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Posted in April 2009

Chocolate chantilly with marsala

one of the truly new and exciting recipes I have found out about recently is chocolate chantilly. It employs the physical properties of chocolate and a thermal cycle to form a stable cream or even a crumbly foam. The recipe (also here) is due to Hervè This, and it is really simple and delicious. Somewhere I had read a hint that you can do the chantilly with any liquid, so I decided to try with marsala, an Italian sweet wine from Sicily.

I also decided to do a little experiment with the amount of liquid. I had previously did the chantilly with the same amount of water and chocolate: so a 200 grams tablet of dark semisweet chocolate with 200 grams of water. I suspect that the cocoa in the chocolate is what does all the work in the recipe, and in fact when I tried it with milk chocolate (that always has much less cocoa) it did not work so readily. 

Boldly, I added 150 grams of marsala to 120 grams of dark chocolate (68% cocoa). I melted it in a steel bowl placed insde a pot of water, and as soon as the chocolate had started melting I boldly added all of the marsala (if you add it a little bit at a time the chocolate "seizes", which is something you don’t want) and whisked it all together. I had a nice liquid cream, very liquid, and then I transfered the bowl into another bowl full of ice and water (the very plain bowls IKEA sells work really well for this), and I started whisking. The mixture chilled, it started forming bubbles, but no matter how much I chilled it it would not thicken. Not enough cocoa!

The beautiful thing about chantilly is that it is rather forgiving: if this happens, you can just return the whole mess to the pot of hot water and add more chocolate. This I did: 40 more grams of chocolate. Melt, whisk together until smooth. I returned to the ice bowl, and it all came together very satisfying, just like theory says. I whipped it until it became crumbly, and used some of it to make chocolate truffles (melt chocolate, temper it, dip little balls of chantilly in it, wait, coat with cocoa), but most of it is being eaten right now.

What does it taste like? Delicious! 

more interesting links to explore

FoodUX, gastronomic inspirations for user interface designers.

the peculiar Meatpaper magazine, "a print magazine of art and ideas about meat".

Buddha shaped gelatin mold.

Bizarre English people that try to bring gelatin back into fashion.

Mr. Bompas said that the pleasure of the jelly is not necessarily in the eating. “It’s watching it wobble,” he said. Mr. Parr agreed: “You’ve got to have the wobble.

The amateur gourmet blog reports from the pop side of food.

The joy of silicone molds by Silikomart.

Fascinating orange-almond cake without flour. 

an international conference on food styling and photography.

Philips Design on food (trends?)

Unfortunate URL but interesting content: Culiblog.

Recipe formats

this could actually be a little paper of its own. Some notes:

On the usability of recipes. This is actually a very interesting topic, I have seen recently one remarkably clear recipe format in cookingforengineers.com – I am including here a little example, but this is actually a good theme for graphic designers and information designers.

Is this format entirely obvious to you? Is it convenient? I like it, but I am used to strange notations.

Hervè This in This, H. (2007). Modelling dishes and exploring culinary ‘precisions’: the two issues of molecular gastronomy. British Journal of Nutrition, 93(S1), 139-146. describes an interesting formal notation, but it looks more apt for describing food states rather than recipes.

Very interesting page of recipe formats at the microformats wiki. I should absorb it and criticize it one by one. Most interesting so far is David Mundie’s RxOL, that could be used as a guide to designing new formats and analyzing old ones.

Simply Recipes is remarkably clear.

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