Chocolates today are changing to become all good things, healthy and organic.
Like love, chocolate is bitter and sweet, but always by your side in good times and bad; so treat yourself and your loved ones this Valentine Day to something rich, dark and perfectly smooth...
Jo Brand, English comedian, writer, presenter and actress once famously said, “Anything is good if it’s made of chocolate.” With chocolates going the artisanal route and conscientious makers taking chocolate seriously, it would be hard to debate this comment. And considering it is Valentine month, chocolates mean much more and are certainly the flavour of the season.
Good Vibes Only
Chocolates today are changing to become all good things, healthy and organic. The focus is on how the chocolate is grown and hence concepts like single origin chocolates that focus on the plantation where the cacao is grown is becoming important. There are several artisan chocolate brands that pride themselves on making gourmet chocolate by hand using slow techniques and are free of preservatives. Jerson Fernandes, Executive Chef, Novotel Goa Dona Sylvia explains, “Today’s generation has accepted chocolates to be a life saver, with various flavours and healthier versions of chocolates available right from organic to 90% dark, extra cocoa and the like it is also readily available in stores and online. Consumers have taken cognizance of the very fact that chocolate is healthy and easy to use hence you would find it in almost every dessert recipe. It is a welcome change to see chocolates taking centre stage in the buffets and menus of almost all restaurants and hotels thanks to the awareness generated by chefs and travellers.’” Neelabh Sahay, Executive Chef, Novotel Kolkata Hotel & Residences avers, ‘“Commercial chocolate bars, products are not pure chocolate. It has a lot of additives which are in the form of sugars and artificial flavourings and colour. The informed consumer has changed the market dynamics of chocolates and now the market if full of 70%-80% dark chocolate.”
The key factor when eating chocolate is to ensure that you opt for dark chocolate that typically contains 70% or higher cocoa content. A study in the Journal of Nutrition found that eating a small amount of chocolate could reduce your risk of heart disease. The recommended ‘dose’ is approximately 1 to 2 ounces or 30-60 grams according to experts and anything more means that you may be consuming too many calories. Dark chocolate that has more cocoa is believed to be a powerful source of antioxidants prevents memory decline, aphrodisiac and is also rich in nutrients. Chocolate is made from Theobroma cacao tree seeds and dark chocolates contain good saturated and monounsaturated fats with small amounts of polyunsaturated fat. The polyphenols, flavanols and catechins in dark chocolates work as excellent antioxidants too. Controlled studies have shown that dark chocolates can also raise good cholesterol and improve blood pressure apart from lowering the risk of heart disease and improving brain function. Artisan chocolates are also mostly organic and use free trade cocoa beans. Choose a chocolate that lists cocoa as its first ingredient and you are likely picking up a good bar. Also, chocolates have taken a leap of faith with new variants that have ingredients like sea salt caramel, black sesame, Himalayan Pink Salt, rosemary, blueberries, red capsicum and chilli which is ensuring that they are the go to dessert as far as making a sweet choice is concerned.
Textures of Love
Hazelnut chocolate mousse with praline courtesy Jerson Fernandes, Executive Chef, Novotel Goa Dona Sylvia
150ml pouring cream
3 large egg yolks
50g castor sugar
75g glucose powder
250g dark chocolate (85 per cent cocoa), chopped
150g gianduja chocolate, chopped
350ml cream, whipped
Chocolate Easter eggs, to serve
Dark cocoa, to dust
For hazelnut praline
270g castor sugar
In a small pot, bring the pouring cream and milk to a simmer. Take off the heat. Whisk the egg yolks, sugar and glucose together in a large bowl then slowly whisk in the hot milk. Return to a clean pot and cook over a low heat, while stirring, until slightly thickened. Take off the heat and leave to cool for one minute. Tip all the chocolate into the liquid at once and stir until dissolved. Allow to cool to room temperature then fold through the whipped cream until combined and pour into pots or glasses. Chill until set.
Preheat the oven to 150C fan-forced or 170C conventional. Spread the hazelnuts out on a baking tray and roast until the nuts are lightly golden, about six minutes — the nuts need to be warm when they go into the caramel so do this immediately before adding or roast them ahead and warm them quickly in the oven if they have cooled down.
In a medium saucepan, mix the sugar with 30 milli liters of water, bring to the boil and cook to a medium to dark caramel. Tip the warm nuts into the caramel, stirring to thoroughly coat. Tip the mix out on to a sheet of baking paper and set aside to cool. Crush the praline in a mortar.
When ready to serve, break chocolate eggs into large shards and arrange on top of the set chocolate, dust with dark cocoa and sprinkle with crushed praline. Leftover praline will keep well in an airtight container. Garnish with dollop of fresh cream and micro greens.
Chocolate Noir Mascarpone Ice Cream
Courtesy Pluck, Pullman New Delhi Aerocity
For the Dark Chocolate Mousse
Callebaut dark 70% -125gm
Heavy cream 250 gms
Whipped cream 500 gms
Bring heavy cream to simmer in a pot add dark chocolate into it. Once it cools down to room temp mix whipped cream into it.
For the Chocolate Crumble
Coco powder 100 gms
Almond powder 50 gms
All-purpose flour 100 gms
Unsalted Butter 100 gms
Brown sugar 100 gms
Preheat oven to 180°C. Cream butter, sugar and honey. Combine remaining ingredients in a separate bowl and fold into creamed butter until smooth. Roll out between two sheet of parchment paper to 1/8-inch thicker and bake until golden and firm. Cool completely and grind to crumble.
For Mascarpone Ice Cream
Mascarpone cheese 250gm
Fresh cream 260gm
Stabilizer powder 10gm
Milk Powder 20gms
Egg yolk 6 no
Lemon Zest from 1 lemon
Vanilla Beans from 1 pod
Scale all the ingredients as per the desired batch. Combine the milk, cream and 2 tablespoons of the sugar in a medium saucepan over low heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. In the meantime, combine the egg yolks, milk powder stabilizer and remaining sugar in a bowl and whip with a hand mixer till fluffy. Once the milk mixture has come to a simmer, add 1 cup of the warm milk into the egg mixture. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining milk and cook over medium-low heat. Pull the saucepan off the heat and whisk in the mascarpone, lemon zest and vanilla beans. Strain the mixture in a bowl and let it chill. Now, process the ice cream in an ice cream maker for 20 minutes.
For the Microsoft Sponge
Whole egg 1no
Egg yolk 1no
Whisk whole egg, egg yolk and sugar together till soft peak and flour and mix it gently. Pour in paper cup and microwave for 60 seconds.
For the Chocolate shell
Dark chocolate 300gm
Coco butter 20gm
Melt chocolate and coco butter on double boiler. Cut transparent OHP sheet into 4*2.5" dimension. Take a brush and apply chocolate evenly. Make a half circle of it and leave to set.
Squeeze two small dollops on plate and place chocolate shell on it and press gently. Fill couple of chocolate mousse dollops into shell. Break micro sponge into small pieces and place it. Spoon out chocolate crumble next to chocolate shell. Scoop mascarpone ice-cream quenelle and gently place on crumble and then garnish.
Vanilla Cremeux Bar
Courtesy Ruby Islam, Pastry Chef, Fabelle, ITC Windsor
Single Origin 70% Saint - Domingue chocolate, with strong cocoa notes, paired with light Madagascar Vanilla Cream, fortified with a rich almond- hazelnut crunch.
Cocoa Pain De Genes
Weigh 1120 gms of whole eggs in a bowl and allow to stand in room temperature for 10-12 minutes.
Warm 984 gms of almond paste (marzipan 1:1 :: Icing sugar: almond ratio, Brand: zeelandia) until soft and pliable.
In a planetary mixer 10 kg capacity, with a paddle attachment, cream marzipan with 184 gms of castor sugar.
Add only 1 egg at a time to ensure there are no lumps. After adding all the eggs, change from paddle to whisk attachment and make the mix light.
Melt 320g unsalted butter and 200g of 84% Ghana dark chocolate.
Sieve 100g cocoa powder+ 208 g refined flour+ 16 g baking powder together in a bowl.
To the sponge mix, fold in flour mix and chocolate mix in three parts starting and ending with flour.
Divide batter into 4 baking trays size 60cm x 40cm, Bake at 220°C for 4-6 mins (must be cooked, soft and moist) Wrap and store in the deep freezer.
Vanilla Bean Cream
Bloom 6 g of imported gelatine leaves in a bowl of ice water.
In a 3 ltr saucepan, bring 180 g of elle et vire 35%cream + 180 g of 3% milk to a boil with 5 g of vanilla bean scrapped in.
Mix 80 g of castor sugar+150g of egg yolks well in a bowl. Temper by adding the hot milk+cream mixture into the yolk mix. Strain in sauce pan.
On induction cooktec setting 5, cool the anglaise to 80°C using a spatula.
Strain and stir in the gelatine leaves into the anglaise. Blend with 50 g of chopped unsalted butter. (butter is blended when the mix reached 32°C.)
Pour into Vanilla Cremeux bar molds 2 mm below the rim: yields 4 molds=20 portions.
The remaining is poured onto the sour cherry confit, weighing 20 gms each. Yield: 10 black forest inserts.
Almond Hazelnut Crunch
Melt 185 gms of chopped Fabelle 70% St Domingue Chocolate. Weigh 319 gms of Hazelnut- almond praline paste.
Mix all three and temper on a marble table top, to 22°C. Store in a cool dry place (ideally 22 °C.)
To use: sheet between two silpats in a dough sheeter at 3. Cut to shapes.
70% St Domingue Single Origin Chocolate mousse
In a 3 ltr saucepan, bring 125 g of 3%milk + 125 g of elle & vire 35% cream to a boil.
Mix 50 g of egg yolk and 25 g of castor sugar well ensuring no lumps. Temper milk+ cream mix into the egg+ sugar mix, strain and add back into the sauce pan off the flame. On a cooktec induction setting 5, cook the anglaise to 80°C using only a spatula.
Finely chop 375 g 70% St Domingue dark chocolate. Pour anglaise into chopped chocolate, allow to stand for 2 minutes. Mix with an exo glass spatula and blend using a baumix electric hand blender. Temperature of the mix should be between 45-54°C.
Lastly fold 450 gms of 35% elle et vire semi whipped cream into the chocolate anglaise.
This recipe makes 2.5 Gel 04 molds= 14 portions.
Milk Chocolate Gold Glaze
Soak 14 g of gelatine sheets in a bowl of cold water until soft.
In a 3 ltr sauce pan, add 135 g of hot bottled mineral water+157 g of Castor sugar to make a sugar syrup
On the induction cooktec setting 6, allow all the sugar to dissolve and make a clear sugar syrup. Add 261 g of liquid glucose and bring to just 1 boil.
Then mix 157 g of neutral glaze, 2 g of Gold luster dust, 2 g lemon yellow powder. Mix well.
To the above made sugar syrup add the coloured mix of neutral glaze, add 250g 33% Ghana Milk chocolate, 50g of 67% Madagascar dark chocolate, 14 g of soaked and strained gelatine sheets…. Blend with a hand blender to a smooth mix ensuring no bubbles. The milk chocolate gold glaze is ready. Store refrigerated
Assembly of Vanilla Cremeux bar: The entremets is assembled in a mold called the Gel 04 mold by Silkomart.
Line the inner surface of the stone mold with 70% Chocolate mousse
Press the vanilla insert after demolding from the mold, into the mousse, ensuring the inserts doesn't touch the inner surface of the mold
Apply a layer of mousse over the inserts
Next press down the rectangular shaped hazelnut crunch
Apply a layer of mousse over the crunch
Cut Cocoa Pain de Gene in a rectangular shape to form dessert base. Should not rise more than 2 mm above rim of mold.
Clean the sides and freeze in the blast freezer at for at least 2 hours
De mold the dessert after removing from the blast freezer and place on a glazing rack which has been covered with cling wrap
Melt the Ghana gold glaze to 35°C and pour over the entremets to cover it evenly
Garnish with one chocolate disc- 3.5 cm diameter on the centre and cover the base of the entremets on both sides with chopped almond bits.
This needs to be served at 6 - 8 °C