For Steve’s one-week-early birthday meal at my mom’s I decided to make a marjolaine for our dessert. He’s a sucker for anything with dacquoise or choux paste so of course I wanted to include at least one of those components in his celebration dessert. Since we won’t be in GR on his actual birthday, Mom hosted us, along with cousin Clark, for a repast of her famous Swiss steak, cheesy potatoes, green beans and crunchy cole slaw. What a great way to launch a birthday week, eh Stevie?
A classic marjolaine is a layered, flourless dessert consisting of rectangles of nutty meringue (dacquoise) layered with ganache and pastry cream or buttercream. Once assembled it’s finished off with a coating of ganache or buttercream along with sliced almonds pressed onto the sides for garnish. Some flavors that are popular with the dark chocolate ganache are hazelnut, coconut, coffee or pistachio.
In my case chocolate and hazelnut were the choices, particularly since I had some of my homemade praliné in the fridge. The plan: three layers of toasted hazelnut-topped dacquoise sandwiched with whipped dark chocolate-praliné ganache and garnished with Chantilly, dacquoise kisses and more ganache. I opted for the rustic approach without the finish coat.
A quick note: my marjolaine became “floured” due to the addition of chocolate shortbread crumbs as one of my layers - omit that component and it is indeed flourless!
In preparation for dacquoise baking I used my 4” x 11” tart form to outline my rectangles - just place the form on the Silpat, dust powdered sugar over, lift off the form and voilà - the shapes are there as simple templates for the dacquoise. Cool.
I had enough batter for the three rectangles plus some leftover for petite kisses. Awwwww.
Before baking I sprinkled chopped hazelnuts on top along with a generous dusting of powdered sugar.
Dacquoise bakes at 350ºF for about 20 minutes. My version is a soft meringue - I look for lightly browned and set rectangles.
For the ganache I put 100 g dark chocolate pastilles in a heatproof bowl, brought 250 ml heavy cream to a boil, poured it over the chocolate, blended until smooth and then added 50 g (about 15% by weight of the ganache) of praliné (caramelized hazelnuts processed to a paste). Pop it into the fridge to chill before whipping it up for the layering portion of the program. I had plenty of ganache for this purpose - good for perhaps some petite tartelettes or profiteroles.
One rectangle of dacquoise down, ganache spread over it, then my chocolate crunchy crumbs (my favorite chocolate shortbread dough baked into crumbs) sprinkled over that.
Another layer of dacquoise then ganache then crumbs and so on.
To top it off I piped some Chantilly cream “pearls” along the length with swirls of ganache down the center and popped some of the dacquoise kisses right down the middle.
We enjoyed simple slices for the birthday dessert. Light, airy, delicious!
Enjoy spring and here’s to lots of May flowers coming soon!
And as always - happy baking!