Holiday Dessert: Chocolate Terrine with Orange Crème Anglaise

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

For the Chocolate Terrine:
Canola oil
12 ounces (350 grams) 70% dark chocolate
1 cup (225 grams) 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

Lightly oil a 6 cup terrine mold or loaf pan.  Line mold with plastic wrap.
Melt chocolate and butter in a double boiler over barely simmering water, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat and cool slightly.
Add 8 egg yolks to cooled chocolate mixture, stirring to combine.  Sift together confectioners’ sugar and cocoa.  Stir into the chocolate mixture.
Beat cream in bowl of electric mixer until soft peaks form.  Transfer to another bowl and refrigerate until use.  Beat egg whites with sugar in clean bowl of electric mixer until soft peaks form.
Fold egg whites into chocolate mixture, then fold in whipped cream.
Pour into terrine mold and cover with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate 12 hours.  (Terrine may be prepared up to 3 days in advance.)

For the Orange Crème Anglaise:
Makes about 2 cups

1 cup (250 ml.) heavy cream
1 cup (250 ml.) whole milk
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
2 teaspoons grated untreated orange zest
5 large egg yolks

Combine the cream, milk and 4 tablespoons sugar in a medium saucepan.  Add the vanilla bean with seeds and orange zest.  Heat to a simmer, stirring.  Remove pan from heat, cover and let sit 30 minutes to let flavors infuse.
Whisk egg yolks with the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in a medium bowl until mixture thickens and lightens in color.  Whisking constantly, pour 1/3 cream mixture into egg mixture.  Return egg mixture to the saucepan.  Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until 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.)
Strain custard through a fine meshed sieve into a metal bowl set in a larger bowl of ice water.  Cool custard, stirring occasionally.  When completely cool, pour into a container.  Place plastic wrap over surface of custard.  Cover container and refrigerate.  (May be prepared up to 3 days in advance.)

For the Gran Marnier Oranges:
2 navel oranges
2-3 tablespoons Gran Marnier or Cointreau
1 teaspoon sugar

Cut away peel and pith of oranges with a knife.
Slice oranges horizontally, about 1/4″ thick
Cut out orange segments.  Toss segments with Gran Marnier and sugar in a bowl.  Let sit at least 2 hours and up to 1 day. (Cover and refrigerate until use.)

To serve:
Remove terrine from mold.  Run a knife under hot water and wipe dry.  Slice terrine in 1/4 inch slices.  Arrange 1-2 slices on a plate.  Drizzle Orange Crème Anglaise around terrine.  Garnish with Gran Marnier Oranges.

4 thoughts on “Holiday Dessert: Chocolate Terrine with Orange Crème Anglaise

  1. Oh dear, just when I had mentally scratched the English trifle from the Christmas menu, thinking “No more sugar” here comes a lovely dessert with my favorite combo of orange and chocolate. What to do!? 😉

  2. Talk about a fabulous dessert!!! Always a crowd pleaser which leaves everyone begging for more. A little goes a long way! One of my favorites!

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