Spear’s recipes of the week – Tonka Feuilletine and Japanese Shichimi Chilli Squares – are both delicious, indulgent and worth stretching your culinary skills for. The recipes are taken from Melt: A Book Of Chocolate by Louise Nason and Chika Watanabe, with photographs by Jean Cazals (Absolute Press £25)
Spear’s recipes of the week – Tonka Feuilletine and Japanese Shichimi Chilli Squares – are delicious, indulgent chocolates. The recipes are taken from ‘Melt: A Book Of Chocolate’ by Louise Nason and Chika Watanabe, with photographs by Jean Cazals (Absolute Press £25)
HOW TO TEMPER CHOCOLATE
1 Melt the chocolate
Finely chop 500g dark, milk or white chocolate. It doesn’t matter exactly what cocoa solids percentage it is, but be sure to stick to 64–70 per cent for dark chocolate, 36–40 per cent for milk chocolate and 30–35 per cent for white.
Put 375g of the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl and place in the microwave. Heat it in 30-second bursts at medium power, opening the microwave door and stirring the chocolate with a rubber spatula between each heating, until it has reached the temperature indicated on the chart below (check it with a digital thermometer). Using a microwave is the quickest method.
2 Seed the chocolate
Add the remaining 125g finely chopped chocolate to the melted chocolate a little at a time – this process is known as seeding. Slowly stir after each addition of chopped chocolate until it has melted, and use a digital thermometer to check the temperature of the liquid chocolate until it has reached the temperature indicated on the chart below. You may not need all of the remaining cold chocolate to bring the chocolate to the correct temperature. If the melted chocolate has reached the desired temperature and still contains some lumps of solid chocolate, use an electric hand blender to smooth it out.
3 Reheat the chocolate
This is the tricky part – the chocolate needs to be heated by just 2–4˚C. Place the bowl in a microwave and heat it at medium power for just a few seconds. Check the temperature using a digital thermometer, following the chart below. Stir well to finish the tempering process.
4 Test the chocolate
To test that the chocolate has been tempered correctly, drizzle a small amount on to a palette knife or a piece of baking parchment. It should set hard in 5 minutes and be shiny and glossy. Check the chocolate is ready by touching it: if only the top layer has set, the cocoa butter underneath has separated and the chocolate is not tempered. If this is the case, then the whole process needs to be repeated.
Use the tempered chocolate immediately, so it is at the correct temperature. If it starts to cool and thicken slightly while you are using it, you can microwave it for a few seconds to keep the temperature constant. If it goes completely out of temper, however, you will have to repeat the entire tempering process.
Chart: Temperatures for tempering chocolate
Type of chocolate:
Tonka Feuilletine (pictured left)
This is one of our most popular chocolates, the sweetness and texture being its winning characteristics. Tonka beans are also known as poor man’s vanilla. They are highly perfumed and best used sparingly – grated into cream while making a ganache or used as decoration. Grate the tonka bean on a nutmeg grater for the best results. At Melt we make most things from scratch but, given the lack of baking facilities, we use ready-made feuilletine – a thin, biscuity wafer. An excellent substitute at home is good-quality waffle ice cream cones, crushed.
1 quantity of tempered dark chocolate (66 per cent cocoa solids) (see above)
1 quantity of tempered milk chocolate (see above)
310g praline paste
125g good-quality waffle ice cream cones, finely crushed
2 pinches of grated tonka bean, plus extra to decorate
Line a 20cm square baking tin with baking parchment.
Put 125g of the tempered dark chocolate, 50g of the tempered milk chocolate and the praline paste in a bowl and mix well (you won’t need the remaining dark chocolate but if keeps well). Stir in the crushed ice cream cones and grated tonka.
Pour the chocolate mixture into the prepared tin. Tap it on the work surface to smooth the top and then leave in a cool place for at least 6 hours or overnight to set.
Invert the tray to remove the chocolate mixture, then peel off the parchment and cut the chocolate into 2.5cm squares. Dip the squares into the remaining tempered milk chocolate. Sprinkle a little grated tonka over, then leave to set.
Japanese Shichimi Chilli Squares (pictured left)
Shichimi togarashi is a Japanese spice mixture that dates back to the 17th century. It is made up of seven ingredients, namely coarsely ground red chilli pepper (the predominant spice), ground sansho, roasted orange peel, black sesame seeds, white sesame seeds, seaweed and ground ginger. It is often used to flavour soups, noodles and rice cakes and can be served as a simple table condiment. Here it gives a fiery kick to these dark chocolate squares.
Makes 50 squares
250g double cream
20g liquid glucose
15g full-fat milk
2 teaspoons Japanese shichimi chilli, plus a little more to garnish
10g orange zest
200g dark chocolate (70 per cent cocoa solids), finely chopped
20g unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
tempered dark chocolate, for dipping (see above)
Pour the cream, glucose and milk into a saucepan. Add the chilli and orange zest and bring the mixture to the boil. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 10–20 minutes, depending on how much you want the chilli to flavour the cream (taste it to check).
Put the chopped chocolate in a bowl and strain the hot cream on to it through a fine sieve. Stir gently from the centre until it emulsifies. When the temperature measures no more than 45°C on a digital thermometer, stir in the butter until combined.
Line a 20cm square baking tin with cling film, pour in the mixture and leave in a cool place for at least 6 hours or overnight, until set.
Use a large, sharp knife to cut the chocolate into squares or rectangles. Dip in the tempered chocolate and sprinkle a little shichimi chilli on top of each square.