Excerpt from Ari’s Top 5 enews
Soft hazelnut meringue + bunch of buttercream = a superfine French pastry
One of the planet’s premier pastry makers and baking book writers, the Paris-based American David Lebowitz writes, “Yes, marjolaine is a project, but worth it!” He’s writing about making a marjolaine torte at home. Happily, for folks like me who like the idea of marjolaine but have enough other, not-related-to-pastry projects on our daily dockets, the crew at the Bakehouse have done all the work for us. The only project we need to undertake is to plan a drive over to Plaza Drive during the month of November and purchase as much marjolaine as we want. Single slices work well for a bit of a dessert, or an afternoon pick-me-up; whole tortes are terrific for family gatherings, office parties, or for pastry-loving football fans. And as New York City-based food writer Genevieve Yam says, “Just be sure to save yourself a slice for the next day, because it makes a great breakfast. Trust me, I know.”
Writing in Epicurious, Yam liberally sings the praises of the magical marjolaine. In a piece entitled, “This Classic French Cake Tastes Like the World’s Best Candy Bar,” Yam writes:
The majestic marjolaine—beloved by chefs all over … ask any chef who is well-versed in classical French cuisine and it’s likely they’ll start going on and on about how delicious this layered dessert is. The marjolaine—made with nutty meringue, rich chocolate ganache, and vanilla and hazelnut buttercreams—was created by celebrated French chef Fernand Point. During its heyday in the 1930s, Point’s restaurant La Pyramide, located in Vienne, France, was a culinary temple for many—including famed chefs Paul Bocuse and the Troisgros brothers.
Thomas Keller, of French Laundry fame, says the marjolaine torte is “a cross between a cake and a meringue, one that’s creamy, with a slight crunch, both chewy and cakelike, fully flavored… All those components in one bite.” Co-managing partner at the Bakehouse (and co-author of the widely acclaimed Celebrate Every Day), Amy Emberling, shares the “why” behind the appearance of this terrific French torte on the Bakehouse specials list this month:
It’s a favorite of mine. Early in my career, I bought Alice Medrich’s first book, Cocolat: Extraordinary Chocolate Desserts, which was published in 1990. The inspiration for our version of this cake is from her book. By the time I was aware of her Cocolat shops, they had closed. I was pretty disappointed.
Rather than letting the sadness stop her, in a story of the sort of positive persistence that is woven throughout all of the Core Stories of the ZCoB, Amy initiated the work to make the cake here at the Bakehouse as Medrich once did for her own bakeries.
The Bakehouse’s Marjolaine Torte is terrific as is. Be sure to let it come to room temperature so that you can access its complex flavors. If you want to gild the Marjolaine’s magical chocolate-hazelnut meringue marvelousness, consider putting a smear of the lovely Noccioliva Italian artisan Hazelnut Chocolate spread on the plate—we have jars of it for sale at the Coffee Company, Deli, and Roadhouse!