Tomato Chocolates
Russell Degnan

One of my favourite little cooking references is the Flavour Thesaurus which makes the point that tomatoes and strawberries are very similar (albeit with the former having little to no sugar), and even interchangeable. That led to a discussion, and then a challenge to make tomato flavoured chocolates, and hence the recipe below. The inverse - a strawberry pasta sauce will be tried shortly.

The basic method and theme is the same as in this recipe. create a jelly, set it, coat it. You can do a lot more with the coating than I do, but I was somewhat rushed.

Tomato jelly

400g Tin of diced tomatoes
150g Glucose syrup
500g Sugar

100g Water (washed through tomato tin)
20g Powdered gelatin

2 tsp Vanilla paste
2 tsp Mulberry molasses
1/2 tsp Cinnamon (ground)
1/2 tsp Nutmeg (ground)

50ml Galliano

1. Prepare a slice-tin (approximately 25cm x 20cm) by lining with baking paper.
2. Hydrate the gelatin with the water, and melt in a water bath.
3. Combine the tomatoes, glucose syrup, sugar, vanilla paste, mulberry molasses, connamon and nutmeg in a saucepan and cook to 120degC, stirring constantly.
4. Pour mixture into another bowl, allowing mixture to cool slightly then add gelatin mixture and Galliano.
5. Pour into slice-tin and refridgerate until set.

A standard jam recipe, and subject to change. I wanted to take the edge off the tomatoes because they have no sugar. This might have been overkill though, particularly the molasses, which had the side-effect of almost caramelising the jelly. Nevertheless, you can still taste the tomato if you know what you are looking for, and it turned out very tasty, but still slightly unusual, so the recipe is presented as done. Or at least, as I think it was done. I have no idea exactly how much spices and alcohol was poured in, but this is roughly right.

Slabbing and coating

As needed Dark Chocolate

1. Melt and temper a large amount of dark chocolate.
2. Coat the jelly side of the slab with chocolate. Let set.
3. Turn slab onto board, jelly side up, and cut into 1x2cm rectangles
4. Dip each piece in chocolate and allow to set

As before, easy but tedious, notwithstanding keeping the temperature at the right level on which I am still working out the best method for repeated flash heating and remelting.

Were I to do this recipe again I'd probably leave out the molasses, and maybe cut back on the vanilla. In general, when noone can guess the flavour, you've gone too far, and that is the case here. Just about every non-citric fruit in the spectrum was suggested before we got to tomato; so I'd like to retry with a slightly harder edge. It is possible the sugar is more than sufficient to make up for the lack of natural sugar, and the extra flavour isn't needed at all. On the other hand, the jelly is really nice, and offsets the dark chocolate perfectly, so it may not be an improvement if the next batch tastes more like a super-sweet chutney.

Finer Things 30th August, 2013 01:48:49   [#]