To make the ladyfingers
Heat the oven to 350°F. Fit a large pastry bag with a plain #7 tip (about 1/2 inch). Line a large baking sheet with parchment. Set a 10 1/2x 5 1/2 x3 -inch loaf pan on one of its longer sides on the top part of the parchment. Trace the edge with a pencil. Move the pan down about 2 inches and trace the side edge again. Move the pan down another 2 inches and set the pan right side up. Trace the bottom. Flip the paper over.
In a small bowl, combine the flour, hazelnuts, and baking powder with a whisk until well blended. Put the yolks in a large bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with a whisk attachment if you have one. Add the vanilla and beat on medium-high speed until foamy. Gradually add all but 2 Tbs. of the sugar while beating. Continue beating until the mixture is pale yellow and tripled in volume. When the whisk is lifted, the mixture will fall back into the bowl and form a ribbon; it should linger a bit on the surface. Set aside. In a clean bowl with a well-cleaned whisk attachment (or beaters), add the whites and the salt. Beat on medium speed until the whites are frothy and have doubled in volume. Gradually add the remaining 2 Tbs. sugar and beat on high speed until the whites form medium-firm peaks. With a large spatula, scoop about a third of the whites into the yolk mixture. Gently stir until just combined. Add half of the remaining whites and carefully fold in. Sprinkle half of the flour mixture over the surface of the yolk-white mixture and fold in with a couple of gentle strokes. Fold in the remaining whites. Sprinkle the remaining flour over the top and gently fold in.
Use a lifting and rolling motion to blend the mixtures without deflating them.
To pipe the ladyfingers, scoop the batter into the pastry bag using deep, cutting strokes to prevent the batter from deflating (see How to fill a pastry bag). Twist the top of the bag closed. Hold the bag about 2 inches above the parchment-lined sheet. Gently squeezing from the top, pipe the batter into short, thin strips just barely touching each other and keeping within the template. For optimum lightness, let the batter fall gently from the bag and finish each ladyfinger with a small lift of the wrist. You should have about 10 ladyfingers on the bottom template and about 12 for each side. Remember to stop between ladyfingers and twist down the top of the bag to keep the batter flowing smoothly. You’ll have a little extra batter; pipe more ladyfingers for a snack, but bake them after the first batch is done.
To bake the ladyfingers, sprinkle the hazelnut and sugar mixture over the tops of the ladyfinger strips. Bake until puffed and the tops are golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes. Slide the parchment onto a cooling rack and cool until just barely warm, about 15 minutes. Carefully peel the strips from the parchment, keeping the rows intact. Let cool completely.
To line the mold
Lightly grease or spray the mold and line with two long sheets of plastic wrap to cover the bottom and sides. Set the bottom row of ladyfingers into the pan, topping side facing down. It should be a snug fit. Next, lean the two remaining rows against the long sides, topping side facing out. Again the fit should be snug. Don’t worry if they peek above the sides of the pan -- you’ll trim them later.
To make the chocolate filling
Melt the chopped chocolate in a double boiler or microwave and set aside. Don’t do this too much ahead—you’ll want to use it while it’s still warm. In a large bowl, combine the heavy cream, 1/3 cup of the superfine sugar, and the Frangelico. Beat until lightly whipped, about 1 minute; the mixture should be thickened but not enough to hold soft peaks. Set aside. In a large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and the remaining 1/3 cup superfine sugar on medium speed with the paddle attachment (or beaters) until well blended and almost smooth. Don’t worry if some sugar grains linger. Add the cocoa powder. Mix with slow pulses, stopping to scrape down the sides, until blended. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating well before adding the next. Check the temperature of the melted chocolate; it should still be warm. If not, set it over simmering water until warm. Pour it into the cocoa mixture and beat on low speed until well blended. Remember to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. With the mixer on low, slowly drizzle in the cream, stopping a few times to scrape down the sides. Stop as soon as the cream is mixed in.
Using a large rubber spatula, pack the filling into the ladyfinger-lined pan. Cover the surface with plastic wrap and fold the remaining plastic over the filling and the ladyfingers. Refrigerate until the filling is firm, at least overnight or up to 3 days.
To make the coffee cream
In a medium saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer vigorously until the cream is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (you’ll have about 2 cups), about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the sugar and espresso or coffee powder until dissolved. Taste and adjust. Cover the surface with plastic wrap and chill until ready to serve.
To serve the marquise
Peel the plastic away from the surface. Using a serrated knife, trim the ladyfingers down to the level of the filling. Invert the marquise onto a flat platter and tug on the plastic to release the marquise from the mold. Remove the plastic. Using a serrated knife, cut through the ladyfingers, down to but not into the filling. Run a sharp, thin knife under very hot water and wipe it off. Immediately cut down through one slice and lift the knife directly back up. Repeat, using both knives and heating the thin one for each slice. Serve with the coffee cream.
nutrition information (per serving):
Photo: Scott Phillips