People always ask me how did I become a chocolatier and when did it happen? Actually my obsession with chocolate started when my husband went to Medical School in New York City. We were walking down Madison Ave upper East side one beautiful afternoon we came across La Maison du Chocolat there and it was just absolutely beautiful. I still remember the smell of chocolate passing thru that door and looked at heavenly display with disbelief that chocolates can be so beautiful. They were chic and stylish and every single piece of truffle was carefully made and presented. Now when I looked at the price of the truffle, I was shocked because they were so expensive but worth every penny, the truffle just melt in my mouth with amazing aroma of the cocoa bean. I also realized that I really enjoy seeing repetitive patterns and when I see all the truffles all presented in an orderly fashion it just gave me a sense of peace. After the visit, I was thinking to myself that I can totally make these chocolates and from there I dreamed about going to Paris and getting trained to become a chocolatier, years after I attended L'ecole du grand chocolat at Valrhona in Tain L'Hermitage and Lenotre in Plaisir France.
Here is the recipe that I considered to be the perfect ganache:
60 ml of Heavy Whipping Cream (at least 36% fat recommended)
160 g (2.11 oz) of high quality dark chocolate (chopped into little pieces or use chips)
1tsp of Honey or Inverted Sugar (Trimoline)
- Heat the whipping cream and honey to just before boiling (when you start to see little bubble on the side of the pan
- Add Chocolate to the heated cream, now swirl the cream around the chocolate until the cream covers the whole content of the chocolate
- Leave the mixture for a few minutes and then start stirring until all the chocolate melted into the cream
- The ganache should be smooth and shinny at this point and it should resemble a pudding consistency
- Now the ganache is done
- Line a small square container with food plastic wrap (this is very important because this is the only way to take the cool ganache out of the container after it is hardened) then pour the prepared ganache into the container.
- Tap the container a few times to make sure there is no bubble forming in the ganache then leave it for 24 to 36 hours in a cool dark place to harden
- After the ganache is cured and hardened
- Lift out the plastic wrap and cut ganache into small one inch square
- Now you are ready to dip the square ganache into tempered chocolate (please refer to Tempered Chocolate Section below for how to temper chocolate)
- Dip one at a time with a dipping fork
- After lifting the ganache from the tempered chocolate slowly tap off excess chocolate and place each piece on a wax paper
- You can then put decorations on the truffles with powdered spice, transfer sheets, or textured sheets
- Leave truffle to room temperature and remove transfer sheets if using and they are ready to be stored away or served
- Truffles should have about 4-8 weeks of shelf life and should be store in a cool dark and dry area but not in the fridge
When do you know to peel off transfer sheets or the textured sheets? When you touch the top and it feels hard then you just try to peel off a little bit to see if the designs had transferred and if not, let it alone to cool off completely. Remember that transfer sheets will only work when chocolate is correctly tempered.
It is very important to temper chocolate correctly in order for the chocolates to give a shinny and crisp texture. It is especially important when you are trying to enrobe a piece of truffle that will be decorated with transfer sheets or textured sheets as the designs will not transfer if the chocolate is not tempered.
Tempering small volume of chocolates
Normally it is much easier to temper a big volume of chocolate because it will maintain the working temperature much longer but for homemade chocolates often we only need a small amount to work a small batch and this method I am teaching you will work with smaller amount.
This method is called the 2/3 and 1/3 method
Think of this as ratio so if you start with 120grams of dark chocolate chips
You take 2/3 of 120gram which is 80 grams and melt it to about 100 to 110 degree. I like to do this in a microwave for about one min, then I add in the remaining 1/3 of the chocolates which is 40 grams and start to stir constantly. The chocolates will now start to thicken a bit as it cools ( this procedure is called seeding ) we want the chocolate to cool down to 86 degree. When it hits 86 degrees you should take out all the unmelted chips, then reheat about 3 seconds at a time to get it up to about 88-89 degree. Now the chocolate should be tempered and ready for enrobing.
While we are dipping our truffles or anything else, it is crucial to keep the tempered chocolates at 88-89 degrees (this is called the working temperature) and this is the hardest to do because as we dip our truffles the chocolate will decrease in temperature and thicken so in the best way to keep it at target temperature, you can either put it in the microwave for 2 seconds at a time and re check the temperature as it cools down. Or another way is to keep a little heating pad turn on to a very low temperature underneath the bowl of the tempered chocolates but either way, it is not easy to do but after you have practice enough, you will get a sense of how tempered chocolate is supposed to look like or feel like and also get a good sense of the texture. Practice makes perfect =)
To test if chocolate is tempered just dip a spoon or a tip of a knife into the chocolate and the chocolate should hardened within a minute or so. If not then the chocolate is not tempered correctly.
* It is important to not let chocolates to fall below 86 degree because if it
does the chocolates is now too thick and will have to re tempered from the
beginning in order to use again! So remember to keep chocolates at about 88-89 degree at all times.