Tag Archives: white chocolate

Roasted White Chocolate

I’m really not one for following food trends. This nothing to do with me seeking to take some sort of stand about my intellectual and culinary independence and trying to set myself up as some sort of anti-trend baker – I mean, have you actually seen my annual festive baking bonanza? No, it is just the case that trends tend to very easily pass me by. It’s not that I don’t enjoy new things, but the various commitments of daily life mean I’m picking up on things as they are lukewarm, rather than fresh-from-the-oven hot. The result? I come to a lot of things rather late in the day. So I appreciate that roasted white chocolate has been around for a while, but it sounds interesting, so I thought I would give it a whirl.

There were two things that really appealed to me about trying roasted white chocolate. First, you only need one ingredient – a bar of decent white chocolate. Chop it, put it on a tray, heat in a low oven and move it about from time to time until it is of the desired colour. Dead easy! Second, I have very fond childhood memories of the Caramac bar (don’t judge!). It seemed like caramel chocolate to me back then, even if the wrapper carefully avoided the word “chocolate”, so I expected this little experiment to have a similar flavour, albeit one that was perhaps just a hint more sophisticated!

Making this roasted chocolate was an absolute breeze – I took a bar, chopped it into small-ish pieces, tried to artfully arrange it on the tray for a picture, and then put in my (fan) oven at 120°C. I did this on greaseproof paper as I didn’t want to scorch the chocolate on the metal baking sheet, and to make it easier to work it once melted.

RoastedWhiteChoc1
Now, this is the point at which you’ll find out whether your oven is accurate, or is running hot. The chocolate should melt, then after 10 minutes, you can spread it out with a spatula. Then keep cooking for 10 minutes, mix and spread, and repeat until the chocolate gets to the right deep nutty colour.

The first bake melted the chocolate, but not in the way you would see with milk or dark chocolate – the pieces held their shape but looked slumped. Try to imagine saggy chocolate chunks! It was almost as if the whole pile of chocolate looked a little bit sad. But working with a spatula turned the whole lot silky-smooth in an instance. Then it went back in the oven.

Now, after this second baking I suspected that my oven was indeed a little warmer than it should be if the various dials and knobs are to be trusted. This was the step where I saw the biggest single colour change – it had gone from pure ivory white to a light golden colour. The chocolate also had a rather grainy look, but this was easy to fix – again, just scrape the chocolate into the middle, work with the spatula, and spread out again.

RoastedWhiteChoc3
After adjusting the heat down a little, it was a case of baking the chocolate for 10 minutes, removing from the oven, scraping into the middle, working it with the spatula, spreading it out again and putting it back in the oven over and over until the colour gets deeper and deeper, ending up like a delicious caramel.

RoastedWhiteChoc2  RoastedWhiteChoc4
All in all, this took about 2 hours from start to finish, but it really needs next to no culinary skills at all. I have no idea if you could just put the chocolate in the oven and leave it there, but it does not demand too much work to work the chocolate from time to time. You just need to be at home tidying up the kitchen cupboards, writing a novel or doing your tax return (or whatever else you do when pottering at home in January).

The flavour is, as you would expect, like white chocolate with a caramel flavour. I thought it was utterly delicious, probably more delicious than it should taste given how easy it was to do. But what can you do with roasted white chocolate beyond eating it with a spoon behind a locked door? This stuff will set – I spread it out thinly, left it to set, and then cut it into triangles to nibble on from time to time. I also lightly sprinkled powdered salt onto the still-melted chocolate to enhance the flavour, which gave it something of a salted caramel flavour.

You could also use this stuff for dipping things, spreading on top of traybakes or as a filling for biscuits, and it could also be used to make icing or ganache if you add a little bit of double cream. The only thing that you need to know is that the texture does seem to be affected by the process – the chocolate triangles I made didn’t have a snap to them – so I don’t know if you could temper this stuff to get a decent snap and shine. Maybe you can, but chances are that it probably won’t survive long enough for anyone to find out – it’s too good to resist for long!

RoastedWhiteChoc5

This time…no recipe! It’s just a bar of chocolate, you, your oven and a spatula!

Advertisements

8 Comments

Filed under Recipe, Sweet Things

Green Tea Truffles

For a long time, I have wanted to visit the Japan Centre supermarket in the centre of London. This week, I finally made it down there, and picked up a packet of matcha (Japanese green tea powder). It seems like the sort of thing that is useful to have in the store cupboard when you are called upon to produce something innovative and creative. But not having the patience to wait for the perfect excuse to use it, I started to think what I could make with it. Cupcakes? Dull. Cake? Flavour might get lost. Then it hit me: why not try the white chocolate ganache but with matcha? Rather than making a tart, I made truffles. I imagined that the ganache would be a vibrant green, and I was not disappointed.

I’m not usually crazy about white chocolate, as it can be very sweet and a bit cloying. However, as the green tea is grassy and a little bitter, this cuts through the sweetness and leaves the truffles with a lovely creamy taste with a little bit of a tang. These truffles seem really sophisticated, but are, in truth, really quick and simple to prepare. A really nice accompaniment to tea or as a little something sweet at the end of a meal.

Just a word of warning though: I rolled the first truffle in pure matcha. Way too powerful. The rest were rolled in 50/50 icing sugar and matcha, which was much milder/edible. I would recommend either using this mixture or even pure icing sugar (which will contrast nicely with the colour of the matcha-infused filling).


To make 20 truffles:

• 200g white chocolate, finely chopped
• 1 teaspoon of matcha (green tea powder)
• 1 tablespoon milk
• 85g double cream
• 45g unsalted butter
• 2 teaspoons of matcha and 2 teaspoons of icing sugar, mixed and sieved, for dusting

Put the chocolate in a bowl. In another bowl, combine the milk and 1 teaspoon of match until smooth.

In a saucepan, heat the cream slowly, and boil for 30 seconds. Add the matcha paste and stir well. Pour the hot matcha mixture over the chocolate, and stir until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth.

Leave the mixture to cool, then leave in the fridge until firm (this can take some time). Form the ganache into truffles (it easiest to work it into a ball between two teaspoons, which also creates an attractive “rough” appearance). Roll the truffles in matcha, and store in the fridge. You may need to re-roll the truffles just before serving.

Worth making? If you like green tea, then you will like this. You can adjust the amount of green tea according to taste, but I would caution against more than 1 teaspoon in the above recipe. These make a nice addition to an afternoon tea or an after dinner petit fours selection where you want to offer guests a selection of tastes to try.

2 Comments

Filed under Recipe, Sweet Things

White Chocolate Tart with Piment d’Espelette

Yes, more Piment d’Espelette! I’ve posted my goat’s cheese fritters with a spicy Piment d’Espelette chutney, and now we move onto the dessert. I also submitted this to the competition run by the association of Piment d’Espelette producers, so again, fingers crossed!

Chocolate and chilli are a common combination (I’ll hold off on “classic” as I am not usually a fan…I want desserts to be sweet, not to burn), but this got me thinking: Piment d’Espelette is not so hot, so would it work in a chocolate dessert for those that don’t like hot chilli? But the colour – I was a little put off by the fact that it would  just look like another dark chocolate dessert. Ah, but what if I were to use white chocolate? I reasoned that the colour of the Piment d’Espelette would diffuse into the cream and chocolate, and the flecks of red would be visible in the finished cake. With these thoughts, I ventured into my kitchen.

One of the rules in the competition was that you had to come up with a recipe from scratch. I sensed that there was potential for my attempts to be rather “unusual”, so rather than making whole tarts, I started making small batches of white chocolate ganache in ramekins to test my ideas.

Attempt number one – create an infusion of Piment d’Espelette and mountain honey in water, then add to the white chocolate. The theory was that this would provide a clean, light flavour, highlighting the Piment. Too bad it didn’t set. In fact, it sort of separated, with a clotted-cream-type crust on top, and then a layer of liquid chocolate, then all the Piment at the bottom. Not a success.

Attempt number two – back to the classic ganache. I put cream, Piment and some mountain honey in a pan, and allowed it to infuse for half an hour. Heated it, added it to chopped white chocolate, stirred until melted, put in a saucepan to melt it properly (as, ahm, not all the chocolate melted first time), then added butter. Result! A smooth filling with a bright peachy-orange colour and flecked with red. It flowed, set as it was supposed to in the fridge, and cut perfectly. I served it at room temperature, and the filling did exactly what I wanted – stayed firm but not hard, but cut easily.

And the taste? The initial flavour was of white chocolate, but then it gives way to the fleshy earthiness of the Piment (like red peppers) and the honey. Then you get the warmth of the Piment, but it does not get hot. I think this is a nice way to use Piment in a dessert, making a feature of it rather than just adding a pinch as decoration. I can imagine that this would also work with other strongly-coloured spices (saffron for a golden ganache) or even with a spoonful of beetroot juice into the cream (if you like bright pink).

For the tart:

• one basic sweet pie shell (see here)
• 300g white chocolate
• 125ml double cream
• 2 teaspoons runny honey (thyme or orange blossom)
• 1 generous teaspoon of Piment d’Espelette (or mild chilli powder)
• 80g unsalted butter, at room temperature

Mix the honey, cream and Piment d’Espelette in a saucepan and leave to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. This allows the cream to take on the colour of the Piment. In the meantime, chop the chocolate into very small pieces and put into a bowl.

Heat the cream mixture, stirring well. Bring to the boil, and cook for 30 seconds. Allow to cool briefly, then pour over the chopped chocolate. Stir well until the chocolate has melted. If there are still lumps of chocolate, then transfer to the saucepan and heat very gently, stirring constantly, until the mixture is smooth. Transfer back to the bowl.

Allow the mixture to cool slightly. Add the butter and stir until it melts and you have a smooth, glossy ganache. Pour immediately into the pie shell, and shake lightly to smooth the filling off. Allow to cool, then move to the fridge to set. Serve at room temperature, in thin slices.

Worth making? I have tried for a long time to make a white chocolate ganache (for pies, for cakes, for truffles) which stays smooth but sets properly, and I am really happy with this recipe. If you’re not a fan of the Piment,  you could easily omit this, and instead use vanilla and top off with fresh fruit – ripe raspberries or juicy strawberries. It makes an ideal dinner party dessert too – it can be prepared completely in advance, so no running around in the kitchen while your guests have fun.

2 Comments

Filed under Recipe, Sweet Things