Sunday, January 11, 2009

Playing with Chocolate

This afternoon I offered a "Playing with Chocolate" workshop at our store. Especially coming out of the holiday baking spree, I feel very in tune with chocolate - an almost zenlike relationship with cacao so to speak. And so this workshop was my chance to infodump on six gracious participants.

We covered everything from basic ganache to miroire.

I promised the participants I would post the recipes and ratios here on the blog, so here they are...

First we did a traditional cream ganache. I take one part cream (by weight, although volume gets you close enough that you can adjust from there) and heat it in a microwave for about 90 seconds. I take it to just a simmer or scald, but not further. If 90 seconds is not long enough, give it another 30 seconds and repeat until you get there. Add 2 parts chocolate. In the session I did 100g cream and 200g chocolate. Let the chocolate sit for about 30 seconds, then start stirring with a spatula until the chips are gone. Then pick up the pace and emulsify. Before the chocolate cools too much, add a few dollops of butter if you want the extra sheen. This ganache is ideal for tarts (like the pic above), cake glazes or fillings, or brownie topping. It remains fairly soft unless you chill it, but at room temp it remains cuttable. You can play with ratios for different purposes. 1:3 will make a stiffer chocolate ganache. 1:1 will make thinner. Its chocolate - it will still taste good no matter what you do with it.

Next we played with water based ganaches. First we did just water, then tried a red wine, and finally lychee black tea. Put your chips in a bowl and then add boiling water to almost, but not quite, cover the chocolate. Work toward emulsification just like the cream based ganache. If the chips don't melt, as is often the case, toss in the microwave for 30 seconds and stir. This should be enough to do the trick. Once you've achieved the sheen, let it rest until its the desired consistency. If you are using it as a cake filling, pour while it still fluid. If you want to make truffles, then let it thicken. This ganache is a bit tougher to form into truffles, but knead it in the palm of your hand until it holds together. Remember that the key benefits to this are 1) vegan friendly, and 2) is true to the chocolate flavor. We all agreed that the wine and lychee black ganaches were outstanding. This is the ganache that we piped into the candied kumquats.

We took a slight divergence to chocolate soil. The soil recipe is:

250g (8oz) Sugar
250g (8oz) Almond flour
150g (5oz) All-purpose flour
100g (3.5oz) Unsweetened cocoa powder
5g (pinch) Salt
125g (4oz) Melted butter

Oven to 300F
Whisk dry ingredients together, add the melted butter, spread the mixture on silpat or parchment paper. Bake 15 minutes. Let cool, crumble, serve with meat, caramel based desserts, sprinkle on ice it by the handful.

Here's the final plating: Caramel Panna Cotta with Chocolate Soil and Bacon Powder.

Finally we did a poured mirror (miroir) glaze. Because of time we did the odd combination of rootbeer white chocolate miroir over pistachio cheesecake, but the more traditional recipe to keep is this:

120g (4.25oz) Heavy cream
145g (5oz) Water
160g (5.5oz) Sugar
60g (2oz) Cocoa powder
12g Gelatin sheet (6t. powdered gelatin)

Put gelatin in bowl with 1/4 C. water. Heat cream on stove top with water, sugar and cocoa. Stir until fully combined and cook on medium until steam starts to rise out of the pot. Add the gelatin blob and whisk until it is fully melted. If gel chunks remain, return the pot to the stove and heat on low, whisking until fully melted. Let sit until just tepid and pour on any frozen item. You can pour on a non-frozen item, but the effect is not as dramatic. For an example of my use of mirror glaze click HERE, HERE, HERE, and ,HERE'S an example of a white mirror that I marbled.

For my regular readers, one cool thing that happened here was regarding the kumquats. It is very hard to candy kumquat and not have them implode. You can read a fantastic tutorial on this process HERE on eGullet. But, we used the cream puff injector tip on our pastry bag and filled the collapsed kumquat with dark ganache, which in turn re-puffed the kumquat and made it beautiful and extra tasty. Good stuff.


Navita said...

ur blog is a haven of delish recipes....glad i stumbled upon it.

couldn't be happier to say "hi".

Vegetation said...

Mmmm I'm thinking chocolate soil would definitely go down by the handful around here! Not that everything you just posted wouldn't!

Christine said...

I need to come down there and take a class from you someday. ;) Especially since I missed the Chile Fest over Labor Day weekend.

Gfron1 said...

I'd love to have you come down sometime. I'm doing my next multi-course tasting dinner on Valentine's night. It will be all aphrodisiac foods.

Maurice said...

Tons of goodness on this site, especially the chocolate!

Looking forward to trying some of the recipes!