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Fillings for Chocolates


Jim D.
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I am fairly new to chocolate work and have been spending a lot of time looking at possible fillings. I have Greweling's Chocolates and Confections, Shotts's Making Artisan Chocolates, and Notter's The Art of the Chocolatier, have made a list of all the fillings that seem interesting, and have now experimented with some of them. Obviously ganache is the standard type of filling, and some of the options have been delicious (Greweling's pumpkin caramel is the winner so far). But I am feeling some limitations of the medium--the chocolate, especially if it is milk or dark, tends to overwhelm the flavoring. Notter's "Tropical" praline, for example, has banana, passion fruit, mango, lime and lemon juice, but the combination of milk and dark chocolate (in my opinion) nearly overwhelms all those tropical flavors. Tasters didn't know there was banana until I told them. I found a banana/caramel recipe from the Callebaut site (from a link from this forum) that uses white chocolate, and that works better to let the flavors through (I added a few drops of lemon juice to counteract some of the sweetness).

So, as far as I can tell, there are two "vehicles" for praline flavor--ganache and fondant--and the authors I have consulted so far don't give a lot of space to fondant. I made it once years ago, and my memory is that it is very, very sweet. So does it make a good filling for chocolates? Can practically any flavor be added? My impression of regular (non-gourmet) chocolates that people buy in boxes (such as Godiva) is that they use a lot of fondant; they are often a color other than chocolate and I can't think of any other way that type of filling is made.

I'm not entirely sure what my question is, except to ask whether I am correct in assuming that the choices for fillings are ganache and fondant (maybe caramel is a third?). Do many people on this forum use fondant for this purpose?

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Geerts Belgian Chocolates goes in to some others - a lot involve marzipan in some form or another, fondant worked into buttercreams, nougats.

Greweling also goes into the nut paste mixed with chocolate items as well (ie the gianduja types).

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Greweling also does a lot of meltways and fruit jelly's.(He doesn't like to use French terms like Pate de fruit). If the chocolate is overpowering the flavors, why not try a more neutral chocolate? Also, you could adjust the formula and use white chocolate.

Ruth Kendrick

Chocolot
Artisan Chocolates and Toffees
www.chocolot.com

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Greweling also does a lot of meltways and fruit jelly's.(He doesn't like to use French terms like Pate de fruit). If the chocolate is overpowering the flavors, why not try a more neutral chocolate? Also, you could adjust the formula and use white chocolate.

I was thinking of using white chocolate. Today I tried a Greweling recipe for pear ganache (had a container of pear purée and a bottle of pear eau-de-vie); the chocolate was milk. There was absolutely no hint of a pear flavor in the final product. I will give it a try with white choc.--I didn't buy the purée and the brandy to have them disappear. How do you think this would work with fondant?

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Geerts Belgian Chocolates goes in to some others - a lot involve marzipan in some form or another, fondant worked into buttercreams, nougats.

Greweling also goes into the nut paste mixed with chocolate items as well (ie the gianduja types).

Do you know where I might find the Geerts book? Amazon says it is out of print, and I could find no other reference to it.

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I was thinking of using white chocolate. Today I tried a Greweling recipe for pear ganache (had a container of pear purée and a bottle of pear eau-de-vie); the chocolate was milk. There was absolutely no hint of a pear flavor in the final product. I will give it a try with white choc.--I didn't buy the purée and the brandy to have them disappear. How do you think this would work with fondant?

I thought I would provide an update on today's experiments: I made the Greweling pear ganache with white chocolate. The pear flavor comes through much better, but it is still weak. So my next thought is to decrease the amount of chocolate and add an equivalent amount of butter (which this recipe does not include at all), on the theory that both choc. and butter will cause the ganache to thicken, but butter has a much more neutral flavor. I also plan to increase the amounts of pear purée and eau-de-vie slightly.

The other plan was to try fondant, so I made some fondant (Greweling recipe). Although I removed it from the heat at exactly the prescribed temp, it got a bit too firm. Anyhow I melted it and added pear purée and eau-de-vie. I'm waiting to see how much it thickens as it cools--I was just guessing at amounts. The pear flavor is certainly stronger, but, as I assumed, fondant is really sweet. Maybe some lemon juice would help with that?

If I stick with the white choc. ganache, I would be interested in knowing if others on the forum think substituting butter for some choc. will work. And, by the way, today I came across a thread on this same pear ganache in which some of the same problems came up. I hope we don't have to conclude that pears are just too delicate to be used in chocolates!

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Someone posted about infusing flavor into product by using an ISI whip creamer.If you put the cream to be used into the container with the pear flavorings it might get into the cream better then proceed with the ganache. Can someone lead us to the article please?

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If you aren't taking the fruit out of the ganache I don't know if there would be any advantage to infusing using the ISI. Great though if you want to infuse an herb or something you want to take out. The topic is somewhere in the modernist threads if I'm not mistaken.

When I'm trying to build layers of flavour to try and punch up the fruit in a filling - I usually add puree, flavouring compound and some freeze dried fruit powder if I have it. Then I add a bit of citric acid and some booze - if I'm using red fruits I like to add a citrus flavour alcohol rather than more of the same flavour I'm building.

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For a lot of the chocolates I make with fondant I add some citric acid to help a bit with the overwhelming sweetness.

I just tried some lemon juice in the pear fondant. It improved things, but more of it, and the mixture starts tasting of lemon. When you have some time, could you let me know some of the fondant fillings you use? Greweling has a mint one that looks interesting, but not too much else.

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Here's one of them -

Raspberry Centers

Source: me

(250 servings)

  • 333 grams raspberry puree
  • 300 grams 118 degree fondant
  • ½ teaspoon citric acid
  • 300 grams white chocolate
  • 30 grams butter
  • 1 ½ tablespoons kirsch
  • 1 tablespoon raspberry compound
  • 9 drops raspberry flavour (optional)

1.Mix fondant with butter in food processor until smooth. Add melted white chocolate through feed tube, then add puree and flavouring compounds.

2.For molding, make sure that white chocolate is rather thick. Just cool long enough to set, don't let sit in fridge for any length of time or they will crack.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I thought I would provide an update on today's experiments: I made the Greweling pear ganache with white chocolate. The pear flavor comes through much better, but it is still weak. So my next thought is to decrease the amount of chocolate and add an equivalent amount of butter (which this recipe does not include at all), on the theory that both choc. and butter will cause the ganache to thicken, but butter has a much more neutral flavor. I also plan to increase the amounts of pear purée and eau-de-vie slightly.

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.

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Hello, I've been reading a lot but not often replying yet.

To enhance the flavor of a purée, I generally reduce it by 40%. A less sweet milk chocolate is ideal for this ganache also.

Could you recommend a "less sweet" milk chocolate? I am currently using Callebaut's, and it is sweet, but I don't have a lot with which to compare it. I could, of course, mix milk and dark--as many ganache recipes specify.

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Could you recommend a "less sweet" milk chocolate? I am currently using Callebaut's, and it is sweet, but I don't have a lot with which to compare it. I could, of course, mix milk and dark--as many ganache recipes specify.

Jim, look for milk chocolate in the 40% cacao mass range. They tend to taste much better than regular ones. Personally, I highly recommend Cacao Barry's single origin from Ghana, it has a great milky and caramel flavour and is a dream to work with. Not cheap, though. And if ever you are looking for a not-too-sweet white chocolate, try Opalys from Valrhona. I recently tasted it at a Valrhona demo, and it's truly the best white choc I've had (and by the way, I am normally averse to milk and white).

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Could you recommend a "less sweet" milk chocolate? I am currently using Callebaut's, and it is sweet, but I don't have a lot with which to compare it. I could, of course, mix milk and dark--as many ganache recipes specify.

Jim, look for milk chocolate in the 40% cacao mass range. They tend to taste much better than regular ones. Personally, I highly recommend Cacao Barry's single origin from Ghana, it has a great milky and caramel flavour and is a dream to work with. Not cheap, though. And if ever you are looking for a not-too-sweet white chocolate, try Opalys from Valrhona. I recently tasted it at a Valrhona demo, and it's truly the best white choc I've had (and by the way, I am normally averse to milk and white).

Thanks very much for those suggestions. I will give them a try.

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funny how people are different. I'm not really a fan of the Ghana. I use a 38% Felchlin which is very nice to work with and isn't particularly sweet, for example, compared with Callebaut 33% milk.

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.
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  • 2 weeks later...

There is one on Amazon.co.uk - not inexpensive however.

Kerry,

That appears to be the only copy of that book available anywhere. With shipping and duty, it will be over $100 (and I am not yet sure that the seller will ship to the U.S.). If you have a minute, can you give me your opinion as to whether it is worth it for learning about a variety of fillings. It sounds as if it would be very helpful, and I am puzzled as to why it is not more readily available, even in the U.K.

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I'd probably just put a watch on Abebooks until a copy more in your price range comes up. Perhaps interlibrary loan would allow you to look at a copy.

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