… i’ve been doing some guest blogging for Intel recently and they’ve been kind enough to loan me a natty little ASUS T100 tablet to work with, write my blogs on, store photo’s and generally mess around with. I’m having great fun with it. I particularly like the fact that it comes with a detachable keyboard so that it’s easier for my fat little fingers to tripe with…
… when I was first approached to guest-blog on the Intel #iQBlog I was more than happy to oblige. As a food writer and recipe developer there’s nothing I love more than sharing my passion for all things edible and I love how working with Intel has made me think so much more about how I use technology on a daily basis… obviously when I found out that the whole project would conclude with a master-class with renowned chocolatier Paul A Young you can imagine that this totally sealed the deal.
I love chocolate. I’m not just talking about the fancy 90% cocoa-solids stuff either. I love nothing more than chomping my way through a bar of peanuts wrapped in nougat and chocolate that only a Snickers bar can deliver as much as I adore allowing one of Paul A Young’s infamous salted caramel chocolates to melt slowly in my mouth, releasing it’s glorious molten golden sweetness from the crisp dark chocolate shell… oh sorry readers, I think you may have lost me there for a moment…
I think that chocolate, like a lot of food, has an amazing way to link you to a moment; a favourite meal or a memorable party. One of my dearest memories from my childhood is when my maternal grandparents would arrive for Christmas. My Grandpa Henry ran a fruit wholesalers in Hull and he would always come laden with fabulous fruit. Of course as a kid I wasn’t really interested in that but Grandma Jennie would reach into her bag and bring out a Terry’s Chocolate Orange for my brother and I. We knew she’d have one in there for us and the anticipation was overwhelming and how I loved to gently un-peel that wonderful ball of zesty orangey chocolate.
One of the many great things about Paul A Young is that he’s not a chocolate snob. One of the first things we chatted about upon meeting was his love of candy-bar chocolate. It has its place in our lives and we shouldn’t knock it. It’s about choosing what’s right for you at that moment or that situation of mood you are in. It was a great way to start the masterclass because it made us all think about the kind of chocolate we like and gave us a good starting point to try all the different raw chocolates.
The masterclass started with the chocolate tasting and Paul had the intimate class, which took place in the basement kitchen of his Soho shop, try a wide variety of different chocolate with varying amounts of cocoa solids in from a very sweet milk chocolate all the way through to 100% cocoa solids which for me was like eating bitter sand. We learnt all about the chocolate making process and how they make chocolate to sell at his shops. Paul is the only chocolatier in London working in a truly artisan way. The whole process is done by hand in the kitchens. The flavours are developed by his team and made in small batches to keep the incredible taste combinations more creative and his customers begging for more.
Seeing Paul working in such a traditional and artisan environment was fascinating and so of course I was interested to see how he uses the technology of his intel powered tablet to bring his whole empire together. He told me how it keeps them connected between shops and kitchens. It’s an instant training tool, where any member of his team can take a photo of a new recipe or chocolate and is able to store, archive and share it between the teams across the four shops and can take pictures of the new creations to share with managers across the shops as well as with his thousands of followers on social media channels. They also use them for stock control and research. Paul said that it has totally changed the way they work in a positive way commenting that it makes working slicker and more productive.
Our masterclass finished with the class really getting stuck in and making our own chocolate truffles. There was something surprisingly tactile about the experience, forming the little balls of ganache, rolling them in the flat of our hands and best of all dipping them in warm liquid chocolate… a heavenly experience. I also learnt that you can make ganache by adding any liquid to melted chocolate, from water to cream to whisky and I have since made the most glorious custard ganache which I was very proud of.
This recipe is taken from Paul’s book Adventures with Chocolate
To make a classic dark chocolate ganache, use the following recipe as your base.
Makes up to 50 chocolates
250g dark chocolate
250g double cream
100g light muscovado sugar
First, break the chocolate into small, even-sized pieces and place in a medium-size mixing bowl. Place the cream and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to the boil and simmer for 1 minute. This will fully dissolve the sugar and kill any bacteria that may be present in the cream.
Turn off the heat and allow the cream to cool for 1 minute. (Pouring the cream on to the chocolate while boiling will scorch it and cause the cocoa butter in the chocolate to separate, resulting in a split ganache.)
Now pour your rested cream on to the chocolate pieces and mix well with a spatula or whisk until smooth and very glossy.
Allow the ganache to cool to room temperature, then place it, covered, in the fridge for at least 2 hours, or until it is fully set.
To roll the truffles, remove the set ganache from the fridge. Using a teaspoon, scoop even-sized pieces of the chocolate and place on to a sheet of parchment paper.
Powder your hands with cocoa powder, and then, using your fingers, begin to roll the ganache into evenly shaped spheres. Take care not to take too long over this, as the ganache will begin to melt and become impossible to roll.
Place the rolled truffles back on the parchment paper.
You can eat the truffles at this point, as they are dusted in cocoa powder, but I think a real truffle needs to have a crisp shell to protect it and to give a textural difference. To create this shell, you will need to coat your truffle in tempered chocolate.
If you are not eating the dusted truffles, place them in the fridge until needed.
over the next few months I will be exploring more food and technology related topics and sharing them with you here on the blog, plus I will also have a very exciting giveaway coming soon…
eat and of course, enjoy!