This week was a busy week at Bluebird in Chelsea where I am doing some consultancy work as I’ve been redesigning the afternoon tea. Calling on a few skills and techniques that I learnt a long time ago at the start of my career when I was at Hambleton hall Hotel in Rutland (an amazing gem of a country house hotel and definitely recommended!) I came up with these mini tiramisu paves.
The outside shell is done by tempering which is quite an old school technique and one that is being somewhat forgotten in my opinion. You can buy machines that do it for you now but I still believe that it is actually quicker by hand. Once you know the technique, it really isn’t that hard but you do have to obey the rules.
For these mini paves, you slowly melt dark 70% chocolate to 54 degrees then remove a quarter and set aside. You then cool the rest gradually either on a marble work top or you can do it more easily at home over a bowl of cold water. You need to stir constantly until it reaches 26 degrees. Once this temperature is reached you mix the chocolate you set aside into the main mixture and stir well. Then the chocolate should be tempered. This means it should set quicker and have a nice shine and snap to it when it is fully cooled and set. Many things can affect this process such as over-heating the chocolate or getting water in it. Even the temperature of your kitchen if it is too hot can affect it, so it is important that the conditions are right.
But follow the rules and you should be ok. To test that the chocolate is tempered just spread a little evenly on the work surface and it should set very quickly and have a nice even shine and colour. If it sets with little white spots this is called blooming and will mean that unfortunately you will have to start again.
The paves in the picture are made using a decorator’s wood graining tool to spread the dark chocolate onto acetate and then by spreading white chocolate over the top. This softens the set dark chocolate and allows you to bend it into almost any shape that you want. These are perfect for the afternoon teas as they are delicate, look great and can be filled with whatever you want. These are filled with tiramisu and are going down a storm so far!
I am thinking of running a chocolate work shop so get in touch if you would be keen and I can see about organising a space to hold a class.