Sunday, August 9, 2009

What's there not to love about chocolates?

Chocolate pieces

IP Lesson V: More Chocolates

It was time to coat our pralines and Vienna almonds.

Tempered dark chocolate was used to enrobe these yummy goodies before we decorated them with little specks of crystallized lavender. I really like purple on chocolate. it makes the chocolate pieces look gorgeous!

I thought this would be pretty simple but it isn’t that easy to coat the pieces nicely all round without getting “feet” around the bottom of the chocolate pieces.

I finally realised why handmade chocolates are so expensive. This is a tedious process, really. A few of us only got it right after a couple of attempts which meant that we had more than a couple of ugly but great tasting chocolates!

The best way to do it is to use two dipping forks.

Put the square/diamond-shaped praline pieces into your tempered dark chocolate with a dipping fork. Lift the praline from the chocolate pool and proceed to tap the dipping fork against the edge of the bowl (about 20 times) to knock out the excess chocolate. Then gently place the chocolate coated praline onto a piece of silicon (baking) paper. Use the other (clean) dipping fork to push the praline piece away to remove any feet that remains.

And there you have it. To have pretty chocolate pieces, you would need to get your chocolate properly tempered which isn’t the same as melting chocolate really. Tempering chocolate is a process that stabilizes the structure of the cocoa solids in chocolate. This method is essential for moulded or dipping chocolates which would allow the chocolate to set quickly, to give it shine and a clean snap.

And so we had a plateful of little chocolate pieces to take home. I really had to resist them.
Now, name me a person who doesn't like chocolates?

I can't, honestly. What about you?


Tempering chocolates 101:
(My attempt at explaining something really complicated)

The method that produces consistent good results is the tabling/marbling method.
Start off with dark chocolate couverture. Put the chocolate pieces into a bain marie and to melt the chocolate at 45-50 deg celcius.

Then pour 2/3 of this melted chocolate onto a cool marble surface and use a metal scrapper to manipulate the chocolate back and forth to cool the chocolate. You should manipulate the chocolate till the temperature falls to 27-29 degree celcius.

By this time, the chocolate on the marble surface would have thickened and have lost some of its glossiness. At this point, transfer the chocolate from the marble surface into the bowl containing the remaining 1/3.

Stir to combine both the chocolates till you get a temperature of 31-32 degrees celcius. At this stage, your chocolate is tempered and it should be glossy and shiny and sets quickly

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