the pan to distribute a thin even layer. Pour off excess. Refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes.
The marjolaine is best after it has set for several hours or overnight in the refrigerator, so that the flavors can come together and the meringue can soften a bit. Keep refrigerated up to five days.

Unmolding and serving the Marjolaine
Unmold by placing hot towels briefly around the pan and then releasing the sides. Smooth sides with a warm knife or metal spatula if necessary. Because the marjolaine is so crisp, you can’t slice it by cutting straight down as you would for a softer cake. Instead, heat a knife and rock it back and forth as you cut. Serve in very thin slices with Raspberry Sauce or Strawberry Sauce.


Makes 4 cups

“This buttercream was inspired by one I learned to make at the Lenôtre school in France. Most buttercreams are made by pouring hot sugar syrup over beaten egg yolks and then combining with butter, but this one has a base of crème Anglaise – egg custard. Don’t hesitate to double the recipe and make a big batch of vanilla buttercream to keep in the freezer and flavor as you need it for various recipes.”

1/2 cup milk
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
2/3 cup granulated sugar in all
7 egg yolks
1 pound, 2 ounces unsalted butter (4 1/2 sticks), well softened

In a 2-quart stainless steel saucepan, scald the milk, vanilla bean, and ½ cup of the sugar. Meanwhile, in an electric mixer or with a wire whisk, beat egg yolks with remaining sugar until mixture is thick and pale yellow and forms a ribbon when the beater is lifted. Pour about one third of the hot milk onto the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Stop whisking briefly as the mixture reaches the boiling point to allow it to bubble. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer back into mixing bowl and beat on medium speed until thick, mousselike, and doubled in volume. Set aside.
Using the paddle attachment of an electric mixer, beat butter on medium-high speed until it whitens and holds soft peaks and makes a slapping sound against the sides of the bowl, 3-5 minutes. Pour the egg yolk mixture down the side of the bowl into the butter in a steady stream, beating continuously on medium speed. The mixture may separate but it will recombine as you continue beating. Beat until the underside of the bowl is cool, and the buttercream is smooth and shiny. The buttercream can be used immediately or it keeps refrigerated up to ten days or frozen up to three months.

Bitter Chocolate Glaze

Makes 2 cups

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3/4 stick)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon light corn syrup
3/4 cup heavy cream
6 tablespoons Cognac (or an alcohol of your choice)
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (optional if your chocolate
is not bitter enough)

Cur chocolate into 2-inch pieces. In a heatproof bowl, melt chocolate with butter and corn syrup over barely simmering water. (The water should not touch the bottom of the bowl or the chocolate will burn.) Turn off heat and let mixture stand over warm water until ready to use.
In a small saucepan whisk together the cream, brandy, and cocoa powder. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly until the cocoa powder is dissolved. Scrape into the melted chocolate mixture and stir to combine. Use the sauce while it is still warm.
Chocolate glaze will keep for months stored in the refrigerator. To reuse, reheat glaze in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of barely simmering water.

Featured Archive Recipe:
Mocha Marjolaine from "A Year in Chocolate"


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