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Old 02-13-2007, 12:10 AM   #1
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Calling all chocolate experts!

Here's the problem: I'm trying to make a chocolate cage, and eventually want it to looks similar to the following picture:



Right now I'm trying to practice by using the methods described by Bo Freiburg in his book "The Professional Pastry Chef", if any of you are familiar with that. His book illustartes a spherical "bird cage" constructed by blowing up a balloon, trying it off, coating it in vegetable oil, and then piping chocolate onto the oiled balloon, letting it cool, and then slowly releasing the air, leaving the cage intact.

I've managed to make the cage properly, but the chocolate will not set at room temp. So far I've had to freeze the balloon for about 90 seconds to get the chocolate to set before I've been able to release the air and stand my cage on a plate. Of course, the cage quickly melts. I used Bo's simple recipe for Piping Chocolate (12 oz. Dark Coating Chocolate, and 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of simple syrup). The directions state that the melted chocolate should form soft peaks after adding the simple syrup. My chocolate never achieved soft peaks, so I stopped adding simple syrup after 1 teaspoon.

His recipe calls for Dark Coating chocolate, which I was told is the same thing as baker's chocolate. Is this correct? I purchased 12oz of Ghiradelli 60% Cacao Baking Bars to use for my chocolate. Is this the wrong type of chocolate to be using?

I guess I'm looking for someone to identify a flaw in my process. I was told that baking chocolate didn't need to be tempered, so I didn't temper. Also, I'm not entirely clear on the process. If anyone has any ideas, I could really use some help to crack this one.

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Old 02-13-2007, 01:12 AM   #2
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Where's aguynamedrobert? I'm pretty sure he'll have the answers you're looking for!
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Old 02-13-2007, 03:28 AM   #3
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Not a cage, but I saved a few recipes for making chocolate dessert bowls (using balloons). Perhaps reading through these methods/recipes & video will help:

Exploratorium Magazine: Chocolate: Activity: page 2

Visual Recipes - Chocolate Bowls for Ice Cream Recipe


Great Recipes Online: Edible Chocolate Bowls

Chocolate Lace Bowls - Cooking for Kids
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Old 02-13-2007, 04:46 AM   #4
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this first one will help you out. the second one is nice too. use the kind of chocolate that tastes good to you.

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Old 02-14-2007, 05:24 PM   #5
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Ok- I've been tinkering around with this a little more, and I think my problem may be that I need to temper, (and now I know how to do it properly) and possibly omit the simple syrup from the recipe. I'll admit it does make for a very nice shine, but I think the simple syrup might be part of the reason I'm having trouble working with my shapes at room temperature.

Also, the balloons are very difficult to work with to try to get the shape on the picture in my first post. So I'm trying to brainstorm for other ways to make that tower shape. I have 2 metal cylinders, like the type you might use to make a molded salad, and thought that if I lined those with a layer or parchment or wax paper if I might be able to peel away the paper from the chocolate once it has set. Anyone have any experience with a procedure like this?

Also, any ideas you might have on how to create that tower shape are appreciated, and I'm willing to try anything that might work.
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Old 02-15-2007, 12:01 AM   #6
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Ok I'm not sure why he said to add simple syrup but throw that idea out out out the door! lol...

Bakers chocolate is a brand and sometimes refered to as 100% cocoa content chocolate. Either way it is real chocolate and not chocolate coating or compound...It still has the cocoa butter in it and not vegetable fats like coating or compound...

This means your idea you just mentioned was correct...you need to temper the chocolate.

I like your idea of using cylinders to get that effect....you can temper chocolate and then pipe it out around the cylinder and then try to pop it loose when you are done and you will have your shape...

You are on the right track with the cylinder, tempering, and not adding the simple syrup...keep it up and let us know how it comes out...

Good Luck!

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Old 02-15-2007, 12:07 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aguynamedrobert
Ok I'm not sure why he said to add simple syrup but throw that idea out out out the door! lol...

Bakers chocolate is a brand and sometimes refered to as 100% cocoa content chocolate. Either way it is real chocolate and not chocolate coating or compound...It still has the cocoa butter in it and not vegetable fats like coating or compound...

This means your idea you just mentioned was correct...you need to temper the chocolate.

I like your idea of using cylinders to get that effect....you can temper chocolate and then pipe it out around the cylinder and then try to pop it loose when you are done and you will have your shape...

You are on the right track with the cylinder, tempering, and not adding the simple syrup...keep it up and let us know how it comes out...

Good Luck!

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Old 02-15-2007, 12:30 AM   #8
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I knew he'd have the right answer!
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Old 02-15-2007, 01:15 AM   #9
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I did try to pipe the chocolate directly onto the cylinder, after lubricating it of course, but it stuck pretty badly. I need to head to the store and buy some more chocolate and parchment paper as well, and see if that idea works.

Could the Cacao% effect the ability of the chocolate to set properly?
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Old 02-15-2007, 02:01 AM   #10
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Wow you guys are so supportive! I love this forum...
-----------------------------------------
Anything in the higher cacao contents should act very similar in setting properties...I like your parchment paper idea as well...try that out...

If for some reason that doesnt work then you can always get two half cylinders the same size and pipe the cylinders in halves and then glue them together with more tempered chocolate...

Let us know how it works...I'm eager to see how you pull it off...

Have a good one,
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Old 02-15-2007, 02:05 AM   #11
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I just had a great idea....what you could do is...

Pipe out your design in the shape of the full cylinder(sketch out the full size of the cylinder in light pencil) on parchment and then as the chocolate sets up you can wrap it around the cylinder....I bet that would work very well...i did something like that back in culinary school to pull something off...

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Old 02-15-2007, 02:49 AM   #12
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Thanks for the tips robert. I think what I will try first is to wrap parchment around the cylinder, pipe my chocolate and let it set, then slide the parchment paper off, and peel the parchment away from the chocolate. I only hope its not too delicate and breaks when i peel the parchment away.

I had the same idea about piping out my design on flat parchment and then rolling it around the cylinder. I think that may turn out to be the better idea because it will be MUCH easier to pipe out my designand once i get used to rolling it around the cylinder, it will turn out very nicely. I might have time to try this out again tomorrow, and if I manage to pull it off I'll be sure to post pics.
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Old 02-15-2007, 06:38 PM   #13
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OK- I just made another attempt, using the method of wrapping parchment around my cylinders, and then trying to peel the parchment away after the chocolate had set.

The shapes went on beautifully, the chocolate set properly, but when I tried to remove the parchment, the tower broke. Because the pipes are so thin they break pretty easily. This sort of makes me wonder if I can do this by piping on flat parchment and then rolling it, b/c I think it would break then as well. The only other thing that might work is if I make the pipes closer together, which might help reinforce the structure.

So its back to the drawing board folks, I need some ideas on how to make this shape possible. The good news is that my chocolate is holding up wonderfully at room temp. So any ideas on how to pipe out that structure are welcomed and encouraged!
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Old 02-21-2007, 01:42 AM   #14
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I got it to work! Finally!

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Old 02-21-2007, 03:07 AM   #15
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There ya go! Great job...doesn't it feel great to finally figure something out in the culinary world...so much to learn and have fun with...great job!

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Old 02-21-2007, 11:29 AM   #16
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It's not pretty yet, but hey, I'll take it. I seem to have unearthed a passion for fancy plated desserts as of late, and I have the feeling I'll be making more of these, so I'll get plenty of practice1

I accomplished it by greasing the inside of my cylinder, then filling with the mousse and freezing it. Then I cut out a strip of parchment the same height as the mold, and piped chocolate in intersecting lines. Finally, I removed the frozen mousse from the cylinder and simply rolled it up in the parchment, and the chocolate set up as I went along.

After that I just had to peel back the parchment, and let the mosse thaw in the fridge until it was ready to serve. Topped it with Grand Marnier marninated strawberries, and a bit of strawberry coulis and a strawberry fan to garnish.
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Old 02-21-2007, 12:10 PM   #17
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that looks so good man!!! but what I was thinking the entire time is if you pipe out the chocolate onto the cylinder,balloon, mold whatever wouldnt it run?
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Old 02-21-2007, 03:56 PM   #18
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TSI- You have to wait until the chocolate gets to a certain temperature before you pipe it; the point at which it's very thick because it's close to becoming the temperature it will set at, but liquid enough that it's workable. I try to pipe at around 82 or 83 degrees. Piping at anything about 90, and maybe lower, will definitely result in very runny chocolate that is difficult to work with.

Actually, chocolate is always difficult to work with.. what a finicky ingredient! But I have to say it does feel good when you can create something using chocolate as a medium.
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Old 02-21-2007, 04:40 PM   #19
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I got it to work! Finally!

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this is really nice, college_cook. Now hand it over...........
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Old 02-21-2007, 04:45 PM   #20
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lol- The mousse actually didn't turn out quite like I had anticipated.. the flavor was really subtle, which is good for a mousse, except that the Grand Marnier marinated strawberries really just trumped the flavor of the mousse. The texture was really great though, very light and airy, which I was happy about because it was the first time I had ever used gelatin for a mousse.
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