Tonight, old man, you did it!
You did it! You did it! You said that you would do it,
And indeed you did. I thought that you would rue it;
I doubted you’d do it. But now I must admit it
That succeed you did. You should get a medal
Or be even made a knight……
You Did It from My Fair Lady
When I am in the kitchen, I expect things to work out. When they don’t, I am a bit put out, to say the least, and so, I try and try again.
Those who are regulars on this blog know that I am very fond of cumquats, particularly glacéd cumquats. In fact, I love all glacéd citrus and can think of nothing better than glacéd citrus coated in dark chocolate. I have been glacéing cumquats for several years now and thought it would be a simple task of dipping them in chocolate and enjoying the fruits of my labour. But, alas, I was wrong, very wrong. My chocolates had unsightly chocolate bloom.
I started reading the lovely Celia’s Fig Jam and Lime Cordial blog and the penny dropped. Celia is the queen of chocolate. I noticed she did something called tempering to her chocolate before she moulded it. Remember the grand final of the first series of Masterchef when Julie Goodwin beat Poh because Julie’s chocolate was perfectly tempered whereas Poh’s wasn’t? Ok, now we are on the same page.
I started reading about this chocolate tempering business. It didn’t sound too hard: melt the chocolate until it reaches a certain temperature then cool it until it reaches another and then Bob’s your uncle… or so I thought.
Well, let me tell you, it ain’t that easy. It appears that chocolate is very touchy, one could even say it has a temper 😀 Each year, I would eat my glacéd cumquats coated in chocolate bloom and yearn of nice shiny chocolates like Celia’s.
Yesterday, it was raining so I couldn’t go outdoors. My mind turned to the packet of Callebaut 811 Dark Chocolate callets I bought when I was in Sydney last year. I will try again, I thought.
Maus (aka the hoarder) had kept the linings of some boxes of chocolates. I decided to pour the chocolate into them and then put a piece of glacéd cumquat, an almond or brazil nut into each cavity. This year, my thoughts were on merely tempering the chocolate correctly. I decided coating the cumquats was just a little too ambitious.
And, as fate would have it, the very day that I was in the kitchen trying to temper chocolate, Celia posted a detailed tutorial on tempering and how she does it.
I used a different technique to Celia’s but followed all the previous advice she had given me and advice I had read:
- do not have any water anywhere near the chocolate (this includes the use of a wooden spoon because they can hold moisture);
- don’t rush things – heat the chocolate very gently; and
- Celia’s tip: once the chocolate is tempered, you have to maintain the temperature, otherwise, the chocolate will go out of temper.
This is what I did:
- Measure out 400g of dark chocolate challets. Put 100g in one bowl and 300g in another.
- Put about 2.5 centimetres of hot water in a pot and bring it to a very gentle simmer.
- Put double boiler or heat proof bowl over the saucepan, making sure no steam can escape from the pot.
- Put the 300g of challets in the double boiler.
- Stir the chocolate until it is melted and the temperature is 48°C (45°C for milk chocolate).
- Once the temperature is reached, take the double boiler off heat and put it over something cold. I put it on a freezer pack covered with a tea towel.
- Add the 100g of saved challets and stir until all the chocolate is melted.
- Check the temperature – keep stirring until chocolate reaches 32°C (30°C for milk chocolate).
- Now this is the hard part. You have to maintain this temperature whilst you mould your chocolate. On Celia’s advice, I sat the chocolate on a Shin Bio heat pack. Celia also mentions you could use a heated wheat pack.
- As quickly as possible, pour your chocolate into your moulds.
Celia advised me today that you only have about 5 minutes to mould your chocolate. Celia said she gets her husband, Pete, to help at this critical time. The first ones I did were great but, towards the end, they weren’t so good. Next time, I will take Celia’s advice and have Maus at hand.
Of course, I am addicted. I am off to see where I can get chocolate challets in Perth.