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Baselerd

Pliable Ganache/Flexible Curd Generic Recipe?

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On the subject of modern plated desserts: I have noticed a recent trend that has caught my attention - the flexible/pliable ganache (sometimes called the flexicurd). Now, I have made a few recipes for these types of desserts, which have turned out well (Specifically the Alinea Cookbook chocolate pliable ganache). Another recipe can be seen here on page 68. (ingredients listed below)

375 g chocolate

1 sheet gelatin

50 g water

100 g sorbitol

3 g agar

50 g glucose

900 g heavy cream

2 g salt

Now, my question is this: does anyone know of a good way to modify this recipe (or of any others) to accommodate other flavors? I have seen some very interesting pliable ganaches, such as yogurt, beet, grapefruit, coconut, etc. However, there doesn't seem an obvious way to modify these recipes. For a lot of dessert components this is as simple as changing a fruit puree to another flavored liquid. I am not so confident in this due to the fact that the recipes contain a lot of chocolate, which contributes significant textural properties. To further complicate this, I know some hydrocolloids are sensitive to pH (pectin) or ion concentrations (LA gellan, carrageenan). Anyone have experience with this?

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It's not really as simple as that unfortunately. The variations generally require more modification that just switching the flavor components depending what you're working with and the result you're after. For example, Johnny Iuzzini's Meyer Lemon Flexi-curd and Caramel Flexi-curd both both use almost identical ingredients as far as the hydrocolloids are concerned (the only difference being the lemon uses iota carrageenan and the caramel uses kappa) but the amounts of each ingredient are different for a pretty close to same-size batch. I once tried doing a variation on the Alinea flexi-ganache by replacing the chocolate with cocoa butter so that any chocolate note would take a way-in-the-back seat to the other flavors involved. I basically followed the recipe exactly wth that one switch and flavored the cream by infusing it with mint. I did get a flexible result that tasted purely of mint but it required some tweaking of the cocoa butter amount and still wasn't the same texture as the original. It would bend but it wouldn't actually twist and loop without cracking or breaking. The recipe you posted is the one from the Alinea book and I still maintain that it's incorrect though I've seen no official correction for it. The amount of cream is way too high in that recipe and the result is very soft and difficult to work with. Adjusting the cream down to equal the weight of the chocolate or even a bit less works much better as far as shaping goes.

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I'd try to get a formula that works with white chocolate and then use oil-based flavor extracts to flavor it various ways. Sorry, I don't have a white chocolate formula myself. But, I have made a lot of white chocolate truffle fillings this way. Amoretti makes a ton of flavors.

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If you just want to make bendy shapes, something as simple as a gelatin/agar combo in most curd recipes will do the trick. If it's too brittle when cold, letting it warm just a bit usually solves the problem. If you're wanting to do loops and twists and all that, it usually takes some playing around when you change components. Doing the Alinea ganache with white or milk chocolate still works, I just go a bit lower on the cream. Eliminating any form of chocolate from the formula is when the fun begins as far as figuring out what to do to make it work. The hydrocolloid bill in the Iuzzin flexi-curds is fairly substantial (carrageenan, gellan, agar and LM pectin) but it's easier to manipulate flavor-wise because it doesn't rely on chocolate as a structural component. It can be gently twisted, curved, carefully knotted, folded... but it won't support itself enough for loops and larger arches. I went through an excited phase of playing around with this stuff soon after seeing the Alinea version several years ago but I haven't messed with it much in the past few years. I'm hoping somebody that's been working with this technique more regularly and recently chimes in to gve you some more specific information.

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Cool, thanks for the input. It doesn't sounds like there is an easy way to go about this other than trial by fire.

That recipe from Iuzzini looks pretty good for a starting point actually - maybe I'll start there. Also, looking through the MC Volume 4, they do have a "Best Bets for Cold Gels" table, which should work with any liquid base - the real question is do any of their combinations give the same creamy but firm texture and elasticity of the fabled flexi-curd...


Edited by Baselerd (log)

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Can those pliable ganaches be frozen and still maintain their texture and flexibility? Has anyone tried it?

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Also, any thoughts on how to replace cream by cocnut cream?

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