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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Nothing simple about chocolate

Selecting a chocolate for your dessert recipe used to be a simple matter. You would go to the supermarket and pick up a bar of baking chocolate. Pretty simple right.

These days, you have dozen of choices. Organic, fair trade, exotic origin and different percentages. And if you are a foodie or a chocolate connoisseur you will probably spend hours analyzing the cacao percentages and exotic origins of the chocolate. Let's not forget that the more exotic the origins the more you will pay for that chocolate. But does any of this really matter? Does spending more money get you a better quality chocolate? Is the flavor so worth it that you will spend the extra pennies? And will your choice of chocolate change your desserts results?


There are many variables that contribute in the quality and flavor of the chocolate. For instance type of bean, where it's grown, and when it's harvested; the length and conditions of fermentation; the roasting and grinding methods; and the quality and quantity of any additives (such as vanilla)—can contribute to differences in flavor and texture.

So take your favorite chocolate recipe and experiment with different brands and different origins. Keep a log and write down the difference that you notice even if they are very subtle.



The Crust

1 cup chocolate graham crackers (not chocolate-covered), finely ground (about 9 crackers)
tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
The Filling
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
6 oz bittersweet chocolate (not more than 65% cacao if marked), chopped

3 oz milk chocolate, chopped

large eggs
1 yolk
1 tablespoon unsalted butter 
teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
The Glaze
tablespoons heavy cream
1 3/4 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
teaspoon light corn syrup
tablespoon warm water 


You will need a 9 inch fluted tart pan (1 inch deep) with a removable bottom

To make the crustPreheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.

Stir together all ingredients and press evenly onto bottom and 3/4 inch up side of tart pan. Bake until firm, about 10 minutes. Cool on a rack 15 to 20 minutes.
To make the filling: Bring cream to a boil, then pour over chocolate in a bowl and let stand 5 minutes. Add butter. Gently stir until smooth. Whisk together eggs, vanilla, and salt in another bowl, then stir into melted chocolate. Pour filling into cooled crust. Bake until filling is set about 3 inches from edge but center is still wobbly, 20 to 25 minutes. (Center will continue to set as tart cools.) Cool completely in pan on rack, about 1 hour.  

To make the glaze: Bring cream to a boil and remove from heat. Stir in chocolate until smooth. Stir in corn syrup, then warm water.

Pour glaze onto tart, then tilt and rotate tart so glaze coats top evenly. Let stand until glaze is set, about 1 hour.

Note: The chocolates i used today are: 
Valrhona Chocolate - "Les Feves" Grand Cru Manjari 64%Cocoa is a blend of Criollos and Trinitarios cocoa beans from Madagascar. Very characteristic, fresh slightly acid chocolate taste, with intense hints of red fruits. Technical uses: pastry, chocolate fillings, moulding, couverture, icing. Made in France.

Valrhona Chocolate - "Les Feves"Orizaba Lactee"  Milk Chocolate 39 % Cocoa From a unique blend of Latin American cocoa beans, this “Mariage de Grands Crus” hides an exceptional character. Just like fresh high-mountain milk, ORIZABA LACTEE is delicately smooth before revealing deep and intense milky notes. Technical uses: Coating, molds, sauces, mousse, crémeux, ice cream and sorbet, decoration, glaze, chocolate bonbon filling.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


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