10 Mar 2017
This is not actually a course to eat during the meal, but rather a parting gift of homemade raspberry chocolates for guests to take home and enjoy later. I think it's a perfect over-the-top conclusion to an already long and enjoyable meal.
I was surprised when I started this project at how difficult working with chocolate is - I thought, melt the chocolate and pour it into molds right? Well, technically, but my recipe research started turning up words like "beta crystallization" and I began to think I was in over my head. These chocolates are prepared sous vide using the temperature curve for dark chocolate described by ChefSteps. There are more traditional ways to temper chocolate than sous vide, but given the option for precise temperature control I'll take it! The ChefSteps recipe is written in terms of Valrhona chocolates feves - I used a Guittard 64% baker's bar with decent success. Make sure your chocolate of choice only contains cocoa butter, cocoa solids, and sugar; chocolates with other fats won't temper properly.
Note: water is the enemy of chocolate; it's optimal if you have a vacuum sealer for this recipe. Make sure to work carefully and don't get any water near your chocolate.
Coulis is a nice name for pureed and strained vegetables or fruits. In this case, we're making a raspberry coulis to be a filling for the chocolates by gently simmering and blending raspberries in a 40% simple syrup (simple syrup is traditionally equal parts water and sugar) with a little xanthan gum to thicken.
Makes 2 cups.
A key step in the process is rapidly decreasing the temperature of the water bath. This is easiest when changing out a substantial portion of the water; use a smaller container to minimize waste (I used a stockpot instead of my 12qt Cambro).
Makes 12 chocolates
180g chocolate (1 Guittard 64% semisweet baking bar)
Raspberry coulis, from above
Sous vide setup