Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Temper, Temper

With forks still in our mouths, both of us said, "This is a great cake!"
Strawberry Maria (pg 184)
The Strawberry Maria has 1 recipe Genoise au Chocolat (pg 129), 1 recipe syrup flavored with Grand Marnier (pg 129), 1 recipe Strawberry Cloud Cream (pg 264), 1 Chocolate Lattice Band (pg 388) and strawberries dipped in chocolate.

J was so happy with the photo of this showcase cake, that her enthusiasm made the entire baking time fun. And, if we hadn't taken the class at La Tulipe, we'd never have had the confidence to do the lattice work with chocolate, which turned out so beautifully.

Tempering chocolate isn't nearly as frightening as I originally thought. We learned in the class about the 4 kinds of crystals in the chocolate structure and that the melting point of each of them is slightly different. Tempering involves melting teh chocoalte, cooling it so that a crystal in that chocolate (the one you want) begins to form, then heating it again so that the other kinds of crystals (the ones you don't want) don't form.

It sounds complicated, and it helps to have had a trained professional, in a professional kitchen show you how. I am beginning to see how working with chocolate could be a whole life's work. There is much to know about chocolate and how to be creative and do more daring things. But the basics- melt, cool, melt keeping it a little cooler but still workable- are not tough!! It see ms like some kind of mystical process, but
we said if those teenagers who work at Godiva in the mall can do it, so can we. We've had professional instruction after all.

We dipped the strawberries into chocolate, drizzled stripes on them and J suggested we melt some white chocolate to drizzle over them. What a hit. The texture of both dark and white stripes looked really cool.

The genoise came together quite nicely. Actually this whole section of genoise has come together nicely. The syrup, well, who doesn't like sugar syrup? And, can anything be bad if it has Grand Marnier?
Strawberry Cloud cream is a fancy way of saying strawberry flavored whipped cream. We did the same thing to strawberries that we did to raspberries -- take frozen ones, thaw them, capture the juice, bowl i t down, puree the fruit, blend. Add a cup or so to the whipped cream. Really simple now, but in the midst of doing this, we forgot to measure the pureed bit and ended up with what looked like the beginning of a very soft serve ice cream. So, we remade it. Urgh, the basics of measuring still bites us in the butt sometimes. It turned out quite nice.

Another cake that sounded good, looked good, and tasted good. One year ago, we would have been freaked out and probably not tried the lattice band. But, this really was easy to put together. We are so happy with this one, we will each make it again.

Now that I've at least faced my fear of chocolate, I hope to overcome my fear of piping. Who knows.



Leeah said...

Hi, Robb! That cake looks absolutely delicious! I love strawberries and the best ones come from here in Norway! How are you doing? Take care!

Jacque said...

That is awesome!! Your strawberries look terrific, as does your chocolate wrap.

I did one of those lacey wraps once and I was totally thrilled with how great it looked and how not-that-difficult it turned out to be.

Love your blog!