Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Mr. Humble bought me a new cook book! A lovely book on making artisan chocolates. I'm not sure if it was a 'gift' so much as payback for all the pastry I've been making him eat.
He knows I have a weakness for chocolates, one that I usually manage by keeping them out of the house and averting my eyes when I drive past a See's Candy store. Now I'm dealing with the discomfort of stifling the urge to go buy a 10lb block of chocolate because of this new book. One that would lead to a candy making spree and a brand new pants size.
Yea, this is most certainly some sort of payback.
So I've been reading this book and I really like it, not just for the recipes but for the technical information that makes up almost half of the total pages. The book sets you up with the know-how to create beautiful chocolates from your own flavor combinations. See why this is so troublesome for me? I can barely resist the urge to start inventing my own chocolates.
Anyway, I really like the book so I felt it deserved noting on the blog. It covers truffles, molded chocolates and the hand dipped variety. His recipes are modern (woo!) and sound delicious (salted caramel, raspberry-wasabi, ginger crunch). He illustrates several techniques to create, decorate and even how to make your own decorative transfer sheets (double woo!).
Also, he talks about how to avoid mold and spoilage in your truffles, something not discussed nearly enough in home candy making. If you're looking for a single book to get started in chocolate making, this one gets the Humble stamp of approval.
So I tried one of his recipes myself today. I had a surplus of white chocolate and plenty of plump vanilla beans so I selected his recipe for vanilla chocolates.
Each of the book's chocolate recipes have a rating, from easy to difficult. These vanilla truffles are marked easy and they really are. Best of all they're smooth, creamy and fragrant with vanilla.
Vanilla Bean Chocolates
from Making Artisan Chocolates
Yields roughly 28-30 chocolates
For the Chocolate Shells:
2 pounds (906g) 29 percent white chocolate, tempered
For the vanilla bean ganache:
6.5 ounces (182g) 29 percent white chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup (77g) heavy cream
2 vanilla beans, seeds reserved
1 1/2 tablespoons (21g) salted butter, cubed and soft but not melted
To finish the chocolates:
8 ounces (224g) 29 percent white chocolate
Fill the molds with the tempered white chocolate, giving them a gentle shake to ensure the chocolate is coating evenly. Dump the excess chocolate back into the bowl, giving the mold a few taps with a wooden spoon to help it along.
Lay out a sheet of parchment paper and lay the mold onto it upside down. Once the chocolate has begun to thicken and set, scrape the mold with a chef's knife to remove the excess chocolate.
Return the mold to the parchment and allow to set completely before filling with the ganache.
To make the ganache, place the chopped white chocolate into a heat safe bowl. Heat the cream and vanilla bean seeds over medium heat until it begins to simmer. Remove from heat and cover for 15 minutes so the vanilla can infuse the cream. Place the pan back on the stove and bring to a simmer once again. Immediately pour the cream through a fine sieve into the bowl with the chocolate and allow to stand for 2 minutes.
Stir the mixture until smooth. Allow to cool (about 95°F, still fluid enough to pipe but not so warm that it will melt the molded shells) and then fill a piping bag or plastic baggie with a cut corner and fill the molded shells three-quarters full. Gently tap the mold against the counter to release any air bubbles.
Allow the shells to sit for about 30-60 minutes, until the ganache has cooled and set up.
To finish the chocolates, ladle more of the white chocolate over the mold, scraping off the excess. Allow the chocolates to cool completely and harden before inverting and taping them out of their molds.
(Then eat most of the chocolates all by yourself and send Mr. Humble irate text messages 'thanking' him for the new book.)