Sunday, February 28, 2010
I broke a promise a couple of posts ago: I did not post the results of my butter ganache experiment. The reason I didn't do this is because the experiment tanked. Why I tried making a white chocolate ganache I can't tell you. I hate white chocolate and so does Bob. But all my chocolate-making reading got me fired up and I was convinced I could make an intense, fruity, zingy butter ganache out of white chocolate. I ended up garbage-disposalling a good pound and a half of white-peach and sweet basil butter ganache, which made my sink smell all fruity and delicious. I was black-hearted and mean-spirited over this development for a good half a day. Then I decided to try the same flavor idea but with a sugar system (fondant) as the base rather than a fat system (ganache). So I tried making peach-basil fondant using reduced peach puree infused with fresh basil. I got something that tasted very sweet but not so peachy. More candy down the garbage disposal. More mopey fuming. I'm now officially determined to create a peach-and-basil-centered chocolate of an intensity that will make people weep with gustatory joy. You watch me. I'll post about it when it happens.
Saturday, February 27, 2010
I started by heating up some heavy cream and stirring in coffee beans and split cardamom pods. I let that steep for about an hour and a half. While that was happening, I chopped milk chocolate (Peter's) for the ganache and semisweet chocolate (Callabaut) for the shell. Once the cream had infused long enough, I put it through a strainer and added enough whole milk to get it back up to the correct volume. I added a little glucose to inhibit excessive crystallization of the finished ganache, then heated the mixture to boiling, and poured it over the chopped milk chocolate, mixed until everything was nice and smooth, and poured it out into a hotel pan to cool. Next I lined up my decorative supplies: colored cocoa butter (green, black), lustre dust (mahogany), paint brushes. I chose the colors of the cocoa butter and lustre dust because I was hoping for a stone-like appearance for my chocolates. Not that stone has anything to do with coffee or with cardamom, but I'm supposed to be honing my coloring skills so what the hell. I heated up the cocoa butter colors in their squeeze containers, using small heat bursts in the microwave. Once it was just heated enough to be liquid I shook it well. Then I squirted some of the black onto a paper towel, seeing how narrow a line I could make. Argh. The line was more like a series of blobs. I tried again and got a very thick line. Not what I was looking for. I thought "Hm. If I squeeze firmly and move quickly, this might work," so I tried drawing a thin black line down the center of each depression in the mold. Gah! The result was far less than elegant. But it would have to do because I didn't have time to experiment with the air brush system I bought a couple of days ago.