Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Chocolate Class: Two Molded Chocolates

Our final lab was working with chocolate molds. You may have seen the flimsy thin plastic molds sold at crafts stores. We did not use those. Professional molds are hard, durable polycarbonate plastic. They are designed to get beat on the table to level fillings, and remove air bubbles.

The procedure is simple but exacting. The molds are filled with tempered chocolate. The chocolate is emptied out, and the chocolate allowed to harden. It is then filled with whatever relatively fluid ganache you want, leaving just enough space to add a thin layer of chocolate, the 'foot', to seal it. Once the foot sets, the chocolate can be unmolded.

The trick is to fill and empty the mold quickly, to get a thin shell with no air bubbles. Keeping the top of the mold clean and free of excess chocolate is a must.

We made two different fillings. The first was the white chocolate vanilla lemon ganache we made previouslyintending to dip, but that did not set up thick enough. It has a strong vanilla taste, but more lemon on the nose. It had a good consistency, but was a little sticky getting it into the piping bag. It did pipe just fine, however.

By way of decoration, my lab partner splattered the mold with some tempered milk chocolate. This produced a marbled effect that I think looks very nice.

I like the contrast between the filling and the shell. The white chocolate filling is sweet compared to the shell, but the strong lemon and vanilla flavor cuts the sweetness some.

The other filling was a caramel milk chocolate hazelnut ganache. I really liked this one. Of course, you had me at caramel. We started by making a thin caramel, pouring it over the milk chocolate, blending everything together, then finishing by adding a little hazelnut liqueur.

This filling has a luscious mouth feel. Very smooth, and a little thinner than the lemon vanilla ganache.

For decoration, I painted one thin diagonal stripe of tempered milk chocolate. I wanted to keep it simple and elegant.

In some ways, making molded chocolates is both easier and more difficult than hand rolling or dipping. It is certainly faster to produce large quantities of chocolates. It is more exacting, however. While variation in the product is part of the charm of hand rolled truffles, molded chocolates are expected to be perfect, and without flaws. Bubbles, cracks, blooms, or thick or uneven shells are not acceptable.

All recipes courtesy of Chef James Foran.


Vanilla Lemon Ganache

5.4 oz. cream
1 Tbsp. corn syrup
½ vanilla bean
zest of 1 lemon
8 oz. by wt. white chocolate

Line an 8" x 8" pan with plastic wrap.

Split and scrape vanilla bean.

In a small heavy saucepan over medium heat,  combine cream, corn syrup, vanilla bean and scrapings, and zest. Bring just to a boil. Remove from heat, let stand 5 minutes. Return to heat, bring back just to a boil.

Strain liquid into chocolate. Let stand two minutes.

Whisk to combine. When smooth, Pour into pan. Allow to cool. When thick, transfer to a pastry bag.

Caramel Mill Chocolate Hazelnut Ganache

13.5 oz. Milk chocolate – chopped fine
¾ oz. Cocoa butter
3 ¾ oz. sugar
1 ½ oz. water
9 oz. Cream
¾ oz. Corn syrup
½ tsp. Salt
1 ½ oz. butter – soft
1 ½ Tbsp. hazelnut liqueur

In a bowl, combine chocolate and cocoa butter, set aside.

In a small heavy saucepan over medium to medium high heat, dissolve sugar in water. Cook to a medium amber color. Remove from heat. Add cream carefully, in three stages, while continuously whisking.

When well combined, add corn syrup and salt. Return to heat, bring to a boil.

Pour over chocolate, let stand two minutes.  Whisk together until smooth. Add butter, whisk until smooth. Add liqueur, whisk until smooth. Allow to set until thick enough to pipe.

Happy Eating!

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