Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Gianduja with handmade placed decorations

Gianduja is tricky business for gianduja beginners. It lures you in with "I'm so easy" and then makes you work for it. Work for it I did, and after some struggle I met with success: cashew giandjua (a combination of cashew butter and milk chocolate) covered in perfectly tempered semisweet chocolate (it looks a bit matte here but that's just the lighting. Honest.) and topped with little moon-shaped handmade white chocolate placements.

I started with 350 grams of milk chocolate and 200 grams or so of cashew butter, melted both and mixed them together, then dunked a teaspoon and did a taste test. Nicely balanced nut and butter flavors and textures. Also: Yummy. So I poured the mass onto my slab and moved it around with my spatulas until it started thickening up a bit. Then I did a quick test. It didn't set up. Pooh. So I increased the chocolate by a 150 grams and tempered it on the slab, which took forever because of the fat from the cashew butter. By that time was ready for dinner so I said "screw it," threw the tempered mass into the rulers on the slab and let it set. A couple of hours later I came back to a slab that was so sturdy I could have built a little house on top of it. It was nothing you'd want to cover in semisweet and bite into. I muttered curses, covered the thing up with plastic wrap, and left it overnight to sleep by itself and think about what it had done wrong.

The next morning I melted it down with 100 grams more cashew butter, tempered it again on the slab, put it back into the rulers, and let it set while I worked. The result: Perfectly smooth gianduja that was also firm enough to cut, enrobe, and then top with my little moons and discs (see previous post). The third out of five efforts for my final assignment can now be marked as satisfied. Additional note: I topped a finished gianduja with some cinnamon and tried it out. Tasty! I'll add this variation to my next recipe.

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