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Dark Chocolate Terrine with Coffee and Cardamom

10 to 12 Servings

45 minutes plus chilling

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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.

10 to 12



Don’t walk away from the yolk mixture as it is warming on the saucepan of simmering water. It’s important to whisk continuously to prevent the yolks from overheating and scrambling. Have an instant thermometer ready for testing the temperature; the mixture should be taken to 145°F to 150°F.

45 minutes

plus chilling


  • 340

    grams (12 ounces) bittersweet chocolate, chopped, plus a bar or chunk of chocolate for shaving (optional)

  • 113

    grams (8 tablespoons) salted butter, cut into 8 pieces


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Bernie B.
February 15, 2024
Delicious, rich, perfect dessert for a friend gathering or special evening
Everyone loved this. I probably served everyone slightly too much - it's a very rich dessert. Next time I plan to play with the flavors more (rum, orange, lemongrass, pandan) to see if I can lighten it up a little. I also wonder whether the flavor would be enhanced by browning the butter before it's mixed with the chocolate.
Greg D.
November 20, 2023
Made this for thanksgiving last year and it made for a wonderful contrast with all the pies. Everyone's favorite and mine too. I'll be making it this year again.
Marc G.
November 17, 2022
WOW - Just WOW
I added a bit of Orange extract too ... Ummaaazing
Jonathan S.
January 3, 2023
Coffee substitute
I have the same question as Linda E. I don't like coffee. I'm wondering if orange juice might work since Marc G added orange extract. Any thoughts?
Alan D.
January 2, 2023
Great texture and technique
Texture was perfect and the swapping out of egg whites in favour of cream is a great simplification. The coffee I used was a bit too strong and skewed the flavour - will go milder next time. The addition of orange extract sounds terrific - would be very interested in hearing about amount to add. Also wondering what a shot of brandy or Grand Marnier would do