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  1. Hi Guys It is a very long time since I last visited egullet and even longer since I my last post. Fredric Bau of Valrhona has just posted four videos on youtube. Go to youtube and search on 'Valrhona chapter 1' then view chapters 2, 3 and 4. If you are quick you can be the fourth person to view chapter 1 (I was the third!) Despite this lack of immediate popularity, these videos will give food for thought (and comment).
  2. It has just occured to me, that a third comparitor would be to melt/boil butter (82% butter fat) in the cream before making an emulsion. I know of this as a technique, though have never done it. Any thoughts?
  3. Adey73, Meadow Foods supply AMF, Turners Fine Foods, among many others I am sure, supply clarified butter, inluding Valrhona's. However, using ghee from a supermarket or your own clarified butter (preferably by frozen method) will work equally as well.
  4. I've noticed a difference between using butter (82% butter fat, 16% water) and anhydrous butter (99% butter fat) (aka anhydrous milk fat, AMF). Anhydrous butter gives a much softer ganache. I mixed the AMF with melted chocolate then emulsified with cream. When does Ramon Morato introduce the anhydrous butter? For information The comparison comes from a recipe otherwise identical - ie 20% water, 21.3% cocoa butter (from Valrhona Caraibe), 21.3% butter fat (from cream (39% butter fat) and butter, or cream and anhydrous butter), 13.6% cocoa solids (from Valrhona Caraibe), and sugars 22.8% (sucrose from Valrhona Caraibe and Glucose Syrup 42DE). Theory Butter fat softens ganache by 1) introducing a lower solid fat content fat at room temperature and 2) by an eutectic effect between AMF and cocoa butter. I've seen on the web an excellent graph - I'll try and find it again and post link. The eutectic kicks in at 40% AMF:60% cocoa butter, and is greatest at 50:50 at room temperature. Perhaps the butter fat in AMF, not being in emulsion, is fully available to form an eutectic with the cocoa butter? Any food scientists out there?
  5. Truffle Guy, thanks for sharing your choices. I must try this blend, I have tried blending Valrhona couvertures in the past with appalling results, however Caraibe and Extra bitter sounds a winner. Which percentages do you use, 50/50? I absolutely agree, Valrhona's couvertures are the most consistent of all the couvertures I have tried, and produce the most stable shine. (Apologies to the US manufactures - I have not tried most of your couvertures.) It's just I have yet to get the right balance in a Valrhona couverture for my ganache formulations, which ironically are mostly based on Valrhona chocolate. I love El Rey's white chocolate, Icoa. I believe that its superior taste is partly due to their use of non-deodorised cocoa butter. I have only enrobed with it once at a demonstration (nipples of venus for a hen party), so cannot really vouch for its performance as an enrobing couverture. However it is flavour is really superb (for a white chocolate). And its much cheaper than Ivoire! --- Lior, Amedei 9 is 75% cocoa. --- Some years ago I created a cinnamon ganache using Valrhona Caraibe (blend of Trinitario from the Caribbean Islands, 66% cocoa). My audience found it one of the weakest in my collection and it soon disappeared. When Valrhona launched Tainori (blend of Trinitario from the Dominican Republic, 64% cocoa) I made a cinnamon ganache with it. The ganache is incredibly good, with strong overtones of banana. These two chocolates are very similar: same manufacture; similar percentage of sugar; same cacao variety; and both from the Caribbean. Yet the subtle difference in the flavour of the two chocolates leads to very different flavour pairings. Tainori and cinnamon; Caraibe and Lombardy coffee. For me its all about finding infusions/inclusions that complement the chocolate. At least it is now, twenty-five years ago I produced 25g alcohol-laced truffles using Callibaut. As Lior said above, and many have echoed, the audience for "Belgium truffles" remains large. But the market direction is definitely towards greater knowledge of chocolate and cacaos, and towards an appetite for the unusual ... ... Oh, and the healthy.
  6. For a couverture it is always easy to add a percent or three of cocoa butter, but (practically) impossible to remove cocoa butter. For the ganache chocolate, it is easy to add more sugar, but (practically) impossible to remove sugar. When I first returned to chocolate five years ago, I wanted a range of origin 100% cocoa paste / liquor / chocolate, ie 54% cocoa butter, 46% cocoa solids, 0% sugar. Two years ago Valrhona introduced 100% Araguani, 100% Alpaco, 100% Tainori, and 100% Manjari. From these one can produce a couverture of the required sweetness and fluidity: at first by mixing say 72% Araguani with 100% Araguani, then by adding more cocoa butter if required. And, of more interest to me, create ganache from 100% origin pate de cacao using alternatives to the usual sugar/invert sugar/glucose syrup, such as erythritol, inulin, polydextrose, ... --- When I first started selling my chocolates I was asked repetitively, "What makes your chocolates different?" The easiest, most engaging, and convincing answer I found was to say, "Compare these two chocolates [callets]." One being Valrhona Araguani (which I use) the other Callebaut (which I otherwise do not).
  7. What a great thread and so well intoduced by Lior. First off, if whisky and coke is not your thing, how about a vodka martini? I agree with Edward, if you are introducing strong flavours then a good quality, bland chocolate for the centre is the way to go. However if you like your vodka martini VERY dry and your ganache infusions subtle, then a fine country specific blend or estate chocolate delicately enhanced by an additional flavour (infusion/inclusion) is my choice. Picking up on Lior's Manjari comment, I do a confection: Manjari ganache infused with freshly cut lemon verbena. It's fantastic. The obvious enrobing is Manjari, however taste panels prefer a good quality, but neutral/bland couverture for the enrobing. The best such couverture that I have found so far is Amedei's 9. A blend of nine cocoas. However be warned Amedei 9 is expensive, about $12-$15 per pound, compared to $8-$9 for a pound of Manjari. In addition, one good quality, neutral/bland couverture for enrobing greatly simplifies production. Many chocolatiers in Europe use Valrhona's non grand cru couvertures for enrobing, such as Equatorial Noir (55%). I find these too sweet, the sweetness hiding some of the ganache taste. However, sticking with Valrhona, Guanaja (70%) is too intense, and hides some of the ganache taste. My holy grail is a good quality BLAND couverture that matches the blend characteristics of Valrhona (the chocolate I use most for my centres), but at a lower cost than Amedei 9. Michel Cluzel's Noir de Cacao (72%) is a magnificent good quality bland couverture, but Cluzel and Valrhona don't mix. Much more I could and will say, but in a later post.
  8. Dip with your fingers: having coated your round truffle centre in couverture, hold it in your first two fingers and thumb and place it on an acetate sheet ... as you let go twirl your three fingers round in the air just above the truffle letting the drips form your desired swirls. Keep practising, it does work (eventually), and becomes less messy and really fast.
  9. I have successfully frozen and defrosted a dual layer ganache and pate de fruit enrobed confection. Just follow usual rules of 1) tight packing and suitable wrapping; 2) put in the fridge for 12-24 hours then into the freezer on the way in; 3) put in the fridge for 12-24 hours from frozen on the way out.
  10. I work with a 20kg melter, though neither a Mol D'Art nor Prefamac. Once upon a time I used a hairdryer periodically to overcome overcrystallization, heating the top layer of chocolate to, I guess, 40 degrees Celsius, and mixing in. Then I took to using a heated vibrating table, primarily to remove excess chocolate from my just dipped centres. In addition the heated plate heats, continously, just enough chocolate, to just high enough a temperature, such that as this excess chocolate is swept back into the bowl, it neutralizes overcrystalization. This may not help you choose between the two makes, but if you were able to recreate my accidental discovery, then it may transform your opinion of working with large volume melters.
  11. A simple and effective chocolate sauce can be made from drinking chocolate powder (or cocoa powder plus sugar) and water. Just add some freshly boiled water (about 50:50 water to cocoa), stir and cool. Intense chocolate taste, the consistency of paint, and quick.
  12. First of all try to locate some powdered apple pectin. Steve (stscam) recommended L'Epicerie in his recent post. My experience of pectins is that different manufactures' (and indeed different formulations from the same manufacturer) all provide noticably different results. Keep experimenting until you get it right. For initial formulations use Boiron's formulations. It sounds to me as if you may have over cooked you first pate de fruit. If you are going to make pate de fruit regularly invest in a refractometer. You should be able to find one for $150 on ebay. Otherwise, weigh all your ingredients into your pan, calculate how much water you need to evaporate to reach 75 Brix and keep weighing your pan whilst heating until you have evaporated away just the right amount of water. As to your substantive question: Can pates de fruit be not THAT sweet? The answer is, yes. There are two ways. 1) Substitute polydextrose for some of the sucrose. Polydextrose has virtually no sweetness. 2) Evaporate less water (you may have to add some extra water, or fruit, or reduce some of the sugar). However if you go below 67 Brix you will need a different (low ester) pectin, as regular (high ester) pectin will not set below 67 parts per hundred sugar solutes in water.
  13. I decorate chocolates with luster dust from PCB. The only ingredient is iron oxides (E172 to those in the EU). "Naturally occurring pigments of iron, which can be yellow, red, orange, brown or black in colour ... toxic at 'high doses', banned in Germany." read more I spoke with the manufacturer who assured me, "how can I put this delicately? It comes out just the same as it goes in." Ok, so the manufacturer says its inert. I further assured myself with a quick calculation: for a consumer to eat 1g of luster dust they would have to eat 32kg of my chocolates. After which luster dust would be the least of their worries! PS: Note my avatar
  14. Adding the lemon juice (or citric / tartaric acid) right at the end is really important, and could be the difference between success and failure.
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