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Posts Tagged ‘chocolate’

 

Unbalanced and under~seasoned desserts:  A sweet dessert is not always a good dessert. Sweet is a taste, not a flavor, that sometimes needs to be balanced with salt or acid if one is expected to keep eating… and enjoying.

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During the course of my research, I come across interesting tidbits that don’t always fit into the course of my writing. This doesn’t make them any less worthy of sharing so I am posting these randomly interesting links into a section titled “Pastry Round-Up”. 

(Opusculum) How to Make Chocolate: written by renowned pastry chef and creative director of ICE, Michael Laiskonis, this post explores the botany and science of chocolate, from its humble origins to the complex manufacturing process that transforms the bitter astringent bean into a prized and flavorful confection. After reading this article, you will start to unlearn the notion of an all-purpose chocolate and appreciate the flavor nuances (as well as the price differential) between chocolates of varying origins.

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Pastry Trends 2016

Food trends are a funny phenomenon. While some trends seem spectacularly silly in retrospect (hello, bone broth and paleo diets!), other trends, like organic food, morph into staples of our culinary conversation and help us connect to the food world at large. Food trends can fundamentally change the way we eat. I couldn’t buy coconut and corn flour at the supermarket if gluten-free foods hadn’t been one of the top food trends of recent years. Unfortunately, food trends are not tied to taste.  I’ve suffered through the proliferation of overpriced, dry cupcakes and Cronut wannabes simply because they were well, trendy.

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“Panettone, the Italian part-bread, part-cake monstrosity that is…inevitably on sale for a knock-down price right up until spring…tastes like Gandhi’s flip-flop after three months in the desert.” –Julie Bindel

A most unfortunate description of the Italian Christmas bread that relegates it to the lowly ranks of American fruitcake and German stollen—stale, dry and with little flavor. I had no trouble finding recipes on the Internet for panettone  puddings, panettone French toast, panettone trifle, and panettone stuffing but I had to rummage through my collection of baking textbooks to find a legit recipe for the actual bread. Its lengthy mixing process and convoluted preparation seems to have dampened the public’s enthusiasm for this celebratory bread as most people now purchase their panettone from a store or bakery. Truthfully, traditional panettone is a bread that I would only bust out on special occasions so for this non-traditional chocolate panettone, I adapted a recipe for a chocolate-cherry sourdough. Much of the success in this recipe hinges on using good ingredients: dark cocoa powder, rich milk chocolate, organic, unbleached bread flour and a well-cultured sourdough starter.
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Pliable Ganache with White-Chocolate Coffee Roulade, Dulcey Cremeux, Cocoa Nib, and Elderflower-Pistachio Jelly. Pastry Chef: Charmaine McFarlane

Pliable Ganache with White-Chocolate Coffee Roulade, Dulcey Cremeux, Cocoa Nib, and Elderflower-Pistachio Jelly. Pastry Chef: Charmaine McFarlane

Flexi-chocolate is also known as pliable ganache or pliable chocolate. (Pliable chocolate is not the same as modeling chocolate, a blend of chocolate and glucose syrup that is also referred to as plastic chocolate.) Texturally, this ganache feels like a creamy chocolate gel but melts readily in the mouth. Like many modern culinary techniques, pliable chocolate has been around for a decade with its earliest popular reference published in the Alinea cookbook. The technique has gained traction among pastry chefs who take a modernist approach to plated desserts as its creamy but firm texture has an elasticity that allows it to bend into any shape. This elasticity is one reason that I prefer this style of ganache in mousse-based entremets because it slices cleanly without having to temper to room temperature.

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Chocolate Mousse with Chestnut Dacquoise, Cocoa Nibs, and Chestnut Honey Gelato

Chocolate Mousse with Chestnut Dacquoise, Cocoa Nibs, and Chestnut Honey Gelato

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