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Everything posted by chocophile

  1. Jean-Pierre Wybauw's book has a couple of ganache recipes that use purees and the general technique seems to be: boil the puree and sugar together bring the cream to a boil blend the puree and the cream together pour over chopped chocolate to melt (if using) add invert sugar add butter incorporate thoroughly mixing in as little air as possible proceed as you normally would HTH, :Clay
  2. Taylor: If you don't already have a copy, I can recommend "The Chocolate Bible" by Christian Teubner. In addition to covering the basics of working with chocolate it gives a number of recipes with step-by-step instructions with pictures. You can probably find what you're looking for in here. This is not a replacement for a book like Jean-Pierre Wybauw's excellent "Fine Chocolates Great Experiences," but you'll probably find it easier to get comfortable with the basics as outlined in The Chocolate Bible before tackling Wybauw. An alternative to The Chocolate Bible might be The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Chocolate, but there's much less emphasis on the basic techniques of working with chocolate to make enrobed ganache-centered truffles. :Clay
  3. Wendy, I sort of knew all this, but I am a belt and suspenders kind of guy until I have the experience to eyeball it: knowing temps and times is part of my process, it forces me to pay attention in a different way to what I am doing. I'll let everyone know how it all works out. :Clay
  4. C- Bear: Thanks - that's what I thought, just not sure how wide the temperature variation was. It's a 5 quart pot, solid copper (the inner surface is not tinned), $102. :Clay
  5. I was at Bridge Kitchenware earlier this week replacing a saute pan that got dinged in shipment and I noticed some beautiful copper pans made specifically for sugar work. They are a lot cheaper than I thought (and much heavier), so I am going to treat myself to a large one when I move back in to my house after a nine-month renovation project. I plan to do a lot more experimenting with caramels of various sorts. Question: I have an old-style bulb candy thermometer and I wonder if that's the best kind to use or whether a surface-read thermometer might be better. I've always wanted an excuse to purchase one of those digital infrared thermometers and I wonder if this is the right time. Thanks in advance, :Clay
  6. I have to second David Lebovitz' characterization of LeRoux's caramels. Many consider them to be the best in the world and I must admit that I have tasted none finer. I've not been to Quiberon but they are available in Paris in Denise Acabo's fabulous shop, a l'Etoile d'Or which is near the Moulin Rouge (metro: Blanche). Two different ideas presented here strike me as very good ways to incorporate beer into chocolate: The first is to make a flavored caramel using beer. A Belgian-style lambic with a strong secondary flavor (e.g., raspberry) sounds the most intriguing to me, although a Guinness caramel also sounds mighty appealing. Although it might sound weird, I think that the key to either of these would be a little salt to enhance the flavors. (I'm treating myself a copper caramel pot next in a couple of weeks at Bridge Kitchenware and I am definitely going to try my hand at doing this -- I would probably go to the extreme of making the beer caramels chewy and then "bottoming" them with chocolate.) The second would be to infuse chocolate malt and other beer-making ingredients in the cream used to make the ganache. These are likely to be quite bitter, so I'd think about some flavors to balance that bitterness, maybe a little bit of texture, too. A salted cashew praline to go with the Guinness sounds pretty interesting to me. :Clay edited to fix grammar and punctuation
  7. The ideal temperature for storing chocolate is between 55 and 60 degrees F with a relative humidity about the same (55-60%). One important aspect of this is that, insofar as possible, the temperature and humidity should not vary much. It is also important that the chocolate be wrapped to protect it from any incidental contact with moisture, against the possibility of the cocoa butter picking up any odors (cocoa butter is an odor magnet), and to keep the chocolate from "drying out." A dark cool corner of a basement or a temp/humdity controlled wine cellar set for red wine (which is what I have) is just about perfect. Ideally, you are able to leave the chocolate in the wrapper that the manufacturer provides. If you can't then you want to use multiple layers of protection - at least two. Freezer-weight zipper-close bags are good for this purpose, as long as you make sure to expel as much air as possible. A home vacuum-sealer is great for this too. One of my favorite wrappings to use is the new Press-N-Seal plastic wrap, especially the newer freezer-weight kind. This has got enough weight and the sealing ability makes it possible to wrap the chocolate VERY tightly. After you wrap this way (you could also use freezer paper or similar), place the wrapped block inside a heavy weight plastic bag, squish out the air, and seal. Whatever you do, do not use aluminum foil as an inner wrapping layer that directly touches the chocolate. Stored this way, chocolate without any dairy ingredients can be expected to easily last 18 months or more and chocolate with dairy ingredients at least 6-12 months (depending on the existing expiration date). If you need more time, find a slightly colder spot in your basement, say 48-55 degrees, ideally one where the temp does not swing wildly (the major problem is change in dew point which is where moisture condenses out of the air). This temp is about where white wine is often served, so a chiller/cellar set for white wine is perfect. Conventional refrigerators (and freezers, especially frost-free ones) are also dehumidifiers and so aren't the best places to store chocolate. There's no need to freeze the chocolate, in other words, unless you think you won't be able to use it up within a year or more from buying it. You can freeze if you need more time than this, but it's important to ensure that no moisture is in the packaging otherwise it will condense on the chocolate and possibly cause sugar bloom. Double-bagging with freezer-weight bags is a must. It's also best to freeze/thaw in two steps: to freeze, first put the chocolate in the fridge for a short time to ensure that there is no moisture condensing (if there is, insert a paper towel to absorb the moisture and pop back in the fridge, check after an hour, and if the moisture is gone, remove the towel) then pop the chocolate in the freezer. When thawing, take it out of the freezer and put it in the fridge for several hours or overnight (depending on size) then bring the block out and put it in a cool place away from heat or sunlight to let it warm up to room temperature. :Clay PS. Freezing is most often used to protect the dairy ingredients in ganaches and other fillings. I advise against freezing unless care is taken to ensure that the recipe is freeze-compatible. Taking the temp down to about 34-38 degrees F works like a charm as long as sufficient care is taken to protect against condensation as the chocolate warms up.
  8. {{{Shudder}}} I am trying not to imagine it. :Clay
  9. If you want to shorten cooking times when making DdL with tins of sweetened condensed milk, use a pressure cooker. A typical can takes 35-50 mins (YMMV) once pressure is reached. However, you MUST release pressure immediately and fish the can out of the hot water otherwise it will overcook and become grainy (sugar crystallizatio) and/or lumpy. Let the can cool naturally, don't shock it in an ice bath or you're pretty much guaranteed to muck up the texture. One other vehicle for the DdL for a cake layer that hasn't been mentioned would be {long beat} milk chocolate ganache. Make the ganache slightly thicker than normal because it will thin out when adding the DdL. Although it's not kosher for truffles, slightly warming the ganache and using a ballon whisk to incorporate a lot of air will give you a great texture ... at the expense of shelf life. I've found, however, that whipped ganache/DdL like this keep well when refrigerated and sets up nicely with a firm but light and airy texture. For the ganache, use a milk chocolate with flavor notes to accent the DdL -- Valrhona Jivara which has malt flavoring in it would be an interesting choice in this regard. :Clay
  10. This is something I wondered about with chocolate and my research indicated yes and no - not all silica gel packages are made with food grade materials and you need to calibrate the size of the bag and the adsorbency of the gell to the amount of humidity present and the space. It's possible (if you're not sure of the specs) for the gel to overydry the items in question and ruin them. More interesting is a silica gel product designed to protect against condensation. This keeps moisture out of the air while not drying out the food product. Here's a link to one such product. :Clay
  11. Try Package Nakazawa. Japanese company with a sales office in LA. Several high-end hotels I know of were looking to use them for their packaging. Comparatively inexpensive, too. :Clay
  12. Oh please do tell how you make this choc/dulce de leche ganache !!!! I make my dulce de leche by cooking an unopened can of sweetened condensed milk in a pressure cooker. Usually 30 minutes after the cooker comes up to pressure suffices, but there's a thread in Pastry & Baking that covers the process in detail with lots of different options (especially this post). If you do cook in a pressure cooker, be sure to release the pressure immediately and remove the can right away, otherwise you'll overcook it. And, let the can cool completely before opening. Next I make a milk chocolate ganache. I tend to make one large quantity of a basic recipe and then divide it into smaller batches and make several flavors at a time. For this purpose, I'd use a 1:2 parts ratio of cream:chocolate (though the exact ratio depends on the fat content of the cream and the actual milk chocolate used). Once the chocolate and cream have been fully incorporated and still slightly warm, I add the dulce de leche, usually in a 1:3 ratio (4 ounces (weight) dulce de leche added to 12 ounces (weight) ganache) - making a pound of ganache. Fold together and let set. This will make a pipable (at room temp) ganache and I find it holds up well under refrigeration if care is taken to prevent condensation inside the container. :Clay
  13. Most of the recipes I have seen would make me think that the ratio is 1 drop to 1 pound of fondant sugar - which might be more reasonable. I like mklynch's approach a lot, but it strikes me as something that should be made a la minute or within a few hours of being served at most, otherwise the alcohol in the cherries, even with the cocoa powder coating, might start deconstructing the chocolate shell. Drying the surface of the cherries is important also, I imagine, otherwise there is the chance of the chocolate seizing (even with the cocoa powder coating). I have an event I am doing shortly and I am going to do these a la minute for dessert (at this point probably using store-bought cherries in liquor). I will bring out the temperer, but get really messy and "roll" the cherries like I might a conventional ganache center in chocolate in my palm. Might get some of my guests to help me on this one - tasting the "rejects" sounds like a lot of fun. :Clay
  14. I attended a short demonstration given by Mr Linxe in 2003 here in NY. One of the reasons why he boils his cream three times is because he buys raw cream. The first two boils are to pasteurize the cream (and, I suppose to develop some flavors and perform some of the other chemical transformations). After the 3rd boil, any flavoring ingredients are added and left to infuse. :Clay PS. As an aside, I observed in a demo given by Pascal Le Gac of LMDC there in NY in 2004 that he used a wire whisk to mix the ganache - and confirmed that it was their usual practice when I asked. I know that this is the subject of much debate. I have trouble believing that they make all their ganache by hand in small batches. With the boutiques they have in Paris and around the world, production has to be much larger scale than that. Does anyone know for certain? By hand or under vacuum with a Stephan or similar?
  15. Chocolate-covered cherries are covered in-depth in the Jean-Pierre Wybauw book - in fact, there is a whole chapter on fruit-in-liqueur chocolates. There's too much detail to try to reproduce here, but there are several different recipes as well as complete instructions and a description of the chemistry. Invertase is an important part of all of the recipes. :Clay
  16. I make a "deconstructed truffle" confection on a dark chocolate disk that consists of a milk chocolate/dulce de leche ganache and an Italian herbed sea salt that contains fresh rosemary, fresh sage, fresh garlic, and ground black pepper. Most people are horrified at the thought, but really, really love it when they work up the courage to taste it. The sea salt coupled with the pungency of the fresh herbs and the bite of the garlic and pepper turns out to be perfect foil for the sweetness and strong milk caramel flavors of the ganache -- balanced with the relative bitterness of the dark chocolate. It's eaten upside down so the salt hits the tongue before the ganache. :Clay
  17. I can second this based on recent personal experience using only a 90% chocolate. I also think that you're really overthinking this. It's only chocolate, and Scharffen Berger, expensive as it is, is not so expensive that you should agonize over it. Play! Experiment! Have Fun! Take a deep breath, release slowly and as you exhale, say quietly, "It's Only A Bar Of Chocolate."** That said, whatever you do, you do have to be careful of any flavorings you might add as they are likely to mask the flavors of any chocolate you use. Most SB chocolates have a lot of red-fruit flavors and acidity IMO. Normally, I'd want to either complement that (using a similar flavor element somewhere) or use a contrasting flavor to highlight it. In this case, however, I would choose the simplest possible recipe and stick to plain vanilla (real) so that the flavor of the chocolate is front and center. What might be really informative for you to do is to take the same recipe and make it once with a supermarket brand (Baker's, Nestle) or other brand (Plantations, Callebaut, Guittard) of unsweetened and also make it with the SB 99%. Then, let us know what you think about the differences between the two versions as well as the differences between the two versions that you think are attributable to the differences in the flavor and technical attributes of the two chocolates. Now that I would find interesting indeed as, I suppose, might other eGulleteers. :Clay ** This is part of the 3rd step of the "Chocoholics Anonymous" 12-step program.
  18. Johnny: I managed to get a copy of Jean-Pierre Wybauw's book, Fine Chocolates Great Experience last weekend at a Callebaut sponsored event at the CIA in Hyde Park. J-PW was also there giving a demo and several well-known NYC pastry/chocolate types showed up. This is a great book, with lots of recipes and practical advice for making all sorts of confections with chocolate as well as caramels of various types, candying fruit, pate de fruits, nougats, etc. This is a "Must Have" book for any/everyone who works with chocolate from advanced amateurs to professionals. Most importantly, the recipes are made from the perspective of the professional - what works in production - and use ingredients that professionals are likely to have easier access to. Each of the recipes includes an indicator of Water Activity (aW) level which is a predictor of shelf life (there is also an extensive treatment on the subject of shelf life and how to extend it). The first English-language printing of 20,000 copies is more or less sold out, but I learned that there are two editions - one with the Callebaut logo on the cover and one with the publisher's logo. The easiest way to get a copy of the book (maybe the cheapest, too - I got my copy for $50 instead of the $99 or so most places sell it for) is probably through a Callebaut rep. Most likely not the distributor you buy the chocolate from, but the Callebaut sales rep your distributor deals with. Find out if Callebaut is sponsoring a demo anytime soon and go - they will probably have a supply of books for sale at a good price for cash. :Clay
  19. How are you with making pate de fruit and palet-style enrobing? If you are, why not make a strawberry pate de fruit and put down a thin layer and let set (don't sugar it). On top of the pate de fruit layer, put a thicker (but still thin) layer of peanut flavored ganache. Let set before putting a thin layer of tempered chocolate on the top (which will become the bottom), let set and then cut on a guitar and enrobe. -- BTW. This is a technique that Drew Shotts of Garrison Confections is very accomplished with. If you want to go the shell-mold route, place a dollop of strawberry preserves or jam (probably seedless) as the first ingredient in the shell. Fill the remaining space in the shell with a not-too-sweet peanut praline, a peanut "gianduja," or perhaps a smooth unsalted organic peanut butter (or a peanut paste made for this purpose) and incorporate a crunchy element such as feuilletine or maybe caramel corn "praline." For my taste, I'd use a milk chocolate for the peanut butter element and dark chocolate for the enrobing. I'd want something fairly neutral in flavor profile for the shell, picking a sweetness level that balanced the sweetness of the strawberry element (the sweeter the strawberry, the less sweet the shell). For the peanut element I'd choose a milk chocolate with a strong milk caramel note to complement the peanut flavor. Finally, to make sure that this really works well, Do Not Forget to add salt to the peanut element. :Clay
  20. Am I the only one who finds ICA completely and totally humorless and too self-consciously serious? I miss the fast intercutting, humor, jocular banter, and irreverance of the original and that Alton displays on Good Eats. ICA manages to take the original concept and make it not only boring but painful to watch at times. One of the things I like most about the original Japanese version is just how over-the-top campy it is with the English voiceovers, Japanese mannerisms, and ability to positively gush at the thought of eating delicacies like abalone liver sorbet with lemongrass-uni coulis. While I tend to like Alton's style when he is scripted and within the conceptual context of Good Eats, am I the only one who thinks he falls flat when trying to be casual and supposedly extemporaneous? Do they really think Alton is a reporter and not an actor in a drama-dy? I also happen to find the actor who plays Kaga's (son? grandson?) far less interesting a character than Kaga and thus the entire premise of the show is less believable (which is not to say that it was *ever* very believeable). Now that I got off my chest, I actually do understand why there is controversy over why Iron Chef Batali won the battle when the judging comments seem to go the other way: This Is Television and We Aren't Seeing The Entire Judging Process. The footage of the judging is edited in a way that deliberately generates ambiguity, tension, and uncertainty as to who will be the winner while inviting discussing the "controversy" as is being done here. I am certain that if we were shown the footage of the entire judging we'd be able to easily tell who the winner was going to be. Not to slight Michael's efforts in the least (I started watching last night show about half-way through the judging of his pieces but what I saw looked very interesting and would not hesitate to order them if they showed up on a menu somewhere), but if we saw the entire judging the outcome would have been obvious. Of course, the producers of the show have no desire to telegraph the outcome before it is announced by Kaga Jr with his uncharismatic, unflamboyant, anticlimactic delivery - sort of like a souffle falling (and in true IC style make that a cod roe souffle over a fan of marinated sea cucumber garnished with foie gras braised in plum wine). :Clay edited to fix a rilly stewpid typoh
  21. There are many 100% cocoa bars available. Some are suitable only for baking and some are manufactured so they can be eaten. 100% cocoa bars are very intense, but they are sugar free (but not low carb or low fat), and should be considered a viable alternative for diabetics. If you can get used to the taste of Campari straight, Fernet-Branca bitters, and the like, you can probably work up a liking for the better 100% bars. One of the great things about eating a 100% bar is that a little goes a very long way. A 100gr bar is often divided into about 20 squares; all it takes is 1 of those little 5gr squares to satisfy the most intense chocolate craving. Some of the better 100 percenters for eating include Domori Puro, Slitti Gran Cacao, and Plantations. Cluizel makes a 99% (the other 1% is lecithin, vanilla, and bergamot) and so does Scharffen Berger which I have not tried recently. To make a 100% bar suitable for eating means paying a lot of attention all the way through the manufacturing process. Bean quality, fermentation, drying, roasting, grinding, refining, conching -- all play key parts in the process of making an edible 100%. It's important to pay attention to the cocoa butter/solids ratio as a 100% bar could very easily get chalky and dry. It is also very important to pay attention to particle size. Many 100 percenters that you can buy in the store are designed to be cooked with, not eaten. Because they are not designed to be eaten they are basically inedible in their "raw" state. They have a tendency to be gritty (the grittiness is hidden by flour whose particles are much larger), quite bitter (they know you're going to be adding sugar), and are often quite acidic (helps leavening in recipes that use it). :Clay
  22. The recipe is here: "White Chocolate Ganache With Tahitian Vanilla Bean." From the intro to the story on MSNBC.com: Chocolate is the quintessential Valentine's Day gift. But instead of the usual boxed confection, why not surprise your valentine with a homemade delicacy? Chef Norman Love, who has designed chocolate for Godiva and was the corporate pastry chef at the Ritz Carlton, was invited on "Today" to share his recipe for white chocolate ganache, a sweet creamy chocolate mixture often used as a filling or frosting. :Clay
  23. Though I spent most of my time here on eG here in Pastry/Baking one of my real loves is working with chocolate in savory dishes. I regularly ( 6+ times per year ) host, and often cook, multi-course dinners that incorporate chocolate in every course. One thing I like to do is to make roasted red pepper and tomato soup. In the bottom of the bowl I place some roasted corn/bacon "hash" and then ladle the soup over that. A dollop of sour cream, and artfully placed cracker, and garnished with an artful drizzle (from a squeeze bottle) of chocolate balsamic sauce laced with chipotle pepper. White chocolate buerre blanc works very well with fish -- you can even do this with bittersweet chocolate. Soak some dried cherries in a peppery-spicy shiraz for a couple of hours or overnight. Drain the cherries and use them chopped in a vinaigrette in a mesclun salad with cocoa nibs and chopped toasted hazelnuts. Pan sear some duck breasts, pour the fat out of the pan and deglaze with the red wine that the cherries have been soaking in. Instead of using butter to thicken the sauce use bittersweet chocolate. Thicken, reduce, and pour over the duck breasts (which have been resting in a warm oven). I am going to experiment next weekend with some parmesan tuiles that incorporate cracked pepper and cocoa nibs -- and while they're still warm I'm going to mold them into cups in mini-muffin tins and serve something in them, perhaps a ragu of some sort. I also like to make homemade pasta and add a small amount of cocoa powder (1-2 Tbsp/cup of flour). The pasta is not noticeably chocolatey with a sauce on it, but it's there if you take a piece and eat it by itself. I tend to do very rustic pastas, hand-rolled fairly thick cut with a knife and air-dried for not too long. First had something like this at Tony May's San Domenico on CPS with a "daube" made with duck. Finally a pun/cliche that few people have caught on to: cocoa butter - as in a compound butter to finish off a steak. Warm the butter, add cocoa powder, some nibs, and complementary fresh herbs. Mold, chill, then slice and plop onto a piece of grilled tenderloin while resting. That one is truly yummy. This coming Saturday I am doing a dinner that got auctioned off as a fundraiser that involves taking the winner shopping down (I am "up" in Westchester) in Arthur Avenue in the Bronx. No set menu ideas, that will evolve during the shopping trip as we visit my favorite butcher, fishmonger, deli, cheese place, etc., etc. I'll post what finally gets made if people are interested. :Clay
  24. They're also written up in today's (Feb 2, 2005) NYTimes Dining section. Fritz Knipschildt (www.knipschildt.com) is Danish and works out of a converted catering kitchen in Norwalk, CT. He has achieved some success in providing bulk chocolates to small shops like The Chocolate Room as well as catalog distribution and wide Internet distribution. He appears to employ 4-5 people full time plus some seasonal help. One way to characterize Fritz is as a journeyman chocolatier. He makes several very nice pieces with some unusual and good flavor combinations (white chocolate w/ cardamom, raspberry w/ pink peppercorn, tangerine lime chile) but has some challenges with being consistently good (well, pretty much everyone does -- and it's that aspect of the craft that separates the merely very good from the great). One thing that I do admire about Fritz is that he works very hard at his craft and keeps improving - his flavors, his technique, his consistency. He also has some nice packaging and works very hard to present a unique and identifiable look - I brokered a corporate gifting deal over the holidays with Fritz's work and the client (and the recipients) were very happy. :Clay
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