Marquise au chocolat

Here is the most chocolatey dessert you are ever likely to eat. You must use the best dark chocolate you can get – ideally Valrhona, but Green and Black’s or Waitrose own brand are good as well. It can be prepared entirely in the microwave, on a low setting.

8 oz plain bitter chocolate
4 oz icing sugar
1-2 tbsp strong black coffee
pinch of salt
6 oz unsalted butter, cut into pieces
grated rind of 1 orange
3 eggs, separated

Line a 1 lb loaf tin with cling film. Break the chocolate into small pieces and put in a heatproof bowl with the coffee. Melt it either over simmering water, or in the microwave on low, stirring occasionally. Beware of overheating it!

Remove from the heat and add the butter, egg yolks, sugar, salt and orange rind. Heat again until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Leave to cool slightly while you beat the egg whites until they hold soft peaks. Fold them into the chocolate mixture in two batches, ensuring that they are well blended – no white streaks please. Pour the mixture into the loaf tin, cover with cling film, and chill for at least 24 hours.

To serve, turn out and cut into thin slices. Serve on plates coated with cream or (preferably) orange-flavoured crème anglaise.

This recipe is based on one from Mireille Johnston’s Complete French Cookery Course.

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