Editor’s note: When I wanted to write something about tempering chocolate for this Masterclass, I thought it best if I left it to an expert. So I sought assistance from Rebecca Kerswell, Owner & Head Chocolatier, Coco Chocolate (UK and Australia). Here’s her guest article. And as your bonus, you’ve scored a recipe for the scrumptious delights, Coco Chocolate Chilli Figs.
To me the real art of the chocolatier is knowing how to temper chocolate by hand. Many in the industry these days rely on tempering machines, but there I nothing as skilled (or romantic!) as tempering chocolate on marble with palette knives. It inspires the Vivienne in all of us, even if we temper chocolate every day.
Required temperatures for tempering chocolate vary depending on the cocoa mass of the chocolate and on the most basic level if the chocolate is dark, milk or white. I will take dark as my example as it is what I will use for the recipe for the Coco Chilli Chocolate Figs.
Tempering is about two things, movement and heat. Tempering realigns the crystallisation structure of the chocolate changing it from soft and dull in appearance to shiny with a wonderful snap. In case you are reading hoping to temper chocolate from home, I will make it as easy as possible and with the use of items found in the home.
Firstly choose a good quality couverture chocolate (available at Coco of Kirribilli). You will need approximately three kilos to effectively hand temper. Place the chocolate into a microwavable bowl (preferably ceramic or glass) and begin to heat the chocolate. Chocolate needs to be treated carefully so not to form hot spots and burn. Therefore, heat in short 30-60 second bursts and stir between each heat. For dark you need to heat the chocolate to 45 degrees C. When this is reached the chocolate will be fluid.
On a marble slab or counter, splash the chocolate out and spread with your palette knives. In a circular motion work the chocolate out and in, on the marble slab. This is keeping the chocolate moving at all times and the marble is cooling the chocolate. Remember tempering is about movement and heat. Keep this motion until the chocolate is thicker at 28 degrees C.
Scoop the chocolate back into the bowl and stir. Raise the temperature quickly to 31 degrees C. This is now perfectly tempered chocolate ready to make bars or truffles or hot chocolate or as below: Chilli Chocolate Figs!
Coco Chilli Chocolate Figs
Like most wonderful treats, this recipe began its life as a wonderful mistake that our customers soon demanded back. Originally we dipped figs in plain chocolate and then when not concentrating in one kitchen session, the figs were dipped in the chilli chocolate made for our Coco chilli chocolate bars by mistake. The result was a hit!
Using 1000 grams of your tempered chocolate add one teaspoon of ground chilli and stir well.
Ensure you have removed any stalk from the dried figs
Dip a fig at a time into the chilli chocolate with a fork and place onto greaseproof paper
Top with a sprinkle of crushed chilli
Simple and divine – Enjoy!
Just in case you’re wondering – I first met (namesake) Rebecca at her splendid treasure trove Coco of Kirribilli. Just the best place to enjoy a cup of hot chocolate too. To my knowledge, Rebecca is the only person importing ‘single origin’ Valrhona into Australia. (editor)
Coco of Kirribilli
3a-9b Broughton St
(cnr with Bligh St)
Kirribilli (Sydney) NSW
+61 2 9922 4998