I've only had a chance to read through the first three pages of this topic, which have been absolutely illuminating! I'm going to read through the rest when I have more time, but til then I have a question:
Has anyone tried using a hobby paint sprayer (the sort used to paint model cars, etc.) with chocolate? I'm more or less experimenting at this point, so the $15 price tag is very appealing compared to hardware store prices! Specifically, I want to try the Alinea recipe 'LIQUID CHOCOLATE, Chicory, Dandelion, Banana, which calls for coating a frozen chocolate square with chocolate spray.
I'm curious to hear what everyone has to say about it. It seems to me that, in the absence of any other trials with this product, $15 almost makes the hobby sprayer disposable, if only to report back on my findings!
Basically, I'm looking for the same thing. In the Alinea recipe, there is a chocolate preparation that's liquid around room temperature. That preparation is frozen into a block, then the frozen block is sprayed with a semi-thick layer of chocolate on all sides that will remain solid at room temperature. The sprayed surface in the photo is beyond "velvet" - it's verging on "popcorn" - splattery and textured, but even. This sprayed block is allowed to come to room temperature and is served (with all the other "accessories") on the edge of a bowl, so that the diner breaks the outer layer of sprayed chocolate, and the liquid interior runs out into the bowl.
Here's a photo of the dish before the sprayed "block" is broken open for the liquid contents to run out onto the plate.http://farm1.static...._bcbd16a545.jpg
In the book, the lighting makes the evenly splattered surface pretty clear. Functionally, though, the splatter doesn't matter. The important thing is that the outer layer is thick enough to contain the liquid center.
For most of us "Alinea at home" folks, buying a serious HVLP spray system is probably out of the question. We're looking for a way to get that outer layer of sprayed chocolate onto the frozen "core" block. I don't have the book with me, or I'd give you some idea of what the spraying chocolate is like in terms of ingredients/mix/quantity.
One issue I see with the small air brushes is that in order to coat several blocks, you would need a fair amount of chocolate. The tiny paint pot may be impractical.
I had thought that I could pour/paint on the outer coating, but that isn't nearly as pretty or "authentic."