I have to admit that I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with chocolate. Not in the mad ‘I love it and can’t stop eating it’ Bridget Jones esque scenario but more in the ‘I can’t bring myself to love it sense’. I just don’t enjoy the sticky dry mouth that results from over indulging in milk chocolate and for this reason tend to stay pretty clear of it. On the flip side I do quite like dark chocolate, but it has to be very dark, very bitter and in very small quantities. For this reason, coupled with the fact that my average body temperature is somewhere in the realms of oh I don’t know, the central fires of mount doom, I’ve never really forayed into chocolate making or shaping. Equally pastry making has to be undertaken with a bowl of iced water to cool said hands down to prevent the kitchen from becoming coated in gooey, sticky mess. Seeing this as a pretty major failing I have decided to embark on a number of chocolate/pastry experiments, this being the first.
Disclaimer: I am in no way professing to be any sort of master chocolatier and have (according to the other half at least) woken up in the night and sleep-explained to him that I will never be a good pastry chef or chocolatier, because my hands are just too hot.
So with hot hands and TM at the ready I decided that I was going to try and make some pretty chocolate twirls and decorate them with flavoured cream, sorbet and fruit syrup. Simple enough she muses to herself. Simple ‘twas not.
Stage 1: Tempering.
Seemed simple enough following instructions courtesy of Thermomix and Beverley Dunkley, Head of the Barry Callebaut UK Chocolate Academy:
|800g Callebaut 811 chocolate callets|
|1. Weigh 450g Callebaut 811 chocolate callets into the TM bowl. Melt 7 minutes/50°C/Speed 1.
2. Test temperature of chocolate:
• if it reads over 40°C add 150g of 811 chocolate
• if it reads 39°C add 85g of 811 chocolate
• If it reads 38°C add 70g of 811 chocolate
3. Stir 2 minutes/Speed 1/Measuring Cup OFF.
4. Test chocolate by spreading 2 tsp on a piece of paper:
• If it sets in an environment of 19 to 21°C and has a shine, the chocolate has enough stable crystals and is ready to use.
• If it sets but is streaky, cool three minutes longer in the TM bowl with the TM lid off. Test: it should now have a shine.
• If it does not set, the chocolate needs more solid chocolate buttons melted into it gently, then re-test.
There used to be a shop near where I live that you could buy callets from but it closed a little while ago so I settled for using green and blacks (thankfully it was on offer!) Now this bit wasn’t too hard. Nice clear instructions and importantly very little contact with said chocolate.
Stage 2: trying to do something decorative with melted chocolate.
Fortunately the kitchen has granite worktops which, in theory, are nice and cool. Before getting ahead of myself and attempting wildly ambitious decorative art I settled with the idea of chocolate coating the counter and using a paint scraper to roll cigarillos of chocolate. Upon consultation of the internet I was advised to place said scraper at an 80-90 degree angle and apply firm pressure in a sweeping movement to gain desired ‘cigarillo’ effect. I think that this is one of those things that is going to take a reasonable amount of practice because 90% of my ‘cigarillo’s’ came out looking like flakes, still pretty, but not exactly what I had in mind.
Onwards and upwards she says to herself; regardless I shall try curved chocolate shapes. Again post internet consultation (and a couple of sticky messes on baking paper) acetate was obtained, scored and slavered with said tempered chocolate and left to set. This was somewhat more successful though I think that the pieces I made were too large owing to the richness of the chocolate. Pictures below. None of them are works of art but hey, at least I’m giving it a go and we all have to start somewhere!
On another note I added vanilla extract and stem ginger syrup to double cream and then lightly whipped it which was super delicious. More notes on chocolate attempting fun to come!