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  1. A couple last minute questions about the conference. Cash or check for payment? Also, will we be getting receipts?
  2. We won't be able to get there for the 10am tour, but we'll be there for the show and tell. Also, I second the pdf demonstration idea...especially layering with ganache. I also wouldn't mind learning about fondant based centers too.
  3. I thought that there was no way that I could make this conference, but as fate would have it I seem to be able to. Could put me down for the workshop with a +1 for dinner? My wife would like to come to the dinner, but not the entire workshop. Has anyone put together a schedule for the workshop? I see that we start at 8:30 on Saturday. What time is everyone meeting at Chocolate FX on Friday? When and where do we have the show and tell? What time is dinner on Saturday? What time do we start on Sunday? I haven’t gotten a chance to read through the entire thread and my wife wants a basic timeline since she will be doing her own thing while I’m at the conference. Thanks.
  4. I’m leery of comments that claim that such and such a way is the only way to do something, especially when it comes to chocolate ganache. I’ve done a number of butter ganaches (both my own recipes and other people’s recipes) and found that they can work just fine with or without tempered chocolate…it all depends on the technique. Butter ganache problems usually come from butter temperature. If the butter is melted it is very difficult to emulsify (usually requiring a food processor) and can leave you with an oily, lumpy ganache. If the butter is too cold then the chocolate will set up almost immediately when it contacts the butter and will leave little clumps of chocolate in the ganache. What I normally do is melt the chocolate and pseudo-temper it. I heat the chocolate just enough to make sure it is all melted, and then I stir it while cooling it down to around the upper end of the tempered range (it is typically right about there anyway). Since I don’t always have tempered chocolate on hand, this saves a lot of time over actually tempering the chocolate. I like to use room temperature butter that I cream with the sweetener and any other dry ingredients. I find that incorporating air at this point doesn’t matter too much since it is pretty much taken out in the next few steps. I stream the chocolate in while stirring (for small batches I usually put a glass bowl on a rubber mat so that I can use both hands, and for larger batches a stand mixer works well). Once the butter and chocolate are emulsified, I add any wet ingredients while stirring. Since the chocolate was only pseudo-tempered it will take awhile for it to set up. To get around this problem I pour the ganache out on a marble slab and work it a few times. Overworking can cause the ganache to break, but it doesn’t take long to get the feel for how much the ganache can take. A good rule of thumb is to stop when the ganache gets to about 72°F. Scrape it into a piping bag and immediately fill molds, or leave it in the bag for a few minutes before piping it out (for things like lemon logs or rainiers). It will set up pretty quickly.
  5. Too true, too true...I'm not a huge fan of the 38% Felchlin. I used to use it quite a bit, but it has a malty flavor that I find off-putting in a lot of my ganaches. I switched to the E. Guittard 41% Orinoco as my workhorse milk chocolate..nice caramel notes and a good solid chocolate flavor, plus it is nice and fluid and easy to temper and work with.
  6. My opinion is that butter will not help. Adding butter will add the dairy flavor which is yet another flavor to compete with the pear. Plus, mixing fats changes the texture and softens the final product so it will change the consistency of the ganache (I personally like the texture with added butter). Cocoa butter also sets up much, much firmer than butter, so substituting them as equivalents will leave a ganache that is way too soft.I agree with Alleguede above, the best way to increase the pear flavor is to reduce the puree. Grewelings recipe calls for the puree to be reduced by half. If you did not do that, then I highly recommend it. If you did, you could try adding more puree and reducing it by two-thirds…then add a touch more of the pear liqueur to bring the water content to the right level.
  7. Kerry, at one of the chocolate conferences you gave everyone a handout for pate de fruit proportions to use with the Boiron purees. If you use the apple pectin from Chef Rubber, and make your own puree, are these proportions still likely to work? I called them, but they didn’t seem to have any clue about proper usage with different fruits. I’d use the Boiron purees, but I live in blueberry country and want this truffle to be one of the locally sourced flavors (and I have a bunch of frozen blueberries).
  8. You can dump the cream right over the chocolate without a problem. The technique them becomes stirring in small circles to create the initial emulsion, and widening those circles as the ganache begins to form. Despite what chefs from Valrhona say (and they are notorious for claiming their way is the only way), there is no one magic way to form a ganache. Many different techniques will produce the same (or at least very similar) results as long as they are done consistently. I’d recommend trying various methods and figuring out what is easiest for you. I have developed slightly different techniques depending on the truffles I am making. A chocolate cheesecake ganache, a champagne ganache, a caramel based ganache, a plain chocolate ganache, all have slightly different methods that seem to produce the best result in the easiest way. I can get them all to work using one technique, but it isn’t as efficient. For instance, I use an emersion blender with cheesecake, I add flavorings at a different time with champagne, and I don’t pre-melt any of the chocolate with caramel based ganaches. If you have trouble with ganache breaking or being grainy, then I have found it is usually caused by one of two things. The first is that you didn’t emulsify it properly. If you are just stirring then use a glass bowl and check if the ganache is smooth and slightly clingy as it runs down the side of the bowl. If you see small chunks or an inconsistent look then keep stirring or hit it with an emulsion blender. I’d recommend not using a whisk or beaters since they incorporate air. This reduces shelf life and if used in truffles can cause the ganache to shrink inside the shell after awhile leaving air pockets. The second issue is that one of the ingredients may have been too cold. If you add the butter after the emulsion is formed, make sure that it is soft and at room temperature. The graininess is often caused by colder butter (or other ingredients) that comes into contact with the cocoa butter. The cocoa butter sets faster around the cooler ingredients and forms little clumps. This is why the ganache will look good initially, but get grainy as is sets. It is also why the little “grains” will melt.
  9. Be careful using anything from Guittard Chocolate Company that is not of the E. Guittard line. They have a white chocolate that is reasonable, but most of the non E. Guittard chocolate is not really premium and is best used in baking and not as a couverture.
  10. A number of items in Grewling’s book use a pate de fruit along with a ganache (ex. The PB&Js). I would like to do this with blueberry - a blueberry pate de fruit with a dark chocolate ganache. I have had 0 luck in getting the pate de fruit to turn out. Perhaps it is technique, perhaps it is ingredients, perhaps it is proportions. I have tried a number of different techniques, cooking temperatures, and cooling methods. I have tried various proportions of pectin to sugar to fruit to acid, etc… The best result I end up with is a sort of grainy jam (though once I left a little of the blueberry puree sitting out for a couple of days and it gelled up pretty good). Any suggestions on the best way to make pate de fruits? What is the best pectin to use (this could be my main problem since I am using pectin sold for making jam, but I have heard of people using this for pates)?
  11. I use E. Guittard 61% Sunrise as my standard dark chocolate. The texture and flavor profile compliment every flavor I have tried so far, plus it is pretty good eating chocolate so can be used in molded items too. I buy it in cases of 25lbs from a distributor for less than $4.50/lb (or less than $10/kg).
  12. I'd love to come...made the first two, but missed last year. Put me down as a maybe for now. Also, I'd like to see some time devoted to pâte de fruits. These things and I just don't get along.
  13. One thing I noticed when he was making the "miracle" ganache is that he did not stir it properly - stirring in small circles from the center, gradually moving out to larger circles. He basically just went at it haphazardly. By stirring correctly you gradually mix the cream into the chocolate. By doing it haphazardly you are attempting to do it all at once. Therefore, mixing from the center out accomplishes the same thing he describes using the 5 additions of liquid...only it is much faster. I see using a blender to finish off a ganache as something akin to the conching process in making chocolate. During conching the chocolate solids and sugars are further broke down and fully coated with cocoa butter. This creates a better texture and a more refined taste. By using the blender he is basically breaking the components down and getting a more consistent structure. This can be accomplished by other methods, such as tabling the ganache. Careful tabling can draw out flavors and create a smoother, tempered ganache. The shearing between the marble and the spatula have a similar affect as the mixer. However, too much agitation can cause the ganache to split. I have made ganache with the same chocolate, same ratios, with and without tabling; the tabled ganache has a consistently superior texture and draws out a lot more flavors from the chocolate.
  14. I'll be there, I'm looking forward to it. Thanks for putting this thing together this year. Mike.
  15. This is extremely short notice, due to my job situation I though there was no way I would be able to make it this year, but it looks like I will have the money to attend after all. If less than a week’s notice is okay, I would like to be added to the list. Thanks, Mike.
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