Date: January 5, 2023 | Story: Virginia Brown | Photography: Rett Peek | Styling: Stephanie Maxwell Newton |
Self-taught home chef Marquis Brown finds joy in cooking for others
When Marquis Brown was young he was intimidated by the kitchen, often viewing it as the domain of his mother and grandmother. “The kitchen just had such a female-dominated presence in our family,” he says. But that hesitance didn’t last forever. The 30-year-old (who’s an architect by trade) eventually taught himself how to cook, starting with breakfast foods and making meals for friends and family. “I love food so I figured, why not learn how to make it?” he says. “Seeing my mom and grandmother prepare food was an inspiration. They were feeding their family and there’s a lot of gratitude that comes from that.”
In college, Marquis and his partner, Katie Williams, received a KitchenAid mixer as a gift. “We didn’t know what to do with it,” Marquis recalls. He first experimented with making pizza dough, then moved on to creating confections. “He makes birthday cakes for people he loves and delivers them to them on their birthday,” says Katie, who often plays the lucky part of taste-tester. “It’s very sweet.”
In recent months, the two have started a new home-based venture called At The House offering packaged baked goods for holidays and custom orders. Eventually, they hope to expand into catering and private events but, for now, they’re grateful for the outpouring of support while starting small. “We’ve had a dream of doing this in high school,” Marquis says. Katie notes that the two have been hosting dinner parties and cooking for friends since Marquis first found his footing in the kitchen. “We both really love to create an experience for someone that we get to partake in,” she says.
For Marquis, cooking and baking for others comes down to his love language. “I like to do things for people,” he says. “And I enjoy seeing someone enjoy something that I’ve prepared.” In this issue, Marquis shares the recipe for one of his and Katie’s favorite treats, a decadent chocolate raspberry tart.
RISE & DINE
While Marquis’s efforts have been concentrated on baked goods for At The House recently, breakfast is still one of his first loves—and huevos rancheros is a recurring favorite. Visit our blog (athomearkansas.com/blog) for his avocado salsa recipe.
Chocolate Raspberry Tart
CHOCOLATE TART SHELL
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons white sugar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 stick butter, cold and cubed
¼ cup heavy cream, cold
1 large egg, yolk only
2 cups raspberries, fresh or frozen (thawed)
½ cup white sugar
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons water
2 large eggs, whole
4 large eggs, yolk only
1 stick butter, room temperature
CHOCOLATE MIRROR GLAZE
1 1/2 gelatin sheets
6 tablespoons white sugar
5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
5 tablespoons heavy cream
3 tablespoons water
To create the tart shell, combine flour, cocoa powder, sugar, salt, and cold butter in a food processor and pulse in 1 second increments until combined. Empty mixture into a large mixing bowl and make a well in the center. Separately, whisk together cold heavy cream and egg yolk and pour into well. Use a fork to gradually incorporate the two mixtures until a shaggy dough forms.
On a lightly floured surface, flatten dough to a ½-inch disc, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1-2 hours. Once chilled, roll dough out onto a lightly floured surface until 1/8- to ¼-inch thick. Dust dough as needed to prevent sticking. Slide the removable bottom of the tart pan underneath the rolled dough, then fold excess dough inward along the edge of the tart pan bottom. Place the bottom with dough into the tart pan ring and unfold the dough, pressing lightly along the ring and bottom of the pan. Roll a rolling pin across the top of the tart pan to remove excess dough, and lightly prick the dough lining the bottom of the pan several times with a fork.
Place dough in the freezer for 15-20 minutes and preheat the oven to 350ºF. After the dough has chilled, place tart pan on a baking sheet, line dough with parchment paper, and fill with pie weights. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove and carefully lift parchment paper from the dough, then bake for an additional 15-20 minutes. Allow tart pan and baked crust to cool on a wire rack.
To create the raspberry curd, combine raspberries, sugar, salt, lemon juice, and water in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat until raspberries start to break down. Use a fork or potato masher to help dissolve. Once combined, strain mixture through a mesh strainer to remove seeds and allow to cool to room temperature.
Transfer raspberry mixture back to a medium saucepan and whisk in whole eggs and egg yolks. Heat mixture slowly over medium-low heat, constantly whisking until mixture thickens. Once the mixture has reached 180ºF (or about 5-8 minutes), remove from heat and whisk in butter 2 tablespoons at a time until entire stick has been incorporated. If necessary, strain mixture again to remove any remaining solids.
To assemble and bake the tart, preheat oven to 350ºF. Pour raspberry curd into cooled chocolate tart shell and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the edges of the tart are firm and the center still jiggles. Allow to cool to room temperature.
To create the chocolate mirror glaze, soak gelatin sheets in cold water. Combine cocoa powder and sugar in a small bowl, then heat water and heavy cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until boiling. Remove from heat, add dry mixture, and return to heat until mixture reaches a boil again. Remove from heat. Squeeze excess water from gelatin sheets, then add to mixture and stir until dissolved. Strain the mixture through a mesh strainer and allow to cool slightly, but not completely (aim for 90ºF). Pour over raspberry curd filling and evenly distribute the glaze. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving. Garnish with fresh raspberries and a dusting of powdered sugar if desired.
Follow At The House on Instagram (@at.thehouse) and find out more, including how to place an order for a box of Valentine’s Day treats, at foodatthehouse.com.