Working with chocolate is not difficult provided a few simple rules are followed. Once the chocolate has melted, you can make an assortment of fabulous shapes, for Easter and other occasions – and if you make a mistake, they can be all eaten!
Take Care When Melting Chocolate
The most important thing to remember when melting chocolate is to use a small bowl or basin, one that fits tightly over a pot of hot water, and the bottom of the dish must not touch the water. Nor must any steam escape from the water to contaminate the chocolate. If a drop of water, or steam touches the melting chocolate, it will instantly “seize” and refuse to become smooth and easy to work with. The same will happen if the water is boiling and too hot. Sometimes it’s possible to rectify the mistake by adding oil, but it’s best to use that chocolate for making coconut roughs, for example, and start with a fresh batch for the basket.
Chocolate “Bloom” Ruins the Appearance, Not the Taste
Don’t store your chocolate bowl in the fridge or the freezer, no matter how hot it is. If the chocolate gets too cold, it develops a grey “bloom”. This doesn’t affect the taste at all, but it does ruin the appearance. The bowl, once the chocolate has set, can be stored in a cool dry place.
Ingredients For the Basket
- 350 gr good quality chocolate, either dark or plain (70% cocoa solids is good, but other chocolate, like Red Tulip dark chocolate buttons, will also be suitable)
- Break the chocolate into squares and melt in a bowl over hot or just barely simmering water
- Stir gently until the all the buttons or squares have melted and the chocolate is smooth and glossy
- Line a 1.2 litre bowl – or a bowl of the desired size – with a double thickness of foil
- Using a pastry brush – make sure it is completely dry and doesn’t have a drop of water on it – cover the foil thickly with melted chocolate
- Leave the top uneven to create a naïve look
- Put the bowl in the fridge until the chocolate is set
- Paint on another thick layer of chocolate, and set again
- Carefully peel the foil from the bowl and place it on a serving dish
- If a piece breaks off, or the chocolate is too thin in places, repair it before using by dabbing on extra melted chocolate with the pasty brush, and allowing it to set before use.
- Fill this chocolate bowl with any combination of fruits or sweets.
- Strawberries and cream are marvelous and bright, as well as being tasty and romantic
- Slices or chunks of exotic brightly coloured fruits such as star fruit, kiwi fruit, cherries, oranges, green and black grapes look stunning. You can also dip the fruits in melted white or dark chocolate, starting with the driest fruit first, finishing with the slices of orange, as the moisture in the orange or kiwi fruit will seize the chocolate up.
- You can also fill the basket with tiny biscuits, cakes, a selection of nuts and dried fruits, either plain or dipped in melted white or dark chocolate, or commercial chocolates such as those by Ferrero Rocher, Godiva, and so on.
And once the treats inside the bowl are finished, the bowl itself can be eaten – eco friendliness at its best!
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