We started out by learning how to make dark chocolate ganache correctly. Although I have made ganache a few times for cake and cupcake decorating, my success has largely been hit and miss. George showed us some good techniques for combining the chocolate in cream that had been brought to the boil. I learned what it means to 'split' the ganache (you don't want that to happen) and think that is what might have been the problem during some of my ganache disasters. This ganache was to become the filling for the 70% truffles we made later.
tempering involved raising, lowering and then raising the temperature of chocolate again to make it workable but never really understood why this was necessary. If I'm honest, I actually thought you could probably skip this step - but now know why it's essential and how to do it! (This article is a good guide to chocolate tempering.) It is all about creating type V (5) crystals which allow you to work with the chocolate at its best, leaving a glossy finish and a delightful snap.
Temperature is all important when pre-crystalising (tempering) chocolate and some tools of the trade are necessary. Firstly, a digital infra-red thermometer was recommended for its accuracy. I knew my sweetie (gadget man) had one of those and we laughed about what else he might have that I could commandeer for chocolate making at home. Melting the chocolate is done on a bain-marie (double boiler) and cooling is easy with a cheap fan. Reheating, however, is different. A heat gun with a variable thermostat is best, but most people don't have these on hand. Although a hair dryer could suffice, George laughed that he didn't own one. (Check out his picture to see why.) Concerned that I also don't own a hair dryer, I wasn't sure what I could use at home but suspected that, once again, my sweetie would have the required equipment in his garage. Yep, he does, and so my friend and I will now make chocolate at our place. :-)
|Truffle assembly line|
|Truffles to take home|