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Dark Chocolate Terrine with Coffee and Cardamom
45 minutes plus chilling
This luxurious dessert is undeniably rich yet surprisingly light, thanks to its airiness and the temperature—chilled—at which it is served. It essentially is a chocolate mousse molded in a loaf pan, then inverted and sliced, like a terrine or pâté, for serving. Our inspiration was the regally named French dessert called marquise au chocolat, an elegant centuries-old dish beloved for its luscious taste and texture. Our take on the classic involves making the base with a dose of strong coffee, an ingredient that enhances the flavor of chocolate. We also include a touch of cardamom for a flavor and fragrance evocative of Turkish coffee. The floral, citrusy notes of the spice bring a welcome softness to the dark, bitter flavors. Whereas many recipes lighten the chocolate base with whipped egg whites, we prefer lightly whipped cream for a velvety flavor and feel. Bittersweet chocolate with about 70 percent cocoa solids is ideal. And since a lot is used, opt for good-quality chocolate. The terrine needs to chill for at least six hours before serving, but will keep for three days in the refrigerator, so this is an excellent make-ahead choice.
grams (12 ounces) bittersweet chocolate, chopped, plus a bar or chunk of chocolate for shaving (optional)
grams (8 tablespoons) salted butter, cut into 8 pieces