Chocolate plaques

Chocolate plaques

By
From
PS Desserts
Photographer
Mark Roper

Chocolate curls, cigarettes and plaques make for lovely light garnishes that complement and add a little theatre to chocolate desserts and cakes. It might take some time to master but keep practising. For curls and cigarettes, you don’t have to go to the trouble of tempering the chocolate, while plaques are well worth the eff ort for their wow factor and the “crack” that they add to desserts when you bite into them. The great thing about working with chocolate is that if you do make a mistake you can just scrape it all up and re-use it! You can make all of these ahead of time and pull them out when you need to end the night with a flourish.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
200g best-quality dark or milk couverture chocolate

Method

  1. Finely chop or grate the chocolate and melt in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Let more than half of the chocolate melt before you give it a stir with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula.
  2. Remove from the heat and stir until smooth and shiny. The temperature of the chocolate should be 50–55ºC for dark couverture, no more than 50ºC for milk chocolate and no more than 45ºC for white.
  3. Tempering chocolate

    Pour two-thirds of the chocolate onto a cool work surface (marble and stainless steel are the best). Set aside the remaining chocolate and put back on the pan of simmering water off the heat to keep warm.
  4. Using a large step-palette knife or scraper, work the chocolate continuously, bringing it up over itself.
  5. Keep working the chocolate until it begins to thicken and the temperature drops to 26ºC.
  6. Scrape the chocolate off the work surface and return it to the bowl with the remaining warm chocolate.
  7. Stir the chocolate until it reaches 30–32ºC for dark and milk chocolate, and 28–29ºC for white chocolate. The tempered chocolate is now ready to use.
  8. Cut the sheet of acetate just a bit larger than your desired measurements. Use masking tape to stick the strips of acetate onto a work surface, leaving a few millimetres between each.
  9. Pour the tempered chocolate onto the strips of acetate.
  10. Spread the chocolate with a large steppalette knife over the strips of acetate to about 1.5 mm thick. Leave to set at room temperature.
  11. When the chocolate has set to the touch but is still slightly malleable, peel the strips off the surface.
  12. Place the strips upside down onto a clean surface, so that the chocolate is face down. Place a tray on top to prevent the chocolate from warping as it hardens at room temperature.
  13. To trim the plaques so that the edges are neat and flush, mark the chocolate with a knife heated under hot water, then cut the acetate with scissors.
  14. Keep the plaques in a sealed container in the fridge or freezer. Leave the acetate on the plaques until you are ready to peel them to serve.

Notes

  • These beautiful, shiny, crisp plaques add a satisfying snap to my Snickers and Raspberry and Chocolate Délice. They are also a wonderful decoration on cakes and mousses.

    Acetate is flexible transparent plastic film and is available from craft or specialty kitchenware stores.

    I use white chocolate curls to decorate my sablé breton with roasted figs, white chocolate mousse and port.
Tags:
PS
Desserts
Philippa
Phillipa
Sibley
sweet
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