Preamble

Preamble

By
Julien Merceron
Contains
0 recipes
Published by
Hardie Grant Books
ISBN
9781742705804
Photographer
Jean Cazals

~A~

Acetate sheet

Available in specialist cooking equipment stores, acetate sheets are plastic sheets often used when making chocolates: for laying out chocolates that have just been dipped or to make chocolate sheets, for example. Unlike baking paper, which makes chocolate matte, the acetate sheet makes it shiny.

~B~

Baking paper cone

Used for piping small chocolate decorations or dots for ‘gluing’. Make a cone shape by rolling up a piece of baking paper that has been cut into a right-angle triangle. Fill it with melted chocolate and cut the tip of the point to pipe out the chocolate.

Browning butter

Gently melt the butter. First it will bubble, then sizzle. Once all of the water in the butter has evaporated and it takes on a hazelnut (‘noisette’) colour, pour it into a cold container so it doesn’t keep cooking and burn.

Butter – softened

This is butter that has been allowed to soften at room temperature, then worked with a spatula until it has an ointment-like consistency. To soften butter quickly, microwave it for a few seconds.

~C~

Caramel

To make a dry caramel, put a thin layer of sugar in the bottom of a saucepan. Over a medium heat, the sugar will melt and start to caramelise. Gradually add the rest of the sugar — don’t add too much at once because this might result in lumps of unmelted sugar.

Light caramel

Follow the instructions for making a dry caramel (above) and remove it from the heat when it is still a pale brown colour. Watch the strength of the heat because caramel changes colour very quickly.

Dark caramel

Follow the instructions for making a dry caramel (above) and cook until dark brown.

Caramel sauce

Follow the instructions for making a light caramel (above), then dilute with lukewarm cream.

Chocolate

Chocolate comes from processing the cocoa bean and combining it with other ingredients. Producing good chocolate is dictated by a rigorous process. The beans are removed from the cocoa pods then fermented (which is when they develop their first cocoa aromas and brown colour). They are then sun-dried and sent to processing plants which transform them into cocoa mass (through sorting, roasting, crushing and grinding). The cocoa mass that results from the grinding forms the basis of the chocolate. The mass itself contains about 50% cocoa butter.

Chocolatiers like À la Mère de Famille use a type of chocolate called ‘couverture’, which contains at least 32% cocoa butter (the cocoa butter contained in the cocoa mass plus the added cocoa butter in the recipe). This makes them more fluid to work with. For the recipes in this book, it is preferable to use couverture chocolate. Failing this, always try to use a chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa.

Dark chocolate

Dark chocolate is made from a blend of cocoa mass, cocoa butter, sugar, soy lecithin and vanilla. These ingredients are finely ground then blended (‘conched’) for 12 hours to develop the smoothness and flavour of the chocolate. The quantities of each ingredient vary according to the desired percentage of cocoa. For a chocolate with 70% cocoa, there is 70% cocoa mass and cocoa butter and 30% sugar.

Milk chocolate

Milk chocolate contains cocoa mass, cocoa butter, sugar, milk powder, soy lecithin and vanilla.

White chocolate

White chocolate doesn’t contain any cocoa mass; it is made from cocoa butter, sugar, milk powder, soy lecithin and vanilla.

Churning ice-cream

This involves using an ice-cream machine to freeze ice-cream while mixing and incorporating air into it at the same time. The ice-cream is ready when it is at about 6°C.

Cleaning sugar

At the start of the sugar cooking process (up to a maximum of 120°C), run a damp brush around the inside of the saucepan to ensure all of the sugar crystals are incorporated into the syrup.

~D~

Diluting caramel

Adding warm cream to a dry caramel lowers its temperature, stopping the cooking process. Be careful of the caramel spitting as it cooks — the saucepan you use needs to have high sides.

Dipping a bonbon or candied fruit in chocolate

Place the confectionery on a fork and dip it into tempered chocolate. Let it drain by lightly tapping the fork, then place the item on an acetate sheet. Keep the fork you use nice and clean and lightly reheat it if the chocolate sets on the fork. This operation needs to be performed quickly so the chocolate-covered bonbon doesn’t stick to the fork. It is generally necessary to prepare more chocolate than what is needed for coating so the ingredient can be dipped into it without damage.

~G~

Glazing biscuits

Brush biscuits with some beaten egg before putting them in the oven — this will make them nice and shiny.

~M~

Moistening a cake

Brush syrup over the sides and top of a cake. You can also dip the cake very briefly in cold syrup so it lightly soaks in.

~P~

Pulling sugar

Pulling and folding cooked sugar several times as it cools makes it become opaque and white. If the sugar is coloured, it will keep the colour and become lighter.

~R~

Rippling ice-cream

Lightly stir jam or coulis through ice-cream to create a ripple effect.

Rulers, an alternative to a tin

Set up 1 cm thick rulers on a silicone mat to create a square boundary for setting jellies. Pour in fruit jelly mixtures, allow to cool and then cut into squares.

~S~

Silicone mat

A silicone mat, unlike an acetate sheet, is heat-resistant. Sugar cooked to 160°C is poured onto this mat, which makes it easy to unstick once cool.

Skimming jams

Remove the froth or impurities that form on the surface of the jam using a skimmer.

Skimming syrups

Remove the froth or impurities from the surface of syrups using a skimmer.

Stopping sugar caramelisation

Dipping the base of the saucepan in cold water will stop the caramelisation process.

~T~

Toasting nuts

Toast shelled nuts for 10–15 minutes in a 160°C oven, or until they turn a lovely golden colour. You can then remove the thin skin from hazelnuts by rubbing them between your hands until the skin comes off.

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