Friday, 30 January 2015

When things calm down in our kitchen over the colder months of the year, our creative juices flow and I thought I'd experiment more with shocked chocolate work this past winter. The process involves perfectly tempered chocolate, working on a slab of frozen marble or granite and literally seconds exposure time of the chocolate to the ice cold slab. You have to work fast and with confidence, as you should with most chocolate work. The colder room temperature we experience during our mild winters is perfect for this kind of work, but you should be able to do this in summer as well. In winter the chocolate will stay harder longer and might even be too hard to pleat at first and you will have to try a few times before you get the feel for it. In summer the chocolate will go limp much faster, even to the extent that it almost melts again. Simply lay it down on the granite slab to set a bit until it is ready to pleat. Again you'll have to experiment and get your own feel for when the chocolate is ready to obey your orders.

The beauty of these pure chocolate drapes are that they make the cakes look beautifully formal and classical yet there is a rusticity and looseness about them as the drapes cannot be perfect as what sugarpaste drapes are because you simply do not have long enough time at your disposal to fiddle with them.

Here follows some illustration and notes as to the process. I hope you are inspired!

Firstly, make sure the frozen slab is clean and dry.Condensation might cause ice crystals to form on the surface. Scrape these off and dry well.
Work fast and with confidence. As soon as you have ladled the chocolate on top start spreading.
 Now is not the time to hesitate or think twice. Spread!
The chocolate will set almost immediately because of the ultra low temperature of the surface.  Carefully lift the one end and pull it off the surface.
In winter I like to place the shocked chocolate sheet on a wooden surface and in summer back onto a granite surface at room temperature. You'll notice the chocolate go limp as it is exposed to the room temperature. It is then that you will have a few seconds to mould it into a drape or flowers. Good luck!

Here we even managed to make a bow - but this is a tricky one and I think I need a bit more practice before my next attempt.


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