Christmas Chocolates
Russell Degnan

Bereft of present ideas for certain family members I went on a minor chocolate spree just before Christmas, generously gifted a string of 20 degree days by the Melbourne weather, Those curious about temperature and chocolate should watch the video below, where it is magnificently explained from the 50th minute (the entire series of lectures is brilliant, if you have a spare 80 hours or so).

Five flavours were chosen. Because they are basically the same I'll run through them quickly.

Pistachio, Cranberry and Brandy Truffles
Pecan, Ginger and Rum Truffles

450g Dark chocolate
60g Glucose syrup
180g Cream
20g Butter (softened)

Sufficient dry Ingredients and 30ml liqueur

1. Combine cream and glucose syrup and bring to boil.
2. Pour over chocolate in heat proof bowl, let sit for a few minutes then stir from inside out to create ganache.
3. Split into two parts, adding dry ingredients, butter and liqueur to each and mix in without over-agitating.
4. Pour mixtures onto plastic wrap enclose and leave for several hours.
5. When cool, disgorge from wrap and agitate (briefly) until firm enough to roll.
6. Using hands, roll into small balls and leave overnight.
7. Dip in dark chocolate (for the pistachio and cranberry truffles, grate some nutmeg onto top.

Simple, fast. Truffles aren't complicated nor terribly time consuming, and it is nice to be able to do several flavours more or less simultaneously.

White Chocolate Coffee Truffles

250g White chocolate
20g Glucose syrup
15g Cocoa Butter
50g Cream
5g Butter (softened)
10ml Black coffee, reduced to syrup.
20ml Kahlua

Follow recipe as above, cocoa butter combined with white chocolate, dipping in milk chocolate.

The hard part of this recipe is that white chocolate is hard to work with, melts at different temperatures, ends up thicker, and the ganache needs a lot more agitation before it can be rolled. The thicker the coffee is the better because it needs to overcome the otherwise sickly sweetness of the white chocolate. Feedback was positive though.

Tomato Chocolates

As here, without the mulberry molasses.

The lack of molasses changed the flavour but not to its detriment. It still doesn't have a strong tomato flavour, for good or ill (probably good), with most people likening it to a very odd turkish delight.

Banana and Mango Fondant Chocolates

For the fondant
500g Sugar
100g Glucose syrup
100g Water

1. Combine the ingredients in saucepan and bring to boil, stirring. Continue cooking to 117 degrees.
2. Pour onto marble slab (lightly splashed with cold water), sprinkle more water on the top, then leave to cool to 50 degrees.
3. Agitate until it turns into a short-textured mass. Wrap in plastic wrap and leave.

For the jam

1/2 Banana (large)
1/2 Mango
250g Sugar
50ml Water
20ml Kirsch
10ml Lemon juice
Pinch Cinnamon

1. Put banana, mango, water and sugar in saucepan and cook to 106 degrees, stirring occasionally. Lower heat and reduce water as much as possible.
2. Add Kirsch, lemon juice and cinnamon and put aside.

For the chocolates

1. Melt fondant in heat-proof bowl over water bath to 70 degrees.
2. Mix in jam thoroughly, and set in moulds.
3. Set in fridge - several hours.
4. Dislodge fondant centres, cut to size and dip in dark chocolate.

Far and away the most complex, not least because I was: a) making it up somewhat, though the basics for the fondant and jam were taken from Chocolate and Confections and Mes Confitures; and b) because I'd not made a fondant before, and the sugar kept creeping down the uneven slope of my benchtop and off my under-sized marble board. The fruit puree is added later, because the acid can prevent crystalisation, but I had no issue getting thick centres, and might have easily used the fondant immediately rather than leaving overnight to ripen. The taste was good, without being anything special. But several hours of dipping - nay tempering for dipping - and having a house smell like the 4kg of chocolate I went through for a week might have jaded me to the taste somewhat.

The main trouble for me remains the process of dipping, which takes forever and requires constant concerns over tempering and thickness. If I could fashion a faster and more consistent method of dipping in large quantities it would halve the time to make them. Something to ponder in the new year.

Finer Things 1st January, 2014 22:42:29   [#]