Yes, you guessed right, this will be a totally chocolate article! In our last article we promised a recipe for a chocolate cream and we will of course keep our word.
In our new, chocolate article we will learn the types of chocolate, their qualities and their sweet stories, look for professional secrets about each type’s right use and make a healthy chocolate custard with biscuits. We keep suggesting healthy desserts, this time with no sugar, so that we prepare and enjoy our sweets with less remorse… So, let’s go for a trip into the world of chocolate!
In our first chocolate article we had talked about how chocolate is made. To sum up, the procedure is the following: the cocoa tree fruits are opened to take out the seeds, which are fermented and dried out. The seeds are then checked, cleaned, roasted and ground. This way chocolate liquor is produced.
From this moment the various types of chocolate make their appearance. Dark chocolate consists mainly of chocolate liquor with the addition of cocoa butter and sugar. If the cocoa liquor get mixed with milk and sugar, the result is milk chocolate. When the chocolate liquor gets pressed and separated, we get cocoa powder and cocoa butter, from which white chocolate is made. Cocoa butter is also added to other chocolates to enrich their flavor.
We read that what separates chocolate is the percentage of cocoa, that is the cocoa liquor and the extra cocoa butter content. The higher the cocoa percentage in a chocolate, the denser its flavor is.
Dark chocolate contains at least 35% cocoa liquor, which can rarely reach 80%. In pastry we usually use dark chocolates with 65-70% of cocoa, which gives an intense flavor without covering other ingredients, in mousses, custards, ganache, chocolates, chocolate truffles, cakes, tarts, entremets and much more.
Dark chocolate is the oldest of chocolates, as it exists since 1900 BC, when the Mayans used to drink chocolates as a beverage. We read that the first commercial dark chocolate bar was produced in 1847 in the factory of the British company Fry’s in Bristol. The first milk chocolate was created some decades later, in 1876, by Swiss confectioner Daniel Peter, who added milk powder to chocolate liquor.
Milk chocolate, according to its name, contains at least 12% milk and 25% cocoa liquor. Milk chocolate is the chocolate of our childhood, when dark chocolate tasted bitter and unpleasant… Best milk chocolates have 30-40% cocoa liquor. They also contain sugar, and sometimes vanilla and emulsifiers.
Milk chocolate is usually enjoyed in bars, since it is quite sweet to use it in recipes, without of course excluding its use. It can be used for example in chips in biscuits and cookies or as a coating on entremets and ice creams. It is usually used in combinations with the more bitter dark chocolate.
White chocolate is often accused of not being a chocolate at all. The indictment is based on the argument that the so-called white chocolate does not contain any cocoa liquor and is therefore not chocolate. It is made with cocoa butter, sugar and milk. White chocolate is becoming more and more popular in pastry. It is usually combined with exotic fruit, such as mango and berries, but it can also be found in glazes, chocolates, chocolate truffles and many more.
In white chocolate’s defence, chef David Lebovitz highlights that we keep calling burgers hamburgers, even though they contain no ham and milkshakes by their name, even though they are no longer shaked but blended. So, why not consider white chocolate a chocolate, since it comes from the same source as the rest of them?
In Greek food and drink regulations we found white chocolate must contain at least 20% cocoa butter to be named like that. As for white chocolate’s history we read that there is general consensus that it was produced for the first time by Nestlé company in 1936 in Switzerland, as a way of using up milk powder that had been produced for World War I and for which there wasn’t much demand anymore.
When our recipes contain chocolate, we usually use chocolate couverture, whether dark, milk or white. Consequence, the reasonable question comes up: what is chocolate couverture? We learned that it is a high quality chocolate, which contains a higher percentage of cocoa butter (31%-35%) than other chocolate types. Its name, couverture, means coating in French. In pastry it is indeed used for coatings and decorations, but it is also the basis for most chocolate preparations.
Another difference between couverture and other chocolates is that it needs tempering, ie a special way of mixing. When chocolate melts, cocoa solids get separated from cocoa butter. When chocolate temperature drops, those ingredients will cool separately and the chocolate will become blurry and white. Tempering homogenises cocoa solids with cocoa butter and chocolate becomes stable and shiny. Only chocolate that will be moulded or used as a coating needs tempering, and nota mixtures that include chocolate, such as glazes that contain other ingredients too.
Ruby chocolate, with the characteristic pink colour, recent chocolate type that was launched a few years ago. Ruby chocolate was released in 2017 by the Belgian company Barry Callebaut, while the efforts for its preparation had started in 2004.
According to Barry Callebaut company, Ruby chocolate is neither sour, nor sweet or milky, but it has an original fruity flavour and soft texture. The company guarantees that doesn’t use any fruit or colourings. The pink colour and fruitiness come solely from the cocoa beans variety.
Having learned all those interesting and useful stuff about the various chocolate types, we will make a chocolate custard with chocolate couverture, that we found in the book Sweet & Healthy (2019) book written by Athina Panou. We warmly thank Psichogios Publications for the books they sent us -the second one is coming in one of our upcoming articles and it will be savory, so stay tuned!
Chocolate custard with cake or biscuits
*We are translating the original recipe, as it is published in the book.
Preparation time: 7′, Cooking time: 10′, Portions: 5-6, Calories/portion: 469
|100 gr chocolate couverture 50-55%|
|380 gr milk|
|80 gr honey|
|40 gr flour|
|1/4 tsp salt|
|2 vanilla capsules|
|2-3 cake slices or 6-7 leftover biscuits, for serving|
«Tip! Add orange zest, if you want.»
1. Pour the milk, honey, egg, yolks, salt, vanilla and flour into a blender
2. Blend just to combine them.
3. If you don’t have a blender that fids them all, mix them very well with a hand whisk or a mixer in a bowl.
4. Pour the mixture into a saucepan on medium to high heat, and stir constantly.
5. The heat mustn’t be very high, so that the eggs don’t cook.
6. As soon as the mixture starts to make bubbles and thicken, take it off the heat.
7. Cut the couverture into pieces and add it to the mixture, stirring quickly so that it melts.
8. Ρour the cream into a pyrex pan and cover it with cling film, that touches its surface. Wait for a while for its temperature to drop and put it into the refrigerator.
9. When the custard cools, you can whisk it in a mixer with the paddle attachment (preferably) to fluff it up.
10. You can omit steps 8-9 and pour the custard right away into cups with crumbled biscuits or cake. Then cover them with cling film and put them into the refrigerator.
We poured crumbled oat biscuits into jars, added our custard and topped with white and dark chocolate sprinkles, since our article is about the various types of chocolate.
We also filled the bird nests that we made in our previous article and it was it was a perfect combination!
We also thought that it would be a great topping for cream puffs…
You should absolutely try the chocolate custard! Enjoy everyone!