Mocha Creme Cafe
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La Belle Cuisine - More Chocolate Treats

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   Fine Cuisine with Art Infusion

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


Alice Medrich's Mocha Marjolaine


"There's nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with CHOCOLATE."
Linda Grayson, "The Pickwick Papers"



"You have given chocolates before, just never like this."

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  Gavina - Espresso Italiano
Espresso Italiano
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  Jean Beraud - Paris Patisserie 1889
Paris Patisserie 1889
Jean Beraud
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Mocha Marjolaine

A Year in Chocolate: Four Seasons of Unforgettable Desserts
A Year in Chocolate:
Four Seasons of Unforgettable Desserts

By Alice Medrich, 2001, Warner Books

“A sophisticated fall birthday or celebration cake: four layers of soft nutty meringue filled with light mocha ganache and frosted with dark bittersweet ganache.”

Serves 10 to 12

Meringue Nut Layer
3/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted and completely cooled, skins rubbed off
3/4 cup whole almonds, toasted and cooled
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
6 egg whites, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

2 cups heavy cream
13 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder

Several caramel-glazed or gilded toasted hazelnuts and/or chocolate leaves (optional)

[The cookbook contains an entire section devoted to “dressing up desserts” and tempering chocolate.]

16x12- or 17x11-inch jelly-roll pan, lined with parchment paper

Position a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. In a food processor with a clean, dry bowl, pulse the hazelnuts, almonds, flour, and 1/2 cup of the sugar to a fine meal. Set aside.
To make the meringue layers, in a large, clean, dry mixer bowl, combine the egg whites with the cream of tartar. Beat at medium speed until soft
peaks form when the beaters are lifted. On high speed, gradually beat in the remaining 1/4 cup sugar until stiff but not dry. Pour the nuts over the egg whites and fold with a rubber spatula just until incorporated. Spread the
batter evenly in the lined pan.
Bake until golden brown and springy to the touch, 25 to30 minutes. Cool
in the pan set on a rack. The meringue layer may be prepared up to 2 days ahead. Cover tightly but carefully and store at room temperature.
To make the ganache filling and glaze, bring 1 1/3 cups of the cream to
a simmer. Off heat, stir in the chocolate until it is completely melted and smooth. Transfer 1 cup of the ganache to another bowl. Stir in the espresso powder and the remaining 2/3 cup of cold cream to make a lighter ganache. Chill the light ganache for at least 2 hours or until needed. Leave the dark ganache at room temperature to cool and thicken.
To assemble the cake, cut around the edges of the pan to detach the meringue. Invert the pan over a sheet of wax paper and remove the pan.
Peel off the paper liner and cut the meringue in half crosswise, then in
half lengthwise, to make 4 rectangular layers.
Use a pancake turner to set 1 layer of meringue on a baking sheet. Remove the chilled ganache from the refrigerator and beat it with a hand-held mixer until it is light-colored and stiff enough to hold good shape for spreading. Spread one-third of the ganache evenly over the layer. Place a second layer on top and press it level. Repeat with half of the remaining ganache and the third layer. Finally, spread the remaining ganache and top with the last layer. Refrigerate the cake until firm, at least 1 hour.
Remove the cake from the refrigerator, Using a sharp serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion, trim the sides of the cake evenly. Spread the top and sides of the cake with a very thin coat of dark ganache just to create a smooth surface. If the ganache is stiff or dull, set the bowl in another bowl of hot water and stir until it is soft, shiny, and spreadable. Frost the top and sides of the cake with smooth or swirly strokes. Decorate, if desired, with gilded nuts and/or chocolate leaves. Slide a spatula under the cake to transfer it to a serving dish. Refrigerate to store. Remove the cake from the refrigerator 30 to 60 minutes before serving to soften the layers and open up the flavors.

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