Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

paulraphael

Spherified chocolate

Recommended Posts

So, half a decade or so after everyone got sick of spherification I decided to start doing it. I needed to bring something to an erotic dessert party, and thought chocolate truffles that explode in the mouth would be the ticket.

It worked pretty well. People loved them, and made incredible faces, wondering about what was going on in there. One friend said they were like "yolks of the ganache vulture" ... a name that has stuck.

Unfortunately, making them was a gross process. My assumption that a mellon baller would work for scooping the cold ganache into the alginate was thwarted by their crumbly texture. I ended up forming the balls by hand, which left me looking like I was covered in poop.

Here's the recipe (it's for reverse spherification):

175g heavy cream

30g liqueur

15g sugar

3.2g calcium chloride

100g dark chocolate, chopped

The chocolate is chilled in the freezer before making balls, and then

soaked in hot water to melt the centers before serving.

Two thoughts I had are substituting invert syrup for the sugar, and adding gelatin (enough to give them better adhesion while cold, but not so much as to thicken them noticeably while melted).

Any better ideas?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Erotic dessert party?

Never tried thickening the spheres with gelatin, but xanthan gum works like a charm.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You could freeze the base in sphere (or any other shape, i.e. the mini savarins Johnny Iuzzini used when he made mini donuts using this method) molds.

As an aside, you didn't experience any unpleasant taste from using calcium chloride in your base?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I thought about freezing in molds but was hoping for something easier.

I don't want to use xanthan because i want to mimimally influence the texture when it's melted. I just want it to adhere to iteself better so it's not just a mess when making the balls. If I could use a mellon baller that would be great.

No unpleasant taste in the chocolate from the calcium chloride, but I made some spherized straweberry this morning that tasted like road salt. It's an acquired taste.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can't imagine anything easier than freezing the base in molds. It's faster than scooping frozen or liquid base and easier to work with. Just pop what you need out of the molds, drop them in the bath and go do something else for a few minutes.

I don't know if I have some sort of mutant sensitivity to calcium chloride but when I tried using it in reverse spheres several years ago following recipes from big-name chefs, I had to throw the results in the trash every time. I remember thinking "How are they getting away with this in their restaurants?". Then I began to wonder if it was just me since people were obviously eating these dishes at the restaurants. The unpleasantness I experienced would not have been overlooked in favor of cool factor so I never really found an answer to why it was so offensive to me. I've since used calcium lactate and lactate/gluconate exclusively for those projects. I've never used calcium chloride in a base like you're doing so maybe what you use it in is a factor.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I like the idea of avoiding the calcium chloride flavor. In the chocolate it just tasted like salt, but it ruined the fruit.

Do the lactate and gluconate not have flavor? Are there problems with making those substitutions?

I'd be grateful for recommendations on sphere molds. never used them. Sounds like they're easier Than i had assumed.


Edited by paulraphael (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You're making it too hard. Try this:

  • Make simple syrup by adding 3 cups of sugar to 3 cups of water, stirring, and boil until the sugar is completely dissolved. Cool the syrup, which can be made up to a week ahead of time and chilled, covered.
  • Wash and dry 4 ripe mangoes. Using a sharp knife, cut the mangoes lengthwise alongside the pit. Scoop out the flesh, and cut the remaining flesh from the pit. Put in a blender along with one cup of the simple syrup and 3 tbls of lime juice. Puree until smooth. Pour into an ice tray with spherical compartments (Gourmac.com), put the lid on, and wrap with rubber bands to tightly close it. Freeze overnight.
  • Mix 75% cocoa butter with a 25% white chocolate (Valhrona), and a little coconut milk powder if desired. Heat in the microwave, stirring occasionally, until just melted and a uniform consistency. If you don't like the color, add a little chocolate powder.
  • Put a plate in the freezer and remove the ice cube from the trays. Wearing latex gloves, roll them in your hands to smooth them out and return to the freezer (on the plate). When the cocoa butter/chocolate mixture is ready, start dipping the sorbet balls. Just drop them in, and take them out one at a time. The cocoa butter will set up immediately.
  • After dipping, let them thaw in the refrigerator, so that the sorbet melts but the cocoa butter/chocolate doesn’t.
  • Serve on a spoon, and instruct the guest to pop the entire ball into their mouth all at once. They will almost explode.

To complete the erotic dessert theme, you could try peeling and chilling (but don't freeze) a banana, into which you inserted a bamboo skewer. Dip the banana (all but the last inch) into the cocoa butter and white chocolate. Poke the bottom end of the skewer into something that would hold it upright -- perhaps a sliced raw potato? Put it into the fridge to chill the chocolate. Once chilled, and before serving, remove the skewer.

Soak coconut shavings in lukewarm coffee to stain them a dark brown.

Serve the banana, mango/chocolate balls, and the coconut shavings -- well, use your imagination.

I've served the mango/chocolate balls as a nice intermezzo, but haven't tried the banana. Let me know how it works out.

Happy Valentines Day!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That sounds great, Robert, but it's a different dessert. It also sounds harder, not easier. Hand-rolling to make smooth balls was one part of my process I'm trying to eliminate.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Couldn't you make/keep the base more liquid, and just drop it into the solution with, say, a turkey baster, or even a small ladle/portion scoop? Also, since you mention submerged the spheres to warm them, it sounds like rinsing them wouldn't be an issue, and direct spherification might be worth looking into, since any residual calcium chloride would be rinsed away.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Couldn't you make/keep the base more liquid, and just drop it into the solution with, say, a turkey baster, or even a small ladle/portion scoop?

This may be the simplest solution. I should probably try it before the others. The recipe could stay the same; it will be liquid enough when it's still warm.

Also, since you mention submerged the spheres to warm them, it sounds like rinsing them wouldn't be an issue, and direct spherification might be worth looking into, since any residual calcium chloride would be rinsed away.

Is this true? Does all the chloride get rinsed off? I thought spheres made this way would continue to thicken over time. Especially with ganache, since the cream must have some calcium in it.

If this isn't an issue I'll try standard spherification. If not I'm interested in other sources of calcium, like the lactate Tri 2 Cook mentioned.


Edited by paulraphael (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The spheres continuing to gel over time is an issue with the standard method but it may not be an issue in this case depending on the result you want. Johnny Iuzzini's Chocolate Donuts are just a sphered (or, in this case, donuted) ganache stabilized with methylcellulose (to avoid seperation when heated). He uses an alginate solution in the ganache and a calcium gluconate bath. They're frozen in the mini savarin molds, dropped in the bath, breaded with panko and chilled in the fridge until ready to fry. After frying, they're crispy on the outside and warm and creamy on the inside. They are not approaching a liquid-state that will burst from the gel skin when bitten though. I haven't tried it but I'm pretty sure the reverse method and dropping the methylcellulose would allow for that. The ganache softens in the fryer but the gelling from the methylcellulose and the alginate don't allow for a return to liquid.

Subbing lactate or lactate/gluconate does require some minor adjusting. The lactate doesn't have a taste I notice in all but the lightest of flavors but requires using more for a given recipe than the chloride. The gluconate doesn't have a taste in anything I've tried it in but requires even more than the lactate. The lactate/gluconate is a good balance if you're doing a lot of really lightly flavored projects, otherwise you'll probably be fine with the lactate.

Cheap and effective sphere molds... http://www.gourmac.c...ceballtray.html

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

. . . .

Also, since you mention submerged the spheres to warm them, it sounds like rinsing them wouldn't be an issue, and direct spherification might be worth looking into, since any residual calcium chloride would be rinsed away.

Is this true? Does all the chloride get rinsed off? I thought spheres made this way would continue to thicken over time. Especially with ganache, since the cream must have some calcium in it.

If this isn't an issue I'll try standard spherification. If not I'm interested in other sources of calcium, like the lactate Tri 2 Cook mentioned.

MC on direct spherification (4-186):

'Rinsing [with clear water] slows the gelling process and washes away any lingering flavors from the setting solution. Rinse the spheres at least twice. Remove with a perforated spoon. Optionally, heat to 85 °C / 185 °F for 10 min to stop further solidification. Store the spheres in water or oil until needed.'

I don't speak from experience, since I've only attempted reverse spherification, but my next effort in this direction is definitely going to involve direct spherification, since I'm hoping the results will be a bit sturdier.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was expecting that calcium in the milk and cream would be enough for the reverse spherification (100 gr chocolate, 100 gr 35% fat cream and 100 gr milk), but it did not form and gel at all in the 7% alginate solution. Is it possible that chocolate reacts with the calcium in the milk/cream so there is none or little left for the spherification?

Any recommendations for the amount of lactate or lactate/gluconate?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I estimate that there's just over 110mg calcium in this recipe from the cream, which wouldn't be enough. I did some calculations and came up with the following:

175g heavy cream

30g liqueur

15g sugar

9g calcium gluconate-lactate

1g salt

100g dark chocolate, chopped

This is assuming the mixture sold as gluconate-lactate is 50:50. This brings the total calcium to just below where it was with the chloride recipe (I didn't even take the cream into account when I worked it out before).

I'll see how making spheres from liquid ganache goes. If I flub that, then I'll try the freezer molds. Thanks for all the great advice.


Edited by paulraphael (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Similar Content

    • By Rho
       
      The space race trickled into kitchens in the 60s and 70s, including one curious tool that's faded away in the years since: the thermal pin, a heat pipe skewer that can halve cooking times for roasts:

       
      Heat pipes are thermal superconductors, transferring heat 500-1000 times more effectively than solid copper (some people in the sous vide thread have discussed copper pins). They're hollow tubes with the air evacuated and a small amount of working fluid, often water. The usable temperature range is limited by the triple point and the critical point, with additional constraints near the edges. Water is effective from 20C-280C /70F-530F, which comfortably spans most cooking temperatures.
       
      Modernist Bread has an excellent section on how bread bakes, including a diagram of the internal heat pipes that develop, summarized here. (click for a good photo!)
       
      Sous-vide solves the overcooking side of the gradient problem, but it's still limited by total heat diffusion time-- doubling the size of a cut quadruples the time needed for the center to reach temperature. Heat pipe pins should make larger cuts practical, or normal cuts cook faster. Here's a graph from "The heat pipe and its potential for enhancing the cooking and cooling of meat joints", showing average temperatures over time for 1kg joints of meat convection baked at 190C/375F for 110 minutes (foil removed for the last 30 minutes):

       
      Thermal pins were sold commercially from 1956 to about 1990. They're listed occasionally for about $20 on ebay. They even made potato baking racks with heat pipes-- though now you can easily par-cook a potato in the microwave and finish it in the oven.
       
      I don't know why production of thermal pins stopped, or what fundamental problems limited their usage. It seems like pans and commercial griddles would be improved by adding heat pipes to spread heat throughout and avoid hot or cold spots. Perhaps roasts fell out of favor as the culture of entertaining shifted away from monolithic centerpieces to smaller, more precisely cooked portions.
    • By anonymouse
      I've been working with the Boiron purée recipe tables (chocolate and PdF, ice cream) - some good successes.  However the document is very terse and I wondered whether anyone who is experienced with these formulae might clarify what the expected result is:
       
      - "Fruit ganaches" and "Fruit and caramel ganaches".  I think these are supposed to produce a ganache for cutting and enrobing, although when I tried it came out far too soft to be dipped???
       
      - "Ganaches to be combined with fruit pastes" - I think these are to be layered above PdF and enrobed - is that right?
       
      - "Chocolate molded sweets" - Are these intended to be served as is, ie moulded without a layer of couverture going into the mould first? However the instructions talk about pouring into a frame.
       
      - "Fruity delight" - looks like a fairly light dessert to go into a parfait glass.  Has anyone done these and how do they turn out?  How do they compare to the sabayon-based ones in the Boiron ice cream book?
       
      I'm going to start working through some of the ice creams next week and it will be interesting to see how these turn out.
       
      Thanks for any advice.
       
    • By anonymouse
      As a newbie here I thought, before piling in with my own questions, I'd pull together some of the things I've learned in my first months of chocolate making - in case this helps others who embark on the same path.  
       
      Many of these learnings came from eGullet, some from elsewhere, and I'm very grateful for all the many sources of experience and insight.  Cooking technique is quite personal so of course not everyone will agree with my idiosyncratic list of course.
       
      Most useful equipment so far
       
      Cooking isn't really about the equipment - you can make fine chocolates with hardly any equipment - but here are the things which have helped me the most.
       
      1. Small tempering machine.  This got me started on chocolate making with a superb easy path.  The ChocoVision Rev 2B (with the "holey baffle" which increases its capacity) just gets the tempering perfect every time.  Yes, I could temper in the microwave or on a slab, but it's great to take away any uncertainty about the final finish, by using this great machine.  Downsides: continuously noisy, doesn't have the capacity for large batches.
       
      2. Plenty of silicon baking mats (Silpat clones).  I use these not just for ganache and inverting moulds onto, but also just to keep the kitchen clean!  Working at home, I create a lot of mess and found I could reduce the risk of divorce by spreading large sheets (60x40cm size) across the work surface.  So much easier to clean, and I can scrape unused chocolate back into the supply for next time.  
      I get mine directly from China through AliExpress where they are about 1/3 of the local price.  Then, for a further cost saving I ordered a couple of sheets of stainless steel at exactly the same 40x30 size, from a hobbyist place, and stuck some rubber feet underneath. The silicon mat + steel sheet can then easily be carried to the cool room. I got metal bars made up by another hobbyist place (an eGullet suggestion) which was a cheap alternative to caramel bars.
       
      3. Scrapers.  Life got better when I stopped trying to scrape moulds with a regular palette knife.  I found we had two Japanese okomoniyaki spatulas from Japanese cooking which were perfect!
       
      4. Polycarbonate moulds.  Again in order to afford a bunch of these, I get them from China via AliExpress where they are £5-£7 each (including shipping) rather than £18 (+£10 shipping) locally.  If I were starting again I'd buy little squares and half-spheres first, because these are easy to decorate with transfer sheets and cocoa butter respectively; plus a bar mould for quickly using up some extra chocolate or making a snack for the family.  Magnetic moulds are not in my view essential for the beginner because you can just apply the transfers manually - but they are very easy to use.
       
      5. Hot air gun - little Bosch paint stripper from Amazon.  Always kept to hand to sort out anything which crystallises too quickly in the bowl or on my equipment.
       
      6. Fancy packaging.  We got some little boxes in bright colours with silver lining - great to turn your experiments into gifts. Quite expensive because you have to buy quantities, but worth it we felt.
       
      If I were working at scale I think my top 5 would also include a vibrating table, but that's beyond my means.

      Best sources of learning so far (apart from eGullet of course)
       
      1. Callebaut website - fabulous range of videos showing how a master does the basic techniques.  Also Keylink (harder to find on their website - look in "knowledge bank") which is refreshingly straightforward.
       
      2. Several books recommended on this forum.  Once I got past the basics, I delved into two masterpieces: Wybauw ("The Ultimate Fine Chocolates", a revised compilation of his previous books) and Greweling ("Chocolates and Confections"). These are just awe inspiring.

      Most useful ingredients so far
       
      1. Callebaut couverture "callets" in 2.5kg bags - quick to measure, easy to re-seal.  Everyone should start with 811 and 823, the "standards" ... but I soon moved to more exotic flavours.  Current favourites are Cacao Barry Alunga (rich milk), Callebaut Velvet (white but not as cloying as the usual one; lovely mouthfeel), and half a dozen Cocoa Barry dark chocolates which go with particular ingredients.
       
      2. Boiron frozen fruit purees. These are just amazing.  I struggled with lots of different approaches to fruit flavouring until I discovered these.  The problem is that most liquid purees have a short life span and are quite expensive if you only need a little quantity - whereas the Boiron ones just live in a neat, stackable tub in the freezer.  Grab a flavour, pop it out onto a chopping board, slice off what you need, return the rest to the freezer.  And the range is fabulous.  So far I've particularly enjoyed raspberry, passion fruit, kalamansi (wow!) blackcurrant, and Morello cherry.  (I'm experimenting with banana but most banana chocolate recipes seem to need caramel which I don't find so easy to perfect.)
       
      3. IBC "Power Flowers" so I can mix my own coloured white chocolate with a wide palette of colours, for brushing or piping into moulds as decoration.  Quite tricky to scale down to the tiny amounts I need, but I found this far better than heating little bottles of cocoa butter and being restricted to the colours I had.
       
      4. Marc de Champagne 60% - great for truffles.  My supplier sends it in a little chemical bottle which is a little un-champagne-like, but never mind.  Rose drops (oil-based) were also useful for truffles if you like that sort of thing.

      Suggestions for learners (aka things I wish I had got right)
       
      1. Start learning in winter.  There is a HUGE amount of cooling needed in chocolate making; once we had cold weather we could close off a room, turn off its heating, and create a cool room.  Made a big difference to productivity (and quality!).
       
      2. Don't do anything involving caramel, marshmallows, turkish delight, or other temperature-critical sugar work until you are confident with everything else - or you will get demoralised quickly.  Or maybe I'm just rubbish at these techniques.
       
      3. Learn simple decoration (cocoa butter colour, texture sheets etc) early on.  These make a big difference to how everyone will react to your work.
       
      4. Don't rush.  Chocolate making takes a lot of (elapsed) time.  Give things time to crystallise properly.  I find there is always an endless amount of cleaning-up to do while I wait :-)
       
       
    • By philie
      Hey there, i hope to find some help in the wise hands of yours. after some research i am still having some problems concerning glazing:
       
      For a party i would like to make some cubes and rounded savoury cakes and foams out of silicone forms that have a ready bottom and a colour glazing. 
      Somehow i just do not manage to find a steady glazing ( one that does not run ) and is for texture reasons preferably hard or crisp that does not include sugar or syrup.
       
      can you help me or lead my way in a certain direction?
       
      thanks very much!
    • By JohnT
      I have heard over the years of bakers using beetroot in chocolate cakes to "enrich" them. I have never done this and I am not too fond of beetroot in its various forms (a childhood "thing"). However, I have been requested to bake a chocolate cake using "beetroot juice" in the recipe - the person requesting the cake even supplied me with the recipe!
       
      Right, this is a first time for me doing this and I need to make a sample cake to make sure it results in an edible cake. The recipe calls for 250ml (a metric cup) beetroot juice. So my question is, how would I produce a cup of this beetroot juice? Just wiz a few raw beets in a blender and strain out the juice? Do I boil the beets first or use them raw? Ignorance is sometimes bliss - but sometimes not.
       
      Help with this dilemma would be appreciated for this beet ignorant sod in "Darkest Africa".
      John.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×