Another great recipe of that book I was quickly writing about few days ago – Cuisiner à la bière – How to cook with beer. The original recipe is made with a stout. I wanted to use a polish beer, and more particularly one of AleBrowar, Smoky Joe. I was told that it would be a good match with chocolate.
So let’s play with it.
You will need about 20cl of Smoky Joe, 300g dark chocolate, 200g white chocolate and 25cl cream. As the beer is kinda bitter already, you don’t have to use a bitter chocolate. Just take a normal dark one, that would be sufficient.
First, you need to bring the beer to the boil and let it reduce by half. Then pour in the cream and warm slowly, don’t let the mixture boil, it needs to reach 90-95°C.
Pour the liquid in a bowl containing the chocolate (callets or chopped). Mix very well with a wooden spoon and once you obtain a nice smooth chocolate mixture, place into a fridge for about 30-45 minutes.
It needs to be thick enough for you to make the truffles. With a spoon, by hands (but that’s really messy) or any piece of equipment that would help you make nice small balls.
Place the balls on a tray lined with parchment paper, without them touching one another. Refrigerate for a further 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, you need to prepare the white chocolate (see below). It’s very important to follow my advices if you want something really nice, like the stuff you would find in shops.
One by one, dip the truffles into the melted white chocolate, and with the help of a fork, remove them, get rid of the extra chocolate and place the truffles onto another tray also lined with parchment paper. Let it rest for few minutes before placing the finished truffles into the fridge.
Enjoy with the rest of your Smoky Joe, or have another one.
Actually, it looks more like a Praline than a Truffle. It doesn’t matter though, it’s still really nice however you decide to name them.
The beer gives them a nice taste, and a different texture as well. It’s worth trying, and playing with it. May be try with another one of their dark beer, with more beer also, to make them really bitter, why not?
Well, tempering chocolate is not easy, but not that difficult either. And it’s something very important if you want to get the same shiny looking chocolate pralines you find in the shops.
First, you need good chocolate. Try to get your hand on some professional chocolate, like Callebaud, DuBarry or Valrhona for example. There is surely plenty more brands, but at work I only use Callebaud.
Why tempering chocolate?
Because of the cocoa butter.
The purpose of tempering is to change the cocoa butter into a stable crystalline form. If your tempering is done properly, by bringing chocolate up to the right working temperature, your chocolate will be glossy once cooled down. If you don’t do so, just look at the picture below. Ain’t nice isn’t it?
Well, let’s start now.
There are several methods. So I will just write down the main idea behind tempering. First you need to melt the chocolate (bain-marie is the best option), cool it down and re-heat a little bit. There are different working temperature depending on the type of chocolate. Dark, milk or white.
You can use a bowl of icy water to cool down the chocolate (use it as if it was a bain-marie, but if you found professional chocolate, and bought it as callets, by adding 15-20% of callets into the melted chocolate, everything should be fine then as callets are already tempered.
In any case, use a thermometer and respect these temperature below. It’s very very important.
melting temperature 50/55°C – cooling temperature 28/29°C – working temperature 31/32°C
melting temperature 45/50°C – cooling temperature 26/27°C – working temperature 28/29°C
melting temperature 45/50°C – cooling temperature 27/28°C – working temperature 29/30°C
Once you reach that working temperature, make a test. Take a knife, put its tip into the chocolate. Normally it would harden within 3 minutes at room temperature – about 20°C.
One more thing, as important as everything else, you need to keep your melting chocolate at working temperature as long as you need it.