Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Fall chocolate line-up

I've never understood why some chocolatiers refer to their seasonal offerings as a "collection", as if it they were designers of chocolate... I think I like that term, purely for ridicule purposes. I like to call it what it is: chocolates for the fall.

This is what they are, from top to bottom:


Mexican Chocolate

Candied apple


Coconut Gianduja (solid)

Marzipan and Elderflower liquor

Black truffle

Crispy hazelnut

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

100th posting: Black sugar

Well, here is the 100th posting. I am not sure if it means anything more than that, but it is certainly a milestone of sorts.

Anyway, we had a special event recently for a few visitors from Barcelona, in which we were unsure what to serve. The first thought was crema Catalana, a custard flavored with cinnamon and citrus zest. Sometimes it is coated in sugar and then caramelized. The problem was that it had to be made ahead of time and it had to sit for awhile, so how could we have caramelized sugar stay crisp? The solution was to make edible sugar squares and place them on top of the custard (which was covered in a light sheet of cream, barely gelled. The square itself is made of fondant, granulated sugar, and a little isomalt. But it is clear as water even when cooked to the correct temperature. So I thought to brush it with vegetable ash, which adds nothing but a very dramatic effect. Black and white.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Sameness Pt.2


As with my first posting on the craft of sameness, this is another display of beautiful, simple, great execution. I allow myself to use these terms, because I was not alone in producing the items in the video above. My whole staff participated in one way or another. It's comforting to have people who can do that. Sameness, blessed sameness.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Cappuccino chocolate bar (or, using espresso beans to make "chocolate")

Bryan G., one of my pastry sous, had the notion that it was in fact possible to make "chocolate" using coffee beans. So of course it cannot be considered chocolate in the strict technical sense, but the result would be chocolate-like. After all, the nature of the coffee bean and the cacao bean are similar, and they go trough a similar process (drying, fermenting, toasting, etc.) before they are used for what they are intended. This is what brought the idea about.

The method was to make the "chocolate" exactly the same way it would be made if cacao beans were being used.
The final texture and consistency were identical to chocolate. Except it tasted as if you were drinking a quintuple espresso in one shot.

At the end of the day we had to combine it with another house made chocolate (the Cote d'Ivoire) to make it palatable. At this point, it only made sense to make it a mocha themed bar, or cappuccino, which made the selection for the filling obvious: white chocolate, since it contains the largest proportion of milk solids of any chocolate. We didn't just make a white chocolate ganache, we made the bubble chocolate using the whipper and nitrogen charges. This would give the chocolate and aerated look and feel, meant to emulate the foam in a cappuccino. I know, clever huh?