Tempering Chocolate – The Easy Way

Chocolate is one of the best things in the world. I don’t know anyone who hates chocolate or simply dislikes it. People love different types of chocolate or chocolate in different forms. Chocolate gives us happiness, gives us satisfaction, gives us a happy high. I can keep raving about chocolate but what I really want to tell today – that is on the World Chocolate Day that chocolate is something that helps us through thick and thin like literally when you are upset you eat chocolate, when you are happy you eat chocolate. At least that is with me because I am an emotional eater. Leaving my disorders aside and coming back to chocolate. Chocolate is great to eat but complicated to work with. It is such a versatile ingredient but Chocolate in its pure form is very moody. Or rather it easily gets affected by things like temperature, humidity, water and more. So even if this is a widely written topic, I would like to share my experience on it, because I will be writing on how to temper chocolate in hot and humid weather and most importantly at HOME.

Storage: Firstly depending on what part of India you are in, it is going be hot and worse it is going to be humid. Mumbai is both – hot and humid. So if you want to work with chocolate at home, it is a bit challenging. I will stress on the fact that you will need an air conditioner. You do, there is no option. Mainly because when you see international websites and videos, they mention “keep chocolate at room temperature” their room temperature is 22 C and our room temperature is 30 C. So hence the complication begins. But I would strongly advise not to keep the chocolate in the refrigerator. NO. The reason simply being temperature change especially massive temperature change is not good for chocolate. And condensation after removing the chocolate from the fridge is going to make things worse. My suggestion: After opening the packet of the chocolate, wrap it with plastic wrap and store it in a cool place at (our) room temperature.

Types of Chocolate: There are two types of Chocolate – Couverture and Compound. Couverture is high quality chocolate which contains cocoa butter as its fat content. This is the chocolate to use if making chocolates, truffles or rather anything. I absolutely recommend couverture because of the quality, taste and finish. The result tempered couverture chocolate gives is this shiny chocolate with the perfect crack in it. Compound is a cheaper quality of chocolate, the fat used in the chocolate is vegetable oil and not cocoa butter. It is definitely easier to work with. But lacks the quality, taste and finish. If you are buying your chocolate for a cheap price it is probably because it is compound. I really want to stress on the fact that if you are making chocolates or using chocolate for baked goods, please buy good quality chocolate. You will realize the difference in taste, texture and quality once you start using a good quality chocolate. The brand I prefer and probably the best pastry chefs in the world swear by and which is available in India is Callebaut. I will say that the price is probably a little on the higher side but if like me and many others you prefer quality over quantity then you know Callebaut is the right choice. Always check the ingredients list on back of the packet to see what type of chocolate you are buying. If the fat content says cocoa butter it is couverture and if it says vegetable oil or any other type of fat it is compound.

Tempering:  If you see Wikipedia on tempering chocolate, ” Chocolate tempering, a method of increasing the shine and durability of chocolate couverture” Tempering chocolate is one of the vitally important things to do if you are making chocolates, truffles, bonbon, chocolate decorations or more. It is also one of the complicated techniques to do. Chocolate when made, it is made in the ideal temperature. Every type of molecule is perfectly aligned and chocolate is in its perfect form. But then comes the transporting, the storing, the buying and the getting it home part. All these changes, changes the look of the chocolate. So to get back the perfect form we need to temper it. Tempering is melting the fat crystals in the chocolate, and then rearranging it back by adding stabilized fat crystals into it. Hence stabilizing it altogether, which gets us the chocolate back in its perfect form.

Basic idea is – melt your chocolate hence melting the fat crystals, lower the temperature, add stabilized fat crystals and set it – and it is done. Now there are various ways to do it – machine, seeding, tabling, adding cocoa butter and probably more. Machine does the traditional way of melting the chocolate max at 45 C, lowering the temperature till 22 C and then increasing it till 31 C by doing so it forms the stabilized fat crystals. Machine is obviously not the choice here, nor is  seeding and tabling. Seeding and tabling is when you melt chocolate and then add already tempered chocolate which can either be from your packet or if you have a tempered chocolate because it will contain the stabilized fat crystals which will stabilize the remaining one. But as I mentioned before because of the different temperature changes that chocolate goes through from various stages from packaging and buying, even though its tempered it doesn’t remain the same. Especially in India where temperature varies from region to region. So the fool proof method of tempering is adding cocoa butter.

I use Callebaut Mycyro Butter. It is simple, it is easy and it WORKS!

Adding Cocoa Butter: Melt your chocolate by not exceeding more than 45 C for dark and 42 C for milk and white. I use the microwave by giving it 10 seconds bursts. After every ten seconds I keep giving it a good stir. Please don’t go beyond 45 C or else you will burn your chocolate. After your chocolate is melted, go to your room where air conditioner is switched on at 21 C. Keep slowly stirring the chocolate till it reaches 31 C. Do not over stir or you will crystallize the chocolate. Once the chocolate hits 31 C. Add 1% of cocoa butter of your total chocolate weight. For example if you are melting 1 kg of chocolate use 10 grams of Mycryo. Stir till it melts and is incorporated.

Do the test: Take a parchment paper or back of a spoon and dip it in the chocolate. If it sets in 5 minutes with a sheen on it. You have done it! The chocolate is tempered. Now use the chocolate as desired.

Remember always set your chocolates in an air conditioned room between 21 – 22 C. Do not set it in the refrigerator as it when stored in (our) room temperature it will soften and form condensation. When set in an air conditioned room it will stay normal when stored in (our) room temperature.

If you want to see a video tutorial: http://www.callebaut.com/en-US/chocolate-video/technique/tempering

If it works for you, then join the club. If not, don’t loose hope. Keep trying, till you get it right. I have tried all the techniques numerous times till I finally found the right one. I suggest you do the same.

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Desi Apple Pie

Okay it has been a while since I posted anything. Well there are two reasons one I am just being plain lazy, second when I am not lazy I am busy baking. So it has been a nice week where I have just been in an almost hibernating state and then suddenly worked crazy for 24 hours. But before this week ends I want to post this yummy recipe which I happened to make two weeks back when the weather was amazing. But the weather is still not that bad. So before the winter totally leaves us I give you guys my recipe for Desi Apple Pie.

Desi Apple Pie… I know – what exactly is “desi” in the apple pie ? Well lets just say with just me and my sister in the house  – hungry and feeling cold from the lovely Mumbai winter. We were talking about food obviously and crying over how we were craving McDonald’s Apple Pie ( which I have no idea why they discontinued ). But anyways as the Apple Pie craving was set, we needed to eat Apple Pie. So hence I entered the kitchen with a new enthusiasm to cook something similar to an Apple Pie.

Ingredients –

2 Medium size Apples – peeled and chopped.

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

4 tablespoon brown sugar

1/2 cup water

Juice of half a Lemon

Leftover Roti Dough

Oil for frying

Caster Sugar for garnishing.

Yes Roti Dough. Left over roti dough will be seen in all the Indian houses. This is my secret ingredient and this will make the apple pie “desi”

Method –

Apple Mixture

Apple Mixture

Take a saucepan and add the chopped and peeled apples, cinnamon, brown sugar, lemon juice and water. Cook it for 20 minutes or till the apples are soft and the water is evaporated.

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Till then take the left over roti dough and roll it very thin. Take a round cookie cutter or a steel bowl with a sharp edge and cut circles.

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After the apples are cooked. Take a teaspoon or more of the apple mixture and put it on one side of the round cut dough. Turn the plain side over making it cover the apple mixture and turning it in to a semi circle pie. Press the edges with your hand.

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Heat a pan with oil in it. When the oil is hot enough put pies in the pan and fry till cooked.

In a plate sprinkle some caster sugar. When the pie is done put in on the sugar plate so the sugar can stick to the hot pie.

Serve immediately with some left over apple mixture or ice cream.

Desi Apple Pie

Desi Apple Pie

Apple Pie

Strawberry & Nutella Trifle

Strawberries are in the season. And as much as I can hog down all the possible strawberries in the house in one sitting. The baker aka pastry chef in me awakens and wants to try and make a dessert. Strawberry is the best fruit for desserts according to me. You can make anything and give it that fruit touch by adding strawberry on top or layering it in from mousses to cakes to trifles even chocolate !!!

So I tried something yesterday with three basic and very yummy ingredients. I really dont know what to call this dessert its more of a trifle than a strawberry and cream cup. But instead of cream I have used cream cheese to give it a rich and yummy taste. None the less as it was done and served it got over in 2 minutes !!!

Strawberry & Nutella Trifle

Strawberry & Nutella Trifle

Strawberry & Nutella Trifle

Makes 4 medium size Dessert Glass

Ingredients –

Minimum 500g Strawberries

1 packet Philadelphia Cream Cheese

4-5 tablespoon Icing Sugar

5-6 slices of Rusk

Nutella

Dessert Glasses

Method –

Mix the icing sugar with the cream cheese generously until full pasty. For easier mixing let the cream cheese get a bit soft before. If you want your cream cheese filling to be more sweet you can always add more sugar. As the cream cheese will be a bit runny after mixing you can put in the refrigerator for 1 hour or the freezer for 20 minutes.

Apply generous amount of Nutella on the rusk on all the sides. Break the rusk into 4-6 small pieces.

Chop the strawberries and save some whole strawberries for the topping later.

In the dessert glasses put the Nutella covered pieces of rusk. Then layer it with chopped strawberries and a tablespoon or more of cream cheese filling. Repeat it one more time. Keep tapping the glass a bit after every addition.

As the cream cheese filling should be on top. You can slice the saved strawberries and garnish it or else just put whole. Refrigerate till serving minimum 30 mins.

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas Sprinkles

So you are on Pinterest or Instagram checking Christmas themed cakes and cupcakes. You see these cute little cupcakes with Christmas theme sprinkles on top. You go online and you cant seem to find them. Well no worries cause we are making Christmas Sprinkles in the house !!! It is extremely easy if your slightly good with holding a piping bag in your hand and piping on a template…

The process is pretty much simple. What you need is –

– Template of Christmas tree, Gingerbread men, Candy Cane, Snow men etc

– Royal Icing made with meringue powder

– Disposable Piping bags

– Parchment Paper

– Tape

– Tray

– Scissors

– Jar/Container

– Food Coloring

First and foremost I strongly suggest Royal Icing made with meringue powder because then you can store these for a long time. If you will be using the sprinkles in 2-3 days then royal icing made with raw egg whites is fine.

The consistency of royal icing should be thick and smooth.

Now the amazing process

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First print the template.

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Then take a tray and turn it over. Take the template and parchment paper and put it on the tray, parchment paper being on top. Stick the parchment paper and template on the tray with the tape.

Now take some colored royal icing in a piping bag and just slightly cut a very small teeny tiny end of the bag with a scissor. See if the icing comes out. If you feel it is a very small hole and you need to put a lot of pressure to remove the icing. Cut some more but make sure it is a small cut.

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Now draw the figure with the help of the template on the parchment paper. After doing so let it dry for an hour or more.

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Open the tape and put a scissor below the parchment paper. Use the scissors edge and  move it left and right. Doing this will immediately pop the sprinkles from the parchment paper. Those which are still stuck you can remove them gently with your fingers.

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Store them in a cool place in a air tight glass jar / plastic container.

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Let me know how it goes 🙂