How to temper chocolate
Chef Bruno demonstrates how to temper chocolate to make those glorious curls on your cake
Cake week featured beautiful examples of chocolate shaped into elegant forms. Chef Bruno shows us the perfect method of tempering chocolate to get the shapes you desire!
Tempering is a technique of heating and cooling chocolate to specific temperatures in order to stabilize the cocoa butter within the cocoa mass that makes up the chocolate. Stabilizing the cocoa butter means that when you make chocolate decorations, the chocolate will be an even colour, have a nice shine and will snap beautifully when broken. It will also melt at a higher temperature, due to the strong bond between the cocoa butter particles and the cocoa mass, so it will hold its shape better at room temperature. This kind of tempering is called the seeding method.
500g dark chocolate
Double boiler (or a heat-proof bowl fitted over a saucepan of gently simmering water)
Start with about 500g of high-quality dark chocolate. Put about 1/3 of the chocolate aside. Put remaining chocolate in a double boiler over medium heat and melt it, stirring frequently to prevent burning.
Once chocolate reaches 50 C, remove it from the double boiler. Be very careful not get any water in your bowl of chocolate, as water will make your chocolate seize and you will have to start again.
To cool down the chocolate, slowing add the reserved chocolate to the melted chocolate, stirring constantly — the movement during the cooling process is part of what helps stabilize the cocoa butter.
Continue to add chocolate, little by little, until the chocolate reaches 27 - 28 C.
Briefly put chocolate back on the double boiler until temperature comes back up to a working temperature of 31 C.
Spread tempered chocolate evenly on a sheet of acetate and put it in the fridge or another cool area (like a chilled marble slab) to begin to set.
Once chocolate begins to get dull on the surface but is not fully set, you can start to make different shapes with it.
To make impressive chocolate shards, score the chocolate into triangles.
For beautiful chocolate curls, score the chocolate to make strips. Twist the acetate to create a curl while the chocolate is still pliable.
Wrap the sheet around a rolling pin and place in the fridge to finish setting. Once set, remove acetate.
Gently arrange on your cake. Sophisticated and elegant!