Monday, August 3, 2009

Chocolate is our friend..indeed

IP Lesson IV: Pralines, fudge, ganache

It’s back to a week of chocolates.
After my chocolate disaster in Basic, I was feeling a tad apprehensive about class this week.

That sense of apprenhension was kind of eased when I woke up on Sunday morning to find myself in poodles of laughter.
This was what I saw written on the mirror in my bathroom:

“Don’t worry, Joanna…Chocolate is our friend. Once we are done with them, we will eat them!”

To sum up this week, I'm glad to say that the week did not end up in disaster.
After we conquered the chocolates, we ate them, very willingly.


We spent Thursday class preparing a variety of ganaches to be used for the chocolate truffles for Saturday's class- Dark chocolate with rum, dark chocolate with kirsch, milk chocolate (omitting the caradamon pods), white chocolate with Malibu.
Chocolate is great. Even better when it comes with alcohol.

Preparing the ganaches is an easy task; simply put a pot of cream to a solid boil before pouring the boiled cream over the chopped couverture pieces, stirring till smooth and incorporated and lastly adding in the alcohol/and butter.

We also made pralines and white chocolate fudge. Fudge is such an English thing. You’ll find shops dotted around the countryside specializing in fudge alone.

As for me, I can never understanding people’s fascination for fudge. It’s far too saccharine sweet for me. The funny thing is that Chef K*aren, who’s an English, doesn’t like fudge either.

Which brings us back to question why we are making fudge at all, white chocolate fudge at that! Fudge is made from cooking sugar, glucose and cream in a pot. You will boil it till it bubbles and thickens (Till about 110 deg celcius). Then, you take it off the heat and add in the white chocolates and stir it quickly before adding a little of butter. That explains why it is so sweet.

Pralines, on the other hand, is another story altogether. My love for pralines begins with my love for all things nuts. Since pralines is quite simply hazelnut and milk chocolate, what’s there not to love.

We made Vienna almonds too- those caramelized almonds..those beautiful almonds enrobed with a caramel coating with dotted flavours from the vanilla bean. It is so lovely that I can eat a bag of those and feel guilty only after I am done with them.

The ability to make caramel comes from the understanding of how sugar cooks and the different stages of cooked syrup (Soft ball, hard ball, soft crack, hard crack and then caramel).For me, today's lesson today cleared up some of the mystery surronding it.

Sugar work is serious business and we will be learning more and working more with sugar when we reach Superior stage. That will be the time when we will be getting our hands dirty (and hopefully not burnt) moulding sugar to create showpieces.
Class was pretty fun. We worked in teams which made class a lot more fun and less stressful. Working in teams did help a lot in terms of completion of the tasks. After all, working in the kitchen, like any other industry, is very much about team work.

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