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Saturday, April 18, 2009

Tempered Chocolate Pomponettes

It's the Weekend and it's time to learn a new decorating technique. I often find myself planning all sorts of decorations but then when it comes to meeting a posting deadline, I just don't have time to practice. So, this weekend I experimented with Tempering Chocolate.

I had 14 oz. of Valhrona Bittersweet in my freezer, left over from a challenge, so I got that out and chopped it into small pieces with a chocolate chopper.

- Following instructions from one of a number of recipes for tempered chocolate, I set aside 2 oz. as the "seed" and slowly melted 12 oz. in a double boiler. The water must get very hot but not boil.

- Then stirred until Temp. rose to over 105 degrees F. Removed the pan of melted chocolate and stirred it slowly with a wooden spoon until the temp. lowered to 88-90 degrees F.

-Added the 2 oz. of cold chocolate and stirred slowly and constantly until almost cool. Set aside.

[After I'd finished, naturally I discovered an Epicurious
u-tube demo on how to temper chocolate - it's the best I've checked out so far, sufficiently detailed and requiring an additional process of allowing the chocolate to heat up again. This is what I will use next time.]

My brilliant idea was to pour the tempered chocolate into the tuile templates I had purchased for our Daring Bakers Tuile Challenge this past January - not too smart. I ended up with a paper-thin mess of chocolate that was too brittle to get off the baking tray without breaking into pieces! So much for that. Now I had a lot of very expensive tempered chocolate I did not know what to do with.

The "Tempering Fairies" gave me a nudge and reminded me of a Lekue silicone pomponette pan hidden somewhere in my closet. I found it and poured the chocolate into the pan and froze it. So cute, quite delicious, and much smoother and harder than untempered chocolate. It's a great technique - now if I dip shortbread or madeleines or whatever in chocolate, it's not going to be sticky and melty like untempered chocolate. It has a firm, quite hard texture.

But I have much to learn yet - would like to make all sorts of shapes, and take a shot at some of those chocolate circles and wiggles one sees on gourmet cakes. I would welcome advice and tips from other bloggers.

Next weekend? Maybe candied citrus.