Tuesday, July 25, 2006

White Chocolate and Green Fingers

It seems that most of my cooking successes of late have been the results of happy accidents, projects that went awry, or just changed plans.I had originally intended to make some little chocolate cakes with a melty, chocolate centre comprised of a combination of white chocolate and pistachio paste. This of course requires that I make the chocolates first, then embed them into the cake batter. However, after making the little chocolate morsels, I decided that I really didn't feel like making the little cakes, as I now had a nice pile of tasty pistachio chockies.
The first step to making these chocolates was a trip to the local bulk food store (handily located inside the Grocery Palace) for some supplies. I picked up a good-sized bag of white chocolate wafers, one of dark chocolate wafers, a plastic sheet containing fifteen little chocolate rosette molds, and a big bag of pistachios. I then proceeded to shell the nuts, turning my fingers an attractive shade of bright green. What fun.
The next step was to create the Pistachio Paste (recipe below, picture above) that would be mixed with the melted chocolate. I got the recipe for this from a site called The Accidental Hedonist (recipe here). According to the recipe, this concoction is supposed to end up resembling marzipan. Yeah, right. I think it was a combination of not grinding the nuts finely enough, and adding too much water, but my stuff looked more like a mixture of cheap peanut butter and grainy mustard. It tasted fantastic, just looked a little oogly.I then melted some of the chocolate wafers in the microwave. I found that this was the easiest method, rather than messing around with a bain-marie or a double boiler. The instructions that came with the plastic molds say to melt the chocolate for 30 seconds at a time, mixing after each time. It took on average four to five times to get the chocolate smooth enough to work with. The trick with the chocolate was that I had to be quick on the draw after mixing in the pistachio paste, as the mixture cooled rapidly. I spooned a dollop of the mixture into each little mold, attempting to fill in all of the nooks and crannies (a difficult job, let me tell you), and then smoothed off the tops. The sheet went into the fridge for 15-20 minutes to set.
They came out looking like this. I was so pleased with the result, I ate several in celebration. It was at this point that I decided to bag the whole cake plan and make some more chocolates. I repeated the process with the dark chocolate, with equal success. They tasted similar to a crunchy peanut butter cup, although I must say that these were tastier.

Since I already have the plastic mold, and the chocolate wafers are only about $.75/100g (about 1/4 lb), this seems to me to be a cheap way to enjoy one of my favourite things.

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