Douceur Chocolat / Heavenly Chocolate
I didn’t think this moment was possible, but I’m totally chocolate’d out.
After a week of non-stop chocolate tempering and chocolate mousses, I was ready to throw up at the mere scent of melting chocolate.
Coffee & walnut dark chocolate and chocolate truffles
After collecting myself a bit and giving myself a pep talk, I got to class on Thursday last week ready to be calm and one with my dark chocolate. We had to temper dark chocolate, which is easier to work with than milk chocolate, and I was looking forward to trying it out. My attempt turned out pretty well. The only trouble was that the little coffee squares wouldn’t fall off my dipping fork very easily. There were quite a few battles scars on my parchment paper as I tried valiantly to fling the little chocolates off the fork. Being early in the morning, my friend and I were also not quite awake enough for this task. We dipped and rolled our truffles in cocoa powder, and halfway through we had to reheat the chocolate because it had gotten too cool. I moved it over the hot water bath to shock and stir, and discovered a lump in the chocolate. Weird, I thought, as I stirred quickly, trying to see if this chunk would melt. After a few seconds I decided to pick it up with my spoon to investigate. Thank goodness I did, because I picked up a golf ball sized truffle that had gotten lost in the chocolate! The poor little truffle just kept on snowballing on more chocolate, eventually ending up as a golf ball abnormality in our mixture. We shrieked with surprise when we cut through the chocolate and discovered that it was indeed a truffle. That little incident definitely woke us up!
That evening concluded the chocolate tempering with another go at tempering milk chocolate. We had to make the least practical cake, the Douceur Chocolat. It’s a basic dacquoise cake at the bottom, with a yummy Ferrero-Rocher-esque crunchy filling, chocolate mousse, and chocolate disks. Cutting it is not exactly easy (see picture above), and the chefs recommended it more as a restaurant dessert outside of school.
I think I did well enough on the milk chocolate tempering. The disks aren’t brilliantly shiny like perfectly tempered chocolates in fancy chocolatier shops in Paris, but they definitely snap cleanly when broken. I was working at a decent pace, but somehow when it got to time for whisking the chocolate mousse, my reluctance and uncertainty for how to approach this tricky mousse slowed me down quite a bit. We had the younger chef, and he miraculously stepped in to help me. Looking back, I think he did so because he wanted to make sure at least one person in class made the mousse perfectly. He showed me a trick to whipping this mousse that was completely against the demonstration chef’s advice, and so I nervously perched my cream on top of an ice bath as he looked on. When I began whipping, I kept on stealing glances at the chef to see if he would put a stop to my insanity, but he just shrugged at me like, Stop looking at me for affirmation. So I whisked away at the 500mL of whipping cream, grrr.
Eventually my mousse came out homogeneously, yay! When I presented my cake to the chef (last as usual), he nodded and said, “The best cake, non? Leave it here.” I was so relieved after holding my breath the whole class, that I smiled and walked away. Stupid, as I now have a lot of follow-up questions like, what about the tempering, how could I get it shinier? Before I walked away, though, I made amends with the chef about a previous comment I had said in front of him. He used to live in Ottawa, and without thinking, I blurted out “Did you like it? What’s there to do?” He smirked and said I just didn’t know the right people in Ottawa, which was probably fair. Anyway, in recent days, he’s made fun of me for being “the girl who thinks Ottawa is boring”. So I told him that his teasing has reminded me of a week I spent in Ottawa when I was 17. It was one of the best weeks of my life so far. So there, not that boring.
Lastly, there was the Plaisir on Saturday to round off the week of chocolate. The cake was invented by Lenôtre, and named Plaisir after their atelier in the city of Plaisir. Janette, who’s visiting, and I were out all day with my friend from class, and we almost missed the demonstration! We made it in time with five minutes to spare – how, I will never know. I think someone was turning the clocks back for us as we hurried along the Metro!
I can’t say I was proud of the Plaisir I made, because I know my cake layer was a bit thicker than it should’ve been, and the chocolate mousse wasn’t completely packed in where it was supposed to be. By then, though, I was just so happy that we were finally done with chocolate that I couldn’t care less. We had the nice older chef who didn’t seem to mind these little oversights. Yay!
We will be moving off of chocolate for a while, and even onto savoury petit fours for a class coming up. The break will be most welcome. :)