Good afternoon! The last installment on chocolate will be a discussion of uses, methods and applications. Basically any kind of decorative chocolate work, be it show pieces, candies or plated desserts, require the use of tempered chocolate. This was discussed on Monday, previous to that we discussed the history and making of craft chocolate from seed to workable product. At this point, we will look at the basics of showpiece work methods, a few decorating ideas for plates, and the fundamentals of candy work.
Take tempered chocolate and pour over upturned baking sheet. Using an icing knife spread chocolate evenly over baking sheet, about 6mm (1/4″) thick.
Let chocolate cool for a few minutes at room temperature, do not artificially cool (fridge/freezer). When chocolate has cooled, take icing knife at 45o angle and scrape chocolate from baking sheet. If chocolate crumbles and does not curl the chocolate has become too cold and needs to be reapplied to baking sheet. If chocolate smears along baking sheet then it is too warm and needs to cool slightly before attempting.
Gently apply pressure to baking sheet and use smooth fluid movements to create chocolate curls. Not all scrapes will produce perfect curls, patience is key. Any undesirable curls can be placed back into bain-maire for remelting.
Place curls onto wax or parchment paper.
GANACHE FILLED CHOCOLATES
To prepare these filled chocolates, you will need a few things. A mold of some kind, be creative, just make sure its non stick and a bite size shape. tempered chocolate, basic ganache filling, flavoured or not. A offset spatula, small sheet pan and parchment paper.
While you wait for the ganache to cool, prepare the molds. If you have only one mold, you will have to repeat this process multiple times until all of your candies are formed. If you have multiple molds, you can do this all in one batch. Melt the candy coating, or take the tempered chocolate, and spoon some into each cavity in the mold, so that the cavities are entirely filled.
Wait about a minute, then flip the mold upside down over a piece of waxed paper or parchment paper. The excess chocolate will drip down onto the paper. Swirl it slightly to encourage the chocolate to drip down. The chocolate on the paper can later be scraped off and re-melted to be used again.
Take a chef’s knife, an offset spatula, or a bench scraper, and run it across the top of the mold, removing any excess chocolate from the top. This will make your finished truffles neater.
Let the chocolate mold harden at room temperature, or if your ganache is ready to use immediately, place the mold in the refrigerator to quickly set it for about 10 minutes.
Once set, spoon or pipe the ganache into your molds, filling each cavity 3/4 full. Tap the molds on the counter to release any air bubbles. Refrigerate the molds to firm up the ganache, for about 30 to 45 minutes. It needs to be firm enough so that when you put warm melted chocolate on top of it, it will hold its shape and not melt into the chocolate.
Once the ganache is chilled and firm, re-melt the coating or re-temper the chocolate and spoon some melted chocolate on top of each cavity, spreading it to the edges so the ganache is completely sealed in.
Scrape off the excess again with your knife or bench scraper, until the chocolate layer is completely flat with the top of the mold.
Allow the chocolates to completely set at room temperature or in the refrigerator, then turn the mold upside-down and gently tap them out of the mold. If necessary, take a sharp paring knife to trim off any jagged edges or excess chocolate.
CHOCOLATE SHOWPIECE WORK
As this is a very advanced topic, I won’t go into to much detail here. Rather, I will share a basic technique that can be used in countless ways. Modeling Chocolate.
Also known as Chocolate Plastique, versatile and easy to make! A basic formula is used of 2 parts chocolate to 1 part glucose or light corn syrup. melt them together over a bain marie, and cool refrigerated. Once cooled, you need to bring it to a working, malleable consistancy. From here you can mold it, shape it, roll it and cut it…….etc. Read on below the image for steps to make chocolate roses.
- Begin by kneading your chocolate plastic until it is smooth and supple. If you are using white chocolate plastic, knead it in powdered sugar, and if you are using milk or dark chocolate plastic, knead it in unsweetened cocoa powder. If the plastic is too hard to knead, microwave it in five-second intervals just until it becomes pliable. Do not microwave it too long, or it will be too soft to work with.
- Dust your work surface and a rolling pin with powdered sugar or cocoa powder, and roll the chocolate plastic out into a very thin layer, less than 1/8” thick. If you are working with a large amount of chocolate plastic, you might want to divide it in half and roll it out in batches.
- Use a small round cutter to cut circles from the plastic. For one full-sized rose, you will need nine circles, and for rosebuds, you will need 4-5. The size of the circle cutter determines the size of your finished rose. A 1.5” cutter will yield a full-sized rose that is approximately 3” wide.
- Begin by forming the center of your rose: take one of the cut circles and roll it into a cylinder. Leave a small hole at the top of the cylinder, and a larger hole at the bottom.
- Take another circle, and use your fingers to flatten one end of it until it is paper-thin. This will be the top of the petal, and it helps give the rose a more delicate look. Wrap your petal around the cylinder, making the top of the petal level with the top of the cylinder, pressing it at the bottom to adhere the chocolate plastic.
- Thin out the edge of another circle to add a second petal to your blossoming rose. The trick to getting a lifelike rose is to slip the second petal underneath the edge of the first one. Add a third petal whose edge starts just under the second one to complete the first layer of petals. If you want to make a rosebud, your flower is now complete. To make a full rose, continue to the next step.
- Use the remaining five petals to add a second layer to the rose, thinning the top edges as before, and sliding the edge of each new petal under the previous one as with the first layer. Curl the outer petals back slightly to make your rose bloom. Pinch off any extra plastic at the base of the flower, and re-roll it with the plastic scraps to create more roses.
- Allow the roses to sit at room temperature and dry for 24 hours. Once set, they can be stored in an airtight container indefinitely.
Chocolate work, beyond being a pastry cook, takes years to master. Especially if your goal is to produce the results in the first image at the top of the post. If you would like more information on this subject, or anything pastry related, join me in my “FREE” cooking & baking program! Just register for a free membership, or if you prefer to get access to all my content on this site, one of the very reasonable paid options. Included in the GOLD membership will be access to the second year ADVANCED CULINARY & PASTRY ARTS PROGRAM. Feel free to call me 613-922-9168, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information! Cheers!