Lamington Chocolates
Russell Degnan

After distributing some truffles to work a couple of months ago, a colleague suggested they'd like some lamingtons for their birthday. I don't bake cakes though - I can, I just don't - but the concept intrigued me, so after some hunting around in Greweling's masterpiece Chocolates and Confections I endeavoured to bundle together a few recipes and create the closest thing: Lamington Chocolates.

Strawberry Jelly

300g Strawberries (chopped)
150g Glucose syrup
250g Sugar

100g Water
20g Powdered gelatin

5g Lemon Juice

1. Hydrate the gelatin with the water, and melt in a water bath.
2. Combine the strawberries, glucose syrup and sugar in a saucepan and cook to 135degC.
3. Pour mixture into another bowl, allowing mixture to cool to 120degC then add gelatin and lemon juice.
4 Put aside.

This is the jam part, obviously. It is a bit of a mismatch, and might do with some kirsch or similar. The general rules seems to be to have 1/3 water and 2/3 sugars and to cook to 106 to 135 degrees. Any jam recipe with the gelatin added will work as well.

I decided on a jelly instead of plain jam for two reasons. Firstly, the last time I made jellied chocolates I got significant moisture bloom. Although I suspect that was a tempering issue, I didn't want to risk it with a runny jam. Secondly, although I'd have liked to encase the jelly as in a lamington, I wasn't sure if that would be feasible - I am still not - so I included enough gelatin to not only set the jelly, but ensure it could support the weight of the nougat.

Soft Chocolate Nougat

60g White chocolate (melted)
50g Milk powder
20g Sugar

20g Fresh egg white (1 egg's worth)
20g Glucose syrup

240g Sugar
60g Water
270g Glucose Syrup

10g Vanilla paste

1. Melt chocolate and sift together milk powder and sugar.
2. Combine egg white and 20g glucose syrup in mixer with whip attachment. Do not begin mixing.
3. Combine sugar, water and 270g glucose syrup in a saucepan. Cook to 110degC.
4. Start mixer whipping on high. Continue cooking to 118degC.
5. Stream the hot syrup into the whipping whites. Continue whipping for approximately 8 minutes until mixture is cooled to 50degC or machine slows.
6. Add the vanilla. Remove the mixture from the machine and mix in melted chocolate, followed by sifted dry ingredients by hand.

Who knew nougat was so simple? This literally took 20 minutes. Nougat was the closest I could come up with for a cake-like centre. Soft chocolate nougat is normally brown (like in a Mars bar) but the white chocolate and milk powder kept it a white colour. A few of my pieces had slight leakage, which means it either needed less whipping, or more dry ingredients. It could probably have used more white chocolate too, as the flavour is delicate, and it came out very marshmallow like, rather than the slightly denser chocolate nougat I expected. There was nothing wrong with the flavour.

Slabbing and coating

As needed Dark Chocolate
As needed Shredded Coconut

1. Prepare a slice-tin (approximately 25cm x 20cm) by lining with baking paper.
2. Empty nougat into tin, press into corners and flatten.
3. Pour partially set strawberry jelly onto nougat and refridgerate.

4. Melt and temper a large amount of dark chocolate.
5. Coat the jelly side of the slab with chocolate. Let set.
6. Turn slab onto board, nougat side up, and cut into 1.5-2cm squares
7. Dip each square in chocolate, and immediately sprinkle a pinch of coconut on top.

This was the easy if tedious, part. Keeping the chocolate tempered is the difficult bit, but with practice I am starting to recognise when it needs a little heat, or re-tempering. I would have liked to put the jelly in the centre, as in an actual lamington. I think it is possible, but the nougat will need to be divided and rolled into shape, then layered on gently. I don't know if it is worth it. The book always indicates hundreds of pieces from this weight of ingredients, but I only got 88, and found it difficult to cut without a guitar. Alternative methods being considered. Still 88 pieces of chocolate is a lot, even when you give a lot away.

My jelly didn't turn out perfectly because the strawberries weren't cut sufficiently, and therefore weren't distributed very well. I have adjusted the recipe to include more fruit as the pieces with a large amount of fruit perfectly offset the nougat. The jelly only bits tasted a little fake, over-powered the nougat taste and the layers separated (sometimes during dipping). Nevertheless, these came out really well.

Finer Things 22nd November, 2012 07:07:47   [#]