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Saturday, January 17, 2015

Culinary School - Session 63: Chocolate Orange Truffles and Chocolate Boxes

Culinary School: Session 63 (01.16.15)

Chocolate Orange Truffles and Chocolate Boxes

Oh, why the hell not: "Life is like a box of chocolates..."

I promise that is the only time I will use that line... ever! 

And in this case, if life were like a box of chocolates, you'd know exactly what you were going to get: 150 perfect portions of Chocolate Orange Truffles.

Making these little chocolate bites is straight-forward enough, but it is an undeniably time consuming effort. You start by making a perfectly smooth ganache, ensuring that it's fully-flavored, well emulsified and of the right consistency. The ganache is allowed to set, piped into individual portions, chilled, reformed by hand, chilled again and ultimately finished with tempered chocolate and cocoa powder. 

So with all that work to do, why not create an edible vessel for all of these truffles as well

As the first of many chocolate showpieces, a small chocolate box is the baby-steps introductory project in cocoa construction. Come next week, pieces goes vertical with more advanced designs.

Rolled Portions Chocolate Orange Ganache for Truffles

- Ingredients Running Tally -

Constructing showpiece elements such as chocolate boxes requires a surprising amount of chocolate

This session's small 6"x4" box called for about two pounds of chocolate. Granted, we are working with a large amount of excess. I mean, why not make four tops for the box, just in case the first three don't come out right? 

Fortunately, all of the excess chocolate is saved, to be remelted and used during future sessions for ganache fillings or baking.

Ingredients used to date (01.16.15):
  • Flour: 23,900g
  • Eggs: 14,050g (281x)
  • Sugar: 16,875g
  • Butter: 15,090g
  • Milk/Cream: 13,070g
  • Chocolate: 2,675g (since 01.12.15)

    - The Recipes -


    Chocolate Orange Truffles (Truffles a l'Orange)

    Orange chocolate ganache filled truffles with a cocoa powder finish.

    Focus Techniques:
    - Creating a cream infusion. In order to amp up the chocolate with orange flavor, the cream in the recipe is infused with orange zest. The cream and zest are brought to a boil, removed from the heat and allowed to steep for 30 minutes.
    - Creating a juice reduction. For additional flavor intensity, orange juice is added to the ganache. However, too much water content from straight juice could ruin a ganache. Before the juice is added, it is boiled and reduced by half, cutting the water content while concentrating the orange flavor. 
    - Piping soft ganache to portion into individual truffles. Piping individual portions of ganache is an efficient method for creating hundred of truffles. The piped portions can then be chilled until they are solid and rounded into perfect spheres before they are coated in tempered chocolate.

    Warm Orange Chocolate Ganache

    Bag of Orange Chocolate Ganache to be Piped

    Portions of Orange Chocolate Ganache for Truffles

    Rolled Portions Chocolate Orange Ganache for Truffles


    Chocolate Boxes

    As the first of many Chocolate Showpieces to come, this is a simple 6"x4" box construction.

    The box is made of six pieces in total: two equally sized top and bottom pieces, two long sides and two short sides. 

    The project is an opportunity to practice tempering, creating decorative layers, cutting chocolate as it sets, cleaning edges and attaching chocolate pieces.

    Focus Techniques:
    - Creating decorative layers on chocolate pieces. As was demonstrated with the chocolate leaves, a chocolate piece can be combined with a decorative layer (e.g. sponged, brushed, combed, etc). In order for the base piece to adhere to the decorative layer of chocolate, it must be spread before the decorative layer has set. Otherwise, the two layers of chocolate will not attach completely, potentially leaving air pockets as the two chocolates set and shrink at different rates.
    - Cutting chocolate pieces. Properly cutting tempered chocolate is a matter of timing. If the chocolate is too liquid, the cut marks will be soft and may fill in / reattach. If the chocolate has set, there is a risk of cracking. The correct time to cut the chocolate is somewhere in between those two stages - a moment known as the "Cut Point". The only way to know for sure is to make some sample cuts at the edge of your chocolate.
    - Using the "Hot Knife Method" for cutting chocolate. Even when tempered chocolate has set to the point that it will crack if cut with a normal knife, it is still possible to clean cuts using a knife that has been heated in hot water (Note: the knife should always be cleaned of any residual water!) When making cuts with a hot knife, use a sawing motion. Even with a hot knife, too much pressure may create cracks. It is also worth noting that the heat from the knife may take the chocolate at the cut points out of temper and result in some blooming.
    - Compressing cut pieces of chocolate to prevent warping. Since well-tempered chocolate shrinks as it sets, pieces of chocolate should be left to temper compressed between two flat sheet trays. This will prevent the pieces from warping.

    Comb Decorated and Cut Chocolate Pieces for Box Showpiece

    Comb Decorated and Cut Chocolate Pieces for Box Showpiece

    Next - Session 64: Chocolate Orange Truffles and Chocolate Boxes (cont.)

    Previous - Session 62: Chocolate Fruit & Nut Cake and Chocolate Leaves

    Take a look at the full syllabus

    Questions? Comments? Send me an email or leave a comment.
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