Make Ahead

Marses

May  3, 2021
1 Rating
Photo by theItalianbkr
Author Notes

When I was a kid, my mum (as many busy Italian mothers) used to make a “cake” made with melted mars bars and puffed rice mixed together and put back in the fridge to set. It was simple, quick and really, really indulgent.

I decided to re-create that delicious memory in a more technically advanced version by re-making every single element inside a mars bar. My version has nougat middle, a milk chocolate and caramel ganache with added puffed rice as my mum used to add to her cake, a milk chocolate shell.

I wanted to come up with something you could eat in a few bites and hold in your hand without being too messy. Tasting delicious but also looking good, with a name that reminded me of my mum’s mars cake: Marses. —theItalianbkr

  • Prep time 40 minutes
  • Cook time 9 hours
  • makes 7 full spheres or 15 demi-spheres
Ingredients
  • FOR THE NOUGAT CENTRE
  • 60 grams caster sugar
  • 25 grams glucose syrup
  • 20 grams honey
  • 20 grams water
  • 1/2 teaspoon malt syrup (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 25 grams milk chocolate, chopped
  • 10 grams cocoa powder
  • 1 egg white
  • 5 drops lemon juice
  • FOR THE "MARS CAKE" MIX AND CHOCOLATE SHELLS
  • 150 grams milk chocolate (about 30-35% cocoa)
  • 75 grams double cream (1)
  • 180 grams caster sugar
  • 120 grams double cream (2)
  • 60 grams butter
  • 15 grams puffed rice
  • 25 grams rice crispies
  • 300 grams milk chocolate (30 – 35% cocoa)
  • few drops Food paint of your favourite colour to decorate
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. MAKE THE NOUGAT (Can be made up to 2 days before) This process is very similar to making an Italian meringue (if you made one before you know what I mean). Combine water, sugar, syrups, and vanilla extract in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over a medium heat. In the meanwhile, melt the chocolate in a microwave or oven bain-marie and keep warm. In a medium metal or ceramic bowl, pour the egg white and the drops of lemon. When the caramel boils, give it a small stir to dissolve any lumps. Stick the thermometer in and bring the syrup up to 150° C. In the meanwhile, whisk the egg white and lemon to soft peaks. Once 150° C is reached, take the pan and slowly and steadily pour the hot syrup onto the egg white while whisking on low speed. Once done, raise speed to medium-high and keep whisking for about 3 – 4 minutes until very thick. Using a spatula, fold in the cocoa powder and melted chocolate until fully incorporated. Leave to cool at room temperature for 2 hours covered with cling film touching the surface before transferring to the fridge until ready to use.
  2. MAKE THE MARS CAKE MIX (can be done one day prior) Make a chocolate ganache: chop the chocolate and transfer to a deep container. Bring the double cream to the boil over a medium heat. As soon as it bubbles, pour the hot cream onto the chocolate, cover and leave for 3 minutes. Slowly stir with a spatula from the middle moving more and more towards the outside until the ganache is silky and shiny. Leave to cool down at room temperature. Make a caramel sauce: Take a heavy bottomed saucepan and make a dry caramel. Sprinkle the sugar in an even layer and heat on a medium heat until it starts melting, you can stir it a little to melt evenly but try to touch it the least possible. When liquid, keep heating until it reaches a nice amber colour (up to 160° C if you are using a thermometer). Remove from the heat, carefully pour one third of the double cream in and whisk to incorporate. Be careful as it will bubble a lot and it might produce hot splashes. Add the rest of double cream while whisking, then the butter and whisk until dissolved. Put the sauce back on a medium heat and bring up to 118 ° C, stirring to prevent it from catching on the bottom of the pan. Transfer to bowl and leave to cool completely. When both ganache and caramel have substantially cooled down to room temperature, pour the caramel sauce into the ganache and slowly stir until fully combined. Add in the puffed rice and rice crispies. Set aside in the fridge until ready to use.
  3. MAKE THE CHOCOLATE SHELLS If this is the first time you temper chocolate, it is a process that involves melting the chocolate by heating it up to a certain temperature, then cooling it down and slightly re-heating it again. The process aligns the cocoa crystals and transforms your chocolate into a very hard and shiny one that sets very quickly. Melt 2/3 of the chopped chocolate over a bain-marie using a food thermometer or in the microwave in 20-seconds blasts to make sure you don’t overheat it and bring it up to 45° C. Remove from the heat, add the remaining chocolate and leave it to melt, stirring from time to time to cool down the mixture. Once all the bits have melted (if there are still some, remove them) and the mixture has reached 26° C, but it back onto the bain-marie and bring up to 29° C. This last step will be super quick. Test a smudge of chocolate over a piece of parchment or a knife. The chocolate should literally set and harden in five minutes. If you want to add some colour to your spheres (I used metallic bronze food paint), just paint the insides of the empty mould and leave to dry a few minutes before painting the chocolate. The colour will stick to the spheres when you unmould them. To make the shells I recommend you first paint a thin layer of chocolate inside each semi-sphere (my mould has 15 in total) and then add a teaspoon more and spread it around to an even thickness. Once done, flip the mould upside down over some baking parchment and let any excess chocolate drip down. Clean and tidy the top edges of each semi-sphere from any excess chocolate using a palette knife or a metal patula and transfer to the fridge to set.
  4. ASSEMBLE YOUR MARSES Take the nougat and mars cake mixes out of the fridge and let them come to room temperature for about one hour. Take the mould with the set chocolate half spheres and fill each with the mars cake mix. With your index finger, poke the middle of each to make a small hole about ½ cm deep. Pop a small quantity of nougat mix inside the hole and using a palette knife or a metal spatula, flatten the surface to remove any excess of mix, so you end up with perfectly filled half spheres. Put back in the fridge to set for two hours. Unmould the half spheres, wearing some rubber of latex gloves to avoid leaving finger marks on them. Using a flat warm surface (like a heated bottom of a pan) lightly melt the flat side of two half spheres and glue them together to form a full sphere. With the blunt edge of a knife, remove any excess chocolate oozing out around the join. Repeat with all the other half-spheres and refrigerate until ready to eat. Enjoy!!!

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