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Trendy Pralines Callebaut Course


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Hi all! Back from Belgium and all things chocolate!!

I am working on resizing pictures and uploading them to Imagegullet. I will start tomorrow with pictures and descriptions. All in all it was a good course, too much in too short a timeframe and believe it or not, stressful!! I felt like Lucille ball in that chocolate factory scene when she ate chocolates to prevent them from falling off the belt. Do you know that scene??!!

I also will tell about chocolate world. Good night for me at least!

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Hello! So I arrived in Aalst Tuesday evening. This is not tourist season so shops and even restaurants closed rather early compared to when I was there in October. I had a hard time finding a restaurant! Here is the view outside my "Best Western" Keiserhopf hotel:


Lovely! Well after a dinner of pommes frites and tomato soup and red wine, I walked back to my hotel and went to bed while it was still light outside. It gets dark very very late! I woke bright and early as the pick up was at 8am. First we all go to the coffee bar in the academy- just outside the lab. We all chat, have coffee or tea and chocolates. JPW and Sonja chat with us too.



We then went into the lab, with our net caps, and lab coats. Wash hands, rinse with alcohol and go up front to JPW's table for a short lecture and demo on ganache.

Main points:

Ganache must be tempered to be stable. This is for consistency in texture, extended shelf life, holding flavour and mouthfeel, keeps moisture better and is more resistant to temp fluctuations of day and night. One can experiment by making one ganache tempered and one not and follow up on the two daily for 2 weeks or so to see the differences.

Two ways to temper ganache:

a. Pour cream over chocolate callets and make the ganache as usual. Pour onto a tray and put in fridge until you can identify the ganache setting at the rims. then give a short mix on the counter and bring to room temp befor using. I mixed in bowl....

b. JPW said this is his preferred way lately:

Heat cream and infuse if necessary, cool down to room temp and then add to melted and tempered chocolate. This is the way we mostly made our recipes.

More on ganache:

Shelf life:

1. temper ganache

2. Sugars for shelf life extension: isolates or binds the water

a. Honey and invert sugar are one and the same - save the flavour of the honey, of course. Rating of 125 on the sweetness scale

ADVANTAGES: moisturizer- prevents ganache from drying out. Increases shelf life and acid inverted over enzyme inverted is more stable

DISADVANTAGES: too much is too sweet and makes ganache too soft. At 70C or higher it loses all advantages but the sweetness stays.

b. Glucose/corn syrup: Rating of 70-75 on sweetness scale

ADVANTAGES: increases shelf life. Retards crystallization of sugar

DISADVANTAGES: too much makes for a sticky ganache

c. Sorbitol (all "ol" sugars have smaller molecule size so shwelf life is better due to surface area): Rating of 60 on the sweetness scale.

ADVANTAGES: Increases shelf life. Not so sweet. Available in dry powder form . Moisturizer.

DISADVANTAGES: too much has a laxative effect!!

d. Glycerol: Rating of 55-60 on the sweetness scale

ADVANTAGES: moisturizer. Increases shelf life, soft mouthfeel.

3. Alcohol- problem in Canada, U.S.A. and Arab countries due to restrictions. 17% alcohol will give a shelf life of one year. If stored in such a way as nothing can evaporate. Basic recipe:

2000g chocolate, 1000 g cream (about 60% water) for a total of 3000g which has 600g water. So add 17% of alcohol - based on the 600g water- to get fantastic shelf life

4. Adjust acids to get at least a Ph of 4.5. This can be lemon juice, acidity stabilizers for a shelf life of a few months

5. Salt also adds shelf life and reduces sweetness. Use a touch of Sodium Bicarb- be careful and few grains too much will make it taste awful.

0.9 Aw- 3 week shelf life

0.7 Aw- 2 months

0.6 Aw - very stable against bacteria up to a year

Other ganache issues:

use a whisk not a spatula- breaks less due to smaller size particles. Homogenize with high speed makes even smaller particles and this adds to shelf life also.

Always process or "refine" whole spices, dry berries etc to get aroma and flavour out before infusing. Always pass through sieve (dah!)

There is a nice gadget to measure Aw it is called an Aw meter and takes a short time.

More to come later!!

Edited by Lior (log)
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Thanks Lior - great info so far.

I know we've talked about the invert sugar over 70º C before here on eG. I understand why that would kill invertase - which is an enzyme and therefore a protein - so heat will denature it. But you make invert sugar by heating acid with sugar at higher than 70º C as I recall - so it's weird that it would damage it.

As I recall it was JPW who made this statement before as well. I wonder if we can find some coo-berating evidence somewhere?

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Oh and thanks for all the welcome home greetings!! It was a bit of a short trip but it is only about a 4-5 hour flight and one hour time difference so that helps a whole lot. We had a girl from Kenya (nairobi) called Rupa- lovely lady- and another that was also in my previous course and is just lovely- Elenice, from Brasil- so it was wonderful to see her again. Then we had Martin from Denmark, someone from Russia, Jasper from Norway, and a few from Israel.

So more:

If you are tempering the ganache by the cooled cream/melted tempered chocolate method, then it is highly suggested to add the butter to the cream while hot.

So we first worked on slabbed ganache in frames. JPW used frames that he had made from some material like plastic- he said small and thin is in, so the frames are thin- about 4-5mm in height. He puts an acetate sheet on a flat tray and sticks it on with melted chocolate. Then he sticks the frame on with melted choco. You pour the tempered ganache into the frame and smooth it out. If it is thick and starts setting- which it has a tendency to do as it is tempered- you can smooth it out and flatten it by putting an acetate sheet on the ganache and use a rolling pin to roll it even and flat.. If it is in a frame or tray and is lower than the rim of the frame you can even it and flatten it by using an offset spatula that fts just within the frame and it works beautifully.

Always start with the layer that needs most to cool down

Pictures coming

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Yes Kerry, you are right. I will email him on that I think. So we got a folder with recipes and then we had to prepare a tray with all the ingreds forthe first three recipes. It was a bit mad running around finding everything while everyone else was doing the same. I worked with a friend and also kind of with Elenice and Rupa so we measured things and weighed things for each other. I think in retrospect it would have been wise to start with the recipe that was further on and not the first!

We used little containers and labeled everything with stickers and placed the recipe on the tray with the containers.


using the offset pallet to even and smooth out ganache that is lower than the top of the frame:


JPW, Phillipe and Elenice:




more to come

Edited by Lior (log)
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JPW only demo-ed a few recipes. There just was not enough time and day two was packed and I think I hardly took any photos.



REcipe example:


Making slab on iether a frame lined with acetate or the white cutom made frames in his hand:


note how he glued the frame to the acetate:



slab bottomed to be cut on guitar


does anyone want some of the recipes?

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Very cool Lior. Sounds like fun. I'm going to steal... errrr... borrow your notes from this thread for future reference in case I ever find time to take a trip south and sign up for one of Kerry's classes. I'm not really too interested in going into chocolates and confections production but a lot of the techniques translate to dessert uses as well so I'd like to actually learn to do it properly at some point.

Edited by Tri2Cook (log)

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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If you are tempering the ganache by the cooled cream/melted tempered chocolate method, then it is highly suggested to add the butter to the cream while hot.

So does this mean the butter melts?

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Yes! That is what he did and said!

Raisins and Berries

Layer 1:

140g raisins

50g Porto

2.5 g four spices- I used less as this seemed a lot

200 g butter

600g milk chocolate


Put the raisins, Porto and spices in the food processor- we used the Robot Coupe. Make it a mush!

Mix the room temp butter into the mushy raisin mixture/paste.

Add this mixture to melted tempered chocolate.

Spread into a frame- not more than 3-4 mm height is recommended. Put in fridge or cool place. We used the chocolate fridges under the woking tables.


400g cream- 38-40% creamfat

zest of a lime

Juice of a lime-we used Boiron frozen so I used 2 Tbls or just less

1 bay leaf

1g Juniper berries- dried

50 g invert

600 g milk chocolate

30 lemo geneva- a liqueur

80 g butter


Bring the cream and herbs/spices to the boil. Keep all the spices in until cooled to room temp in order to infuse. It is important to roughly grind the leaf and berries in order toget maximum aroma and flavour priorto infusion.

Inthe meantime food process or Robot Coupe the rest of the ingredients using melted tempered chocolate and then sieve the infusion onto it. Let it homogenize. If I recall, I did this by hand. I did not put the melted choc into the processor- I think!

Put a frame of 5 mm on top of the 1st frame. I used melted tempered chocolate to gluethe 2nd frame to the first so it would not move around- worked well. Let crystallize before bottoming and cutting. Dip into dark chocolate. They recommended Equador Origin...

I like this one a lot.

Someone on this forum once asked about chocolate spread of Nutella consistency. I have made theone in JPW's book and it is a more solid consistency so it is hard to spread in the winter. My colleague asked him about a chocolate spread that is easier to spread and we developed one there. I will post it later on as it is not down here where Ms. lazy bones is at the moment! It came out very nicely and we checked the Aw on the meter. It was 0.7, so in the fridge it will be even better. We kept it in the choc fridge over night and itwasstill spreadable the following morning. About the one in his book, he suggested to reduce the amt of chocolate a bit and increase the butter a bit for a more spreadable consistency. But the Aw here is not known.

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This is great info, Lior, thank you again! I'll be taking notes on several of these tips for future reference. I'm very new to making chocolates and am totally self-taught (from books), so this is a lot of great insight. And I love seeing the type of equipment they use, like the frames. And sticking the frame down with chocolate? So simple, but I wouldn't have thought of it. I probably would've used tape or something... :hmmm:

I'm gonna go bake something…

wanna come with?

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I know exactly how you feel!! And it is my pleasure to share as I learned from many on this forum as well!!

Chocolate Spread

400g condensed milk- sweetened type

150g dark chocolate OR 200 g milk chocolate

200g soft butter

40 g cacao powder

30 g sorbitol liquid not powder form

Mix everything together but not the chocolate. Chocolate should be melted and tempered. Gradually add chocolate till all is homogenous. On shelf at least 1 month shelf life, in fridge at least 2 months.

It tastes just right!!

Edited by Lior (log)
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Porto is a port wine from Portugal.

It suits the raisins and spices very nicely. in my opinion!! Actually, for those who know what it is, this praline reminds me strongly of the food we ( the yemenite version at least!) eat on Passover feast to represent the mortar placed between the stones used for building in the days of the Hebrew slaves- known as "Ckharoset" !!! SO I will be making it during that season for sure!!

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Thanks ejw50!

When evening out and smoothing the ganache in the frame, JPW uses a small caramel ruler and goes back and forth to remove the extra ganache and smooth out the top. He wipes the extra off on the lip of the bowl or with a pallet. Because the ganache has been tempered itis thick and setting and itis a bit clumbsy to smoothen out-even for JPW which was enlightening to see!


We also made a recipe with sesame and chocolate bases. He had a nice technique here. We roasted about 100g of sesame seeds and cooled them. We then mixed the sesame seeds with tempered melted milk chocolate- 300g. We then rolled this mass out- between twosheets of acetate with a rolling pin to about 2mm thickness- quite thin! Then you remove the top acetate sheet and cut circles out witha cutter. 2-2.5 diameter is just right. The cutter should be cone shaped becasue then you cut about 10 circles out at a time (one right after another) before emptying the cutter and then they all fall out easily with a one soft jab of the finger- because of the cone shape- which gets wider and wider. I used to use a regular cookie/petit four cutter that I bought for a dollar but it is not cone shaped and so getting 2 or 3 out at a time required some skill. I would put my cutter on the neck of a bottle that was just the right diameter in order to push my circles of ganache out, without ruining their shape. So investing in cone shaped cutters is worthwhile big time. It is fast, clean and easy.


Then in order to pipe ganache onto these BASES that we cut out, we needed them to stick to the acetate so they wouldn't move around or lift up when piping ganache onto them. So what you do is cover them again with the acetate sheet previously removed, give them all a blow of hot air with the gun or hairdryer, which very slightly melts a bit of the chocolate in the bases. Then you place a tray or flat lid on the top and turn the whole thing over so the tops of the bases are now on the bottom. Remove tray and acetate sheet and all the circle bases are nicely glued down to the sheet that they lie on! Then we piped: Keep the tip slightly inside the ganache while piping and then stop squeezing the bag and moc=ve the tip in a circular movement and disconnect. No points allowed! Oints break off later after dipping or while dipping andthen air gets in and ruins the filling.

Notice one has a point to show us how NOT to do it.


Recipe to follow!

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So after cutting and gluing the circles down, the ganache can be made.

200 g cream

vanilla bean

and 2-3 cloves.

Here we boiled the cream with the vanilla and cloves to infuse. We then pored it through a sieve onto 500g milk chocolate chopped- not melted this time. Mix while adding 50g of invert sugar till it is smooth. We let it cool a bit, whipped it a bit and put in the fridge to set a bit. When it was quite stiff we whipped it till it changed color to a lighter one. We then piped it onto the circles, let it harden and dipped in milk chocolate.

Notice that the color got darker as the ganache got warmer and it became very hard to pipe nicely:


I will also show guitar cuttings and etc

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Passion Fruit

1st layer

15g pectine

500g sucrose-fine sugar

500g puree of passion fruit

80 g glucose

80 g invert sugar

5 g tartaric acid

We mixed the pectin and sugarand then poured into the puree and brought to a boil. Pour through a sieve, add glucose and invert and bring to boil again. Boil to 108C. Add the tartaric acid which was dissolved in the least amount poss of water, mix well and quickly pour into a pre prepared frame of 4mm set on a silpat.

second layer was a problem- more on that later


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If you are tempering the ganache by the cooled cream/melted tempered chocolate method, then it is highly suggested to add the butter to the cream while hot.

Did JPW discuss the reasoning behind adding the butter to the hot cream? Did he metion any pros and cons of doing so?

Every other reference I've seen says that you do not want to melt the butter. Greweling, for example, says to not melt the butter "so as not to separate that [the butter's] emulsion and to preserve the smooth mouthfeel."

I've not, yet, had any problems incorporating softened butter into the ganache once the chocolate and cream are combined, but if there's no advantage to doing so, it would sometimes be easier if I didn't have to warm the butter up from fridge temp first.


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Okay, lets not forget about the printer. What did you find out Lior?!!!

There are many schools of thought about how to do a ganache. The Callebaut chef, Derek Pho says to melt the butter into the cream. I had to ask him if that was what he said!! Whereas, Derek Poirer with Valrhona told us to let the ganache cool then add the butter and he used an immersion blender. He adds the cream to the chocolate in 3 stages. He uses an immersion blender and after the first 1/3 he showed us the broken ganache. He said to keep the chocolate and the cream at above 35 C as this will create fusion. Failing to do so will result in perhaps a grainy ganache. If the melted chocolate or the cream drops below that temp then he heats it up. So, all the experts have their own unique way of doing things. I use a variety of their techniques and try to apply the most appropriate technique with what I am doing for a ganache filling.

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He did mention the advantages. I am not sure I remember though!

Printer. It is the canon printer I mentioned in the topic about printers . SO there are a few options:

1. 629 Euro- includes printer, software, security stick,carrier for ink, 2 ink sets , 3 magnetic molds and 100 transfer sheets

2. 477 Euro

Printer, carrier for ink. 2 ink cartridges, software and security stick

3, 98 Euro- software and security stick

you can buy blank printer sheets- looks like acetate and/or in size A4 or to fit those magnetic moulds,

The printer has to have this security stick so 98 Euro is a must.

Edited by Lior (log)
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The Callebaut demos at Europain this year suggest bringing the butter to the boil with the cream. By bringing it to the boil, you lower the chance of the butter adding any bacterial contaminants. In regards to the maintaining/breaking of butter's natural emulsion: it's felt that the whole process of emulsifying the ganache will also emulsify the separated butter components. It'd be simple, yet interesting to do a side-by-side comparison.

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Wow! So much information I can't process it all before breakfast, and yet I've learned something already (room temp in 2nd method.) Thank you for writing everything out, with such detail. I know it takes lots of time to be so generous. I'll come back to this thread again and again.


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I am so glad some of you are benefitting- I was beginning to think I was getting monotonous!! :rolleyes: And yes! Thank you HQAntithesis! I now recall that is exactly what he said. I remember it being along those lines but could not recall exactly so I hesitated to give partial info!! Well back to layer two. I think there was a problem with the recipe as all ganaches but one broke. JPW then wrote a new recipe onthe board. We are all human!

Flop recipe:

100g cream

300g honey

800 g milk choc

600 Praline

250 g butter

Boil cream and honey. Pour the mixture when cooled onto melted tempered chocolate. Mix well and then add room temp praline and butter. Put into fridge as it has a tendency to break. When it startsto crystallize mix in a robot coupe or mixer and pour into a frame on top of frame from layer one. This frame should be5-7mm high. Put in fridge to crystallize and then put a thin coat of chocolate (to bottom it). Turn over to cut so thatthe fruit layer is on the top and the chocoalte bottom is on the bottom. Cut and dip into dark 70% chocolate.

As mentioned the second layer broke so we used a different layer. But perhaps if the chocolate and praline were mixed with the butter and then the cream it would be better...???:

recipe 2 for layer 2:

300g cream

50g honey

50 g butter.

300 g melted tempered dark chocolate

300 g melted tempered milk chocolate

boil cream and honey and add butter, Let cool and pour over melted and tempered chocolates. Then continue as above.

I will be back to post pictures of this. Have to take my little one to some math test.

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