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Heston Blumenthal's Black Forest Gateau
February 5, 2007
12:00 pm
Chrissie
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
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July 4, 2006
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I was given Heston Blumenthal's "In Search Of Perfection" cookery book as a christmas gift. Those of you who live in the UK may have seen the TV series of the seme name on the BBC towards the end of last year.

For those of you who haven't heard of him, he takes a scientific approach to cookery, sometimes called "Molecular Gastronomy" or "Culinary Alchemy". Here is a brief description of what he does as explained on the book cover:

quote:


Heston, drawing on interviews with experts and cooks as well as using his own culinary and scientific research, sets out to discover what makes these Standards [the classic dishes he explores in the book] so great. He explores the origins of each dish, how to find the best ingredients, and of course the many different ways - and whys - of cooking them to perfection.


You can imagine how excited I was when I realised that one of the recipies he tackles in this book is Black Forest Gateau since one of the main and most important ingredients in this recipe is chocolate!

So what conclusion did he come to when looking for the best possible chocolate to use in Black Forest Gateau? I'm sure most of you can guess... of course it was Amedei Chuao. OK, not a surprising choice for us since we know great chocolate, but how happy I was to read this conclusion. I was even happier to discover as I read on, several pages describing his experience of visiting the Amedei factory and being shown around by Cecilia Tessieri. They discuss each step in the process of the production of chocolate at the factory including vivid descriptions of the machinery and the taste of the chocolate at each stage. He also comments on some of the other chocolates Amedei produce.

Looking at the final recipe he comes up with, he decides in the end to use several different chocolates to create the perfect Black Forest Gateau which consists of 6 layers:

a madeleine biscuit base
an aerated chocolate layer made using Valrhona Tanariva
a flourless chocolate sponge made using Amedei Toscano Black 66%
a layer of kirsch cream
a layer of chocolate ganache made with Amedei Porcelana
and, a chocolate mousse made using Amedei Chuao

To top it all off the finished cake is sprayed with a coating of melted Amedei Toscano Black 66% using a paint gun.

The resultant recipe is 6 pages long, it sounds amazing but I'm not sure I have the patience, time or money to try out such an extravagant recipe. However, it did make a very interesting read.

February 5, 2007
3:20 pm
ellie
london, United Kingdom
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That flourless chocolate sponge bit is most interesting... Could you possibly tell a bit more, Chrissie?

February 5, 2007
8:14 pm
confiseur
Switzerland
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...all very interesting and...

'To top it all off the finished cake is sprayed with a coating of melted Amedei Toscano Black 66% using a paint gun'

He incidentally thins the chocolate down with vegetable-oil!..Sorry, but the only addition you add to choocolate to thin it down so it can go through the spray gun is cocoa-butter...with no exceptions..

For me a classic case of the Emperors new Clothes...

February 7, 2007
6:42 pm
Martin Christy
London, United Kingdom
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I had a call earlier from someone saying that Amedei Porcelana is used in this recipe? Is that correct. It's going to be pretty hard to come by as the UK is only allocated 500 bars of the 2007 batch.

Martin Christy
Editor
http://www.seventypercent.com

Martin Christy Editor www.seventypercent.com
February 7, 2007
6:43 pm
Martin Christy
London, United Kingdom
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I agree vegetable oil is in general nasty, but cocoa butter is not so easy to come by for home experimenters. If it was a decent oil (organic walnut?) might that be more accetable?

Martin Christy
Editor
http://www.seventypercent.com

Martin Christy Editor www.seventypercent.com
February 9, 2007
3:23 pm
Chrissie
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
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July 4, 2006
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quote:


originally posted by ellie

That flourless chocolate sponge bit is most interesting... Could you possibly tell a bit more, Chrissie?



Ellie, sorry it took me so long to reply. Here is the recipe for the flourless chocolate sponge:

65g Amedei Toscano Black 66%
7 egg yolks
130g unrefined caster sugar
15g cocoa powder, sifted
5 egg whites

1. Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/Gas 4. Line a 21.5 x 31.5cm brownie tin with greaseproof paper and a little butter.

2. Break the chocolate into chunks and place in a glass bowl. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and let the chocolate melt. Leave to cool.

3. Beat the egg yolks with 65g of the caster sugar for 5 minutes, or until white and thick. Stir in the cocoa powder and melted, cooled chocolate.

4. Whisk the egg whites with the remaining sugar until soft peaks form.

5. Gradually fold the egg whites into the egg mixture, then pour into the brownie tin and bake for 20-25 minutes.

This recipe makes enough to be cut into 3 and used in 3 gateaux, you may need to increase the quantities to get a decent sized cake if using it on its own. I would also bear in mind that this sponge is then dipped in a cherry syrup and kirsch mixture before being incorporated into the gateaux so it might not be ideally eaten on it's own.

February 9, 2007
4:23 pm
Chrissie
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
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July 4, 2006
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quote:


Originally posted by confiseur

'To top it all off the finished cake is sprayed with a coating of melted Amedei Toscano Black 66% using a paint gun'

He incidentally thins the chocolate down with vegetable-oil!..Sorry, but the only addition you add to choocolate to thin it down so it can go through the spray gun is cocoa-butter...with no exceptions..


The recipe actually uses groundnut oil, not vegetable oil to thin the chocolate for coating the cake. I agree this is not necessarily an ideal choice but I think I can understand his reasons.

Martin suggests that perhaps '...cocoa butter is not so easy to come by for home experimenters.' I don't think this is the reason. Afterall, the Amedei chocolate is also difficult to source, particularly the Porcelana.

I believe the choice of oil rather than cocoa butter in this instance is primarily to avoid the topic of tempering chocolate, which as we all know is a complicated and delicate process that can take many attempts to master. The Black Forest Gateaux recipe is lengthy and complicated enough without having to go into tempering.

Personally, if I were to attempt this recipe I would coat the Gateaux with a thin coating of firm ganache rather than spraying with the oil thinned chocolate.

February 9, 2007
8:12 pm
confiseur
Switzerland
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quote:


Originally posted by Chrissie

quote:

Originally posted by confiseur

'To top it all off the finished cake is sprayed with a coating of melted Amedei Toscano Black 66% using a paint gun'

He incidentally thins the chocolate down with vegetable-oil!..Sorry, but the only addition you add to choocolate to thin it down so it can go through the spray gun is cocoa-butter...with no exceptions..


The recipe actually uses groundnut oil, not vegetable oil to thin the chocolate for coating the cake. I agree this is not necessarily an ideal choice but I think I can understand his reasons.

Martin suggests that perhaps '...cocoa butter is not so easy to come by for home experimenters.' I don't think this is the reason. Afterall, the Amedei chocolate is also difficult to source, particularly the Porcelana.

I believe the choice of oil rather than cocoa butter in this instance is primarily to avoid the topic of tempering chocolate, which as we all know is a complicated and delicate process that can take many attempts to master. The Black Forest Gateaux recipe is lengthy and complicated enough without having to go into tempering.

Personally, if I were to attempt this recipe I would coat the Gateaux with a thin coating of firm ganache rather than spraying with the oil thinned chocolate.


...the cake is chilled before spraying...in this case it is therefore not necassary to temper the chocolate as the sprayed chocolate/cocoa butter mixture
chrystalises immediately on impact with the cake...this is a well known process used by many professional patissiers across Europe and no doubt elsewhere for at least the past 10 years..

Another fundamental difference....Cocoa-Butter is solid at room temperature...oil is obviously not..
To repeat...and I dont care if the oil was hand pressed by virgins...the only addition you add to chocolate to spray is cocoa-butter...

February 11, 2007
11:29 am
Chrissie
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
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July 4, 2006
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quote:


Originally posted by confiseur

...the cake is chilled before spraying...in this case it is therefore not necassary to temper the chocolate as the sprayed chocolate/cocoa butter mixture
chrystalises immediately on impact with the cake...this is a well known process used by many professional patissiers across Europe and no doubt elsewhere for at least the past 10 years..


I apologise, I was not aware of this technique and that tempering would not be necessary in this process. Well then I suppose Heston has no excuse. I wonder why he decided to use oil instead of cocoa butter then. It seems odd to make such a substitution without a specific reason.

Heston Blumenthal's Black Forest Gateau | Recipes | Forum