Recipe from Chocolates and Confections by Peter Greweling
Employees at my new office give “lightning talks” from time to time: short, under-five minute presentations on a topic of your choice. I thought it would be fun to do a tutorial on chocolate making and made a presentation with embedded videos and photographs. Here's the Web version:
The ganache is made from heavy cream, honey, milk chocolate and nut paste. I bought the latter from Madame Gateaux on the Danforth. Unfortunately, it is not pure sugar and hazelnuts, but has some quantity of cocoa in it, making it more like Nutella than a pure praline paste.
To begin, I heated the cream and honey so it dissolved and came just to a boil:
Next, I poured the heated cream over the chocolate and nut paste, then stirred it gently to melt and emulsify:
While the warm ganache was cooling, I toasted, skinned and chopped some hazelnuts:
The ganache is ready when it reaches 77°F. Too warm, and it will melt the hollow shells. Too cool, and it will be too viscous to flow and settle into the cavities.
Here's what the tray of shells looks like:
To fill these shells, I needed to transfer the ganache into a piping bag:
Using a small round tip, I piped ganache to fill the bottom half of the shell:
This allowed me to place a hazelnut in the centre of the chocolate. The holes in the shell were too small to accomodate a whole hazelnut, so I had to roughly chop them:
Next, I filled the shells almost to the top with the rest of the ganache:
The filled shells need to crystallize so the interior is solid enough to support the chocolate for sealing. I let it sit overnight, covered.
The next evening, I took out some chocolate:
And chopped some of it into small pieces for tempering:
Because the chocolate needed for sealing is such a small quantity, I didn't bother with a big pastry bag, and used a paper parchment cone instead:
I piped just enough to cover the open hole in the shells:
And here's the completed tray of sealed shells, after about 15 minutes:
I kept the bowl of tempered dark chocolate at the working temperature of 89°F, by zapping it repeatedly in the microwave when it cooled. Using a round dipping fork, I coated each shell in chocolate and set it on a Silpat:
After every 4 or 5 pieces, before the chocolate completely set, I sprinkled some chopped hazelnuts on top:
The finished product again: