Chocolate Terrine with Orange Crème Anglaise is most worthy of the holiday table. Not only is it appropriately elegant and sinfully rich, it may be prepared up to 3 days in advance, allowing you to get on with your Christmas shopping and preparations for house guests.
Also known as a Marquis au Chocolat, this popular French dessert is like eating a truffle in the form of a brick. I first made this recipe as a finale to a cheese fondue party, when I wanted a simple yet rich chocolate dessert with a French twist. I scoured my cookbooks and found inspiration in a recipe for Marquis au Chocolat by Thomas Keller in the Bouchon Cookbook. I paired the chocolate with orange which proved to be a match made in heaven. Slivers of dark chocolate nestled in a pool of cool orange-infused crème anglaise, studded with Gran Marnier macerated fruit. Not only did the orange add a bejeweled touch, its citrus notes brightened the chocolate, elevating this classic to celebratory status, befitting the holiday table.
Chocolate Terrine with Orange Crème Anglaise and Gran Marnier Oranges
Adapted from Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Cookbook
Serves 10 to 12
12 ounces (350 g) 70% dark chocolate
1 cup (225 g) unsalted butter
4 large eggs, separated
4 large egg yolks
1 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup (125 ml) heavy cream
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1. Lightly oil a 1 1/2 quart terrine mold or loaf pan. Line the mold with plastic wrap.
2. Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler over barely simmering water, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and cool slightly.
Add 8 egg yolks to the cooled chocolate mixture, stirring to combine. Sift together the confectioners’ sugar and cocoa and stir into the chocolate mixture.
3. Beat cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment until soft peaks form. Transfer to another bowl and refrigerate until use.
4. Clean the mixing bowl and then beat the egg whites with the 2 teaspoons sugar until soft peaks form. Fold egg whites into chocolate mixture, then fold in the whipped cream.
Pour into the terrine mold and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 12 hours. (Terrine may be prepared up to 2 days in advance.)
Orange Crème Anglaise:
Makes about 2 cups
1 cup (250 ml) heavy cream
1 cup (250 ml) whole milk
6 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
1/2 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
2 teaspoons finely grated untreated orange zest
5 large egg yolks
1. Combine the cream, milk, 4 tablespoons sugar, vanilla bean and seeds, and the orange zest in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly, then remove the pan from heat. Cover and let stand 30 minutes to let the flavors infuse.
2. Whisk egg yolks with the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in a medium bowl until thick and light in color. Whisking constantly, pour one-third of the cream mixture into the egg mixture. Pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of the spoon, about 10 minutes. (To check if done, run a finger down the back of the wooden spoon. The line should remain clearly intact without the custard running.)
3. Strain the custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a metal bowl set in a larger bowl of ice water. Cool the custard, stirring occasionally. When completely cool, pour into a container. Place plastic wrap over the surface of custard. Cover the container and refrigerate until use. (The custard may be prepared up to 2 days in advance.)
Gran Marnier Oranges:
2 navel oranges
2 to 3 tablespoons orange flavored liqueur, such as Gran Marnier or Cointreau
1 teaspoon sugar
Cut away the peel and pith of the oranges with a knife. Slice the oranges crosswise, about 1/4-inch thick. Cut out the orange segments and place in a bowl. Add the Gran Marnier and sugar and stir to combine. Let stand at least 2 hours and up to 1 day. (Cover and refrigerate until use.)
Remove the terrine from mold. Run a knife under hot water and wipe dry. Slice the terrine in 1/4-inch slices. Arrange 1 to 2 slices on a plate. Drizzle the Orange Crème Anglaise around the terrine. Serve garnished with Gran Marnier Oranges.