Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Homemade Chocolate?

When it comes to homemade chocolate, people will either make rocky roads (e.g. mix nuts and chocolate together), chocolate coated fruit, solid chocolates (melt and fill up a mould with chocolate), or truffles (roll and dust). Not many will make moulded chocolates, which are chocolate shells filled with a ganache or mousse, because they are comparatively harder to make, and require more equipments too.

A couple of years ago, there was a craze between the Hong Kong food bloggers to make these moulded chocolates. They'll attend a workshop held by a famous Hong Kong chocolatier and blog about how thin and crisp the shells were, tempted me to find a recipe to make my own. But because the recipe came from the chocolatier, even if they blog about the course, they never mention the details.

After going through over 15 blogs, I managed to put the pieces together for making moulded chocolate at home:

1. Use good quality Dark Chocolate buttons, recommended Calebaut 65% or above (funny enough, they are being used in the UK mainly for Chocolate fountain, which I think is a bit of a waste really)

2. Use a food thermometer to keep an eye on the chocolate temperature. Chocolate becomes shiny and gives a loud snap when tempered correctly

3. You need to make quite a big portion of it to make your effort worthwhile, but the left over chocolate can be re-used as long as it's tempered correctly.

4. You'll need a ladle, a giant bowl, a chefs knife, a chocolate mould (silicon not recommended as it offends some chocolatier), and prepare your filling, kept in a piping bag, before hand

I grabbed everything (the chocolate beans were hardest to find, I wasn't prepared to buy 1kg of them for my first attempt) and was excited to try making my first homemade moulded chocolate.

It wasn't a bad attempt really, but I was absolutely flustered. First off, I couldn't keep the chocolate at the tempered temperature as I didn't have those machine (I think it's those keep warm chocolate fondue machine). I poured a layer of chocolate on the mould, waited a few secs before pouring the excess out again (to create the thin shell) almost spilling it everywhere.

Then I had to quickly scrape the chocolate off the top of the mould so the shells wont stick together and create an ugly edge. I waited for it to set and pipped in a hazelnut ganache in each of the shells. After that, I re-tempered the dark chocolate again and pour another layer on top (it became really heavy here) to seal the chocolate base.

Again, I had to quickly scrape off excess chocolate from the base before they became part of the chocolates. Now it's a matter of covering the chocolates with a chocolate transfer sheet (transferring pattern to the chocolate) and wait until it's set.

Then I realised, I have no idea how long it's gonna take to set. And should I put it in the fridge?

After a really long uncertain wait, I turned the mould upside down and whacked it against my kitchen table. I'm guessing that it wasn't set enough as I had to really whack it. Finally the chocolates went flying all over my table, a few smashed by the mould in the process.

Any that survived had a fine crack on the shell as they were really thin. Nonetheless, I was still very happy with the results. It provided me that satisfying crack when I cut through one, and its shinyyyy.

I emailed the chocolatier and he was kind enough to tell me that it takes 25 mins to set the chocolates in an industrial fridge, so it need to be longer than that in a normal household fridge. Ahhh...

This homemade moulded chocolate tasted great, but really a lot of work compare to others. The only reason why I'd prefer it over other type is that it doesn't need to stay in the fridge and it's better than solid chocolate.

One day. One day I'll make it again.