Sunday, 27 January 2013

Fresh Crisp Homemade Chocolates

Homemade chocolates have a crispiness about them which is difficult to find in store bought chocolates.

I only make chocolates once a year so I am not very fast at the process. I made two different types of filled chocolates today salty caramel and hazelnut praline. This salty caramel is really to die for. I kept licking the bowl.

I am not going to go through the details of making ganache and tempering chocolate but I will recommend my  favorite book from Andrew Garrison Shotts. Both of the ganache recipes are from this book.

One basic for good results is to use good chocolate.  I love Valhrona chocolate. When you bite into one of these chocolates the flavor is incredible.


Valrhona is one the best chocolate companies. They are a bit expensive but well worth it.
 The chocolate molds are filled with tempered chocolate and the extra removed to leave a smooth shell. These will be filled with the ganache.
All of the chocolate molds are gilled with the two ganaches.
 I tempered 1 kilo of chocolate to prepare all of these chocolates.
One of the handiest items I have for making chocolates is this laser thermometer. It is really convenient for picking up the slight temperature differences during the tempering process.

Enjoy fresh homemade chocolates

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Purple Sweet Potato Jam Brunch Rolls

Butter rolls filled with sweet potato jam
There is a sweet potato in Japan which has a beautiful deep purple inside. I found some jam which was made from this type of potato and was very delicious.

I decide to take a traditional butter roll recipe and instead of making cinnamon rolls I replaced the filling with the dark purple sweet potato jam. They look beautiful.

Recipe:
200 grams bread flour
25 grams sugar
3 grams salt
30 grams unsalted butter
3 grams instant dry yeast
25 grams egg
120 grams water

1.  In a bowl, sift together the flour, yeast, sugar & salt. Add the water & egg and use a dough scraper to mix together.


2. Put the dough on a flat surface to knead for about 10 minutes until the dough is smooth but not sticky.  Roll into a ball and cover with a bowl for 10 minutes. 

3. Remove the bowl and then add the butter to the dough. Use the dough scraper to cut the butter into the dough. Knead the dough until the butter is well mixed. Dough should be soft but not sticky.

4. If the dough feels stiff, add a little water and knead more.

5. Shape into a ball and put in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place for about 60 minutes.

Rolls after they have finished rising
Brush again with egg before baking
6. Remove the dough from the bowl and spread on a flat surface. Lightly flatten the dough to remove air bubbles. Use a rolling pin to roll out to a 25 cm (length) x 20 cm (width) size. Choose your favorite filling to spread on top of the dough - cinnamon sugar, lemon curd, etc. After spreading the filling on the dough, roll up the dough.

7. Slice the dough into pieces of similar size. Put into baking tins or just place on a baking sheet (leave space between them when they rise). Lightly brush with egg and then put in a warm place for 40 minutes to rise.

8. Bake at 210 degrees Celsius for 20 - 25 minutes. 


White Chocolate Chestnut Cake

Chestnut cake topped with candied orange peel
and marinated chestnuts
It is almost the middle of January and I haven't posted anything this year.  I have been baking, just haven't caught up with updating recipes up on the blog.

I am still on winter food recipes, however, strawberries start coming into season about February in Japan since most of them are grown in hot houses. Once I see strawberries, then spring can't be far off.

I baked this recipe in two types of pans. In the picture on the right, I used a long thin pound cake type pan.

Same recipe using heart shaped silicone pans
I baked again using small silicone shaped hearts pans. I am not usually a fan of silicone pans but I have to say they were quite easy to use.

Recipe:

40 grams chestnut paste
160 grams chestnut puree
60 grams white chocolate
80 grams unsalted butter (cut into small pieces)
3 eggs
3 egg yolks
80 grams flour
2 grams baking powder

1. Sift the flour and baking powder together in a bowl.
2. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of hot water. After melting, add the butter pieces in portions to melt. Use a spatula to mix. Be sure all pieces are melted before adding new ones.

3. In a bowl, mix the eggs & egg yolks and mix with a whisk.
4. Mix the chestnut paste & puree and add to the egg mixture and mix with whisk. Sift this into another bowl to remove any lumps.
5. Add the white chocolate to the egg mixture. Add in portions and mix with a whisk. Add in the flour.
6. Put in a baking pan and bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 25 - 30 minutes depending the size of your pan. If you are using a metal pan, be sure to lightly coat the pan first with butter & flour before baking.