Saturday, August 27, 2011

Daring Bakers: Strawberry Pâte de Fruit & Milk Chocolate-Passion Fruit Truffles

It's Daring Bakers time again, and this month's challenge were candies and confections. There was a choice of a wide variety of recipes. One option was the Pâte de Fruit, which is fruit gelée, something I wanted to make for a long time. You can use any fruit, which would be suitable for making jam. The process is also very similar to jam making. You puree the fruit, add sugar and pectin, then boil it until it sets. I thought the recipe given by the organizers was a little too meticulous on temperature measurement. I found another recipe which is a lot easier and doesn't need a thermometer. If you made jam before, it's a really easy treat to make. And they taste fantastic!

My second choice was chocolate truffles. They were dark chocolate filled with a milk chocolate and passion fruit ganache. It was really too hot to make anything with chocolate (how do you maintain the mixture at 27 C when the room temperature is already 30 C?), but I gave it a try anyways. I have made different types of filled chocolates before, but I still find the process of tempering the chocolate intimidating. One reason is that I usually do it by feel, since my thermometer is not very precise. So I usually estimate the temperature with my lips. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. This time it didn't go so well, and I got some white streaks on the chocolate. They still tasted very good, though.

I will definitely keep both choices of confections on my list for gift ideas later this year. I hope by then I will have a better candy thermometer.

The August 2011 Daring Bakers’ Challenge was hosted by Lisa of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drive and Mandy of What the Fruitcake?!. These two sugar mavens challenged us to make sinfully delicious candies!

Strawberry Pâte de Fruit
(adapted from "Geschenkideen aus der Küche" by Nicole Stich)

300 g strawberry puree
350 g jam (gelling) sugar 1:1
2 tbsp. freshly pressed lemon juice

caster (very fine) sugar for coating

Layer a square baking pan (20x20 cm/ 8x8 inch) with parchment paper with the sides overlapping the rim. Brush the paper with a little bit of oil.

In a pot, mix the strawberry purée with the jam sugar and the lemon juice. Let the mixture come to a boil and then continue cooking it on medium heat for at least 20 minutes. Stir well to prevent stickage. Test if the mixture is already thickened, with putting a spoonful of on a cool plate. If so, remove the pot from the heat and pour the mixture into the prepared form. The gelée will set in a few hours.

Once set, take the fruit gelée out of the form, and lay it on a piece of (wax) paper.With a sharp knife cut it into bite-size pieces. Clear the knife edge of any gelée residues between each cut to ensure a clean cut. Dip the pieces thoroughly in granulated sugar. Store them in an air-tight container, with layers of fruit gelée
separated by wax paper prior to serving.

Milk Chocolate-Passion Fruit Truffles

100 g milk chocolate
25 g heavy cream
1 tsp. mild honey
40 g passion fruit puree (from about 2-3 passion fruits)
15 g butter

25 round dark chocolate truffle shells
150 g dark chocolate

First chop the chocolate and transfer the shavings into a metal bowl. Then heat up the heavy cream with the honey and passion fruit puree. Pour the hot mixture over the chocolate, and let stand for about 10 minutes to melt the chocolate. Then whisk the butter under the chocolate mixture, until you have a smooth ganache mixture.

Fill the ganache into the chocolate truffle shells and put in a cool place for at least 12 hours to let the ganache set.

For the coating you have to temper the chocolate first.

Tempering chocolate using the seeding method with couverture callets:
Chocolate is melted and heated until it reaches 45°C (113°F). Tempered un-melted chocolate is then stirred and melted in until it brings the temperature down to 27°C (80.6°F). It is then put back over heat and brought up to its working temperature of 32°C (89.6°F) depending on the chocolate you’re using. It is now ready for using in molds, dipping and coating.

• Finely chop chocolate if in bar/slab form (about the size of almonds).
• Place about ⅔ of the chocolate in a heatproof bowl
• Set aside ⅓ of the chocolate pieces
• Place bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (make sure the bowl does not touch the water)
Tip: Make sure that your bowl fits snugly into the saucepan so that there’s no chance of steam forming droplets that may fall into your chocolate. If water gets into your chocolate it will seize!
• Using a rubber spatula, gently stir the chocolate so that it melts evenly
• Once it’s melted, keep an eye on the thermometer, as soon as it reaches 45°C / 113°F remove from heat (between 45°C-50°C / 113°F-122°F for dark chocolate)
• Add small amounts of the remaining ⅓ un-melted chocolate (seeds) and stir in to melt
• Continue to add small additions of chocolate until you’ve brought the chocolate down to 27°C/80.6°F (You can bring the dark chocolate down to between 80°F and 82°F)
• Put it back on the double boiler and bring the temperature back up until it reaches its working temperature of the chocolate. (32°C/89.6°F for dark, 30°C/86°F for milk and 29°C/84.2°F for white)
• If you still have a few un-melted bits of chocolate, put the bowl back over the simmering water, stirring gently and watching the thermometer constantly.
• IMPORTANT: You really need to keep an eye on the temperature so that it doesn’t go over its working temperature

It’s now tempered and ready to use.

Dip each chocolate truffle into the tempered dark chocolate, and put it on a tray lined with parchment paper. Allow some time for the chocolate to set, and store at a cool place.

Enjoy and Guten Appetit!

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