FOOD

Sweet dreams of tempered chocolate...

By Pascale Perez-Rubin

I recently spent the day with Ika Cohen, a world-famous chocolatier. Shes worked with many famous chefs, has won numerous awards and is now the owner of her own chocolaterie called Ika Chocolate, in Tel Aviv, where she creates artisanal chocolates.

Cohen even won gold medal at the 2014-16 International Chocolate Awards for her zaatar praline. I asked her for a few recipes that are not too complicated, which anyone can make at home.

To prepare these chocolate creations, you must have a thermometer, a scale, patience and lots of love for the people who will enjoy tasting your final creations.

Tempering makes chocolate coating come out smooth and glossy. Its a process used when heating and cooling dipped chocolates.

When bittersweet chocolate reaches a temperature of 28C, it begins to crystallise. But you cant work with chocolate at this temperature, so it needs to be heated another three or four degrees to 31-32C. This is the only way to get a shiny, smooth chocolate coating.

If you dont temper chocolate, it will melt in your hand and can become grainy. You have to melt the chocolate over a bain-marie (double boiler) until it reaches 45C, stirring it every once in a while to keep it smooth. Add chopped up pieces of cold chocolate to the hot liquid chocolate. If you want to temper 1kg of chocolate, you melt 800 grams of chocolate until it reaches 45C, stirring it well.

Then you chop up the remaining 200g of chocolate and add it slowly to the melted mixture while stirring and then mix well.


Chocolate Liqueurs

Makes 4 cups

Ingredients

  • 100g sugar
  • 100g sweet cream
  • 100g milk
  • 80g dark chocolate, melted
  • A pinch of salt
  • 100ml whisky

Method

In a large pot, melt the sugar until it becomes caramel. Add the cream and milk and stir well.

Wait until the mixture cools to 70F. Pour on to the melted chocolate in a separate bowl.

Mix with a hand blender. Add the whisky and blend well. Let sit in the fridge overnight.

Transfer to an icing bag with a serrated tip and fill cups. Decorate with chopped hazelnuts.


White Chocolate & Strawberry Sabala Fingers

Makes 40-50 pieces, depending on how large you cut them

Ingredients

Dough:

  • 250g butter
  • 4g salt
  • 190g powdered sugar
  • 65g almond powder
  • 105g eggs
  • 125g plain flour
  • 365g plain flour

Topping:

  • 500g white chocolate
  • 100g dried strawberries

Method

Put all the ingredients, except for the larger amount of flour, into the bowl of an electric mixer with a dough hook.

Mix until smooth.

Then add the second amount of flour and pulse a couple of times.

Continue kneading by hand.

Transfer to a tray and cover with plastic wrap. Place in the fridge for a few hours. Roll out the dough until it is 7mm thick.

Cut strips that are 10cm by 0.5cm. Arrange them on a tray covered with baking paper and let them sit in a cold oven for another 30 minutes.

Bake in an oven that has been preheated to 155C until golden brown. Let cool.

To temper the white chocolate, heat to 28C and add the strawberry pieces. Mix well.

Dip the sticks into the mixture and then place on baking paper. Let dry in a cool room.

If its very hot out, you can place them in the fridge.


Hazelnut Treats with Chocolate & Strawberry Coating

Ingredients

  • 500g hazelnuts, peeled and roasted
  • 65-70ml water
  • 150g sugar
  • 15g butter
  • 500g strawberry-flavoured chocolate
  • 100g powdered sugar

Method

In a medium pot, melt water and sugar and cook until it reaches 118F.

Add the nuts and mix well until the sugar turns an amber colour and covers the nuts.

Remove from the flame and add the butter while stirring.

Line a large tray with baking paper and transfer all the hazelnuts to it. Separate all the nuts and let cool in the fridge.

Melt the strawberry chocolate in a bain-marie or in the microwave. Mix until smooth. Add one-third of the caramel-covered hazelnuts and stir so that all the nuts are covered with a thin layer of pink.

While youre stirring them, add a little powdered sugar, too.

Place on a sifter and let excess sugar fall away from nuts. Let cool completely and store in a glass container.


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