Chocolate at Home by Will Torrent
Will kindly sent me a copy of his recently published, Chocolate at Home: step by step recipes to help you master the art of chocolate to review. As you can probably tell from the book’s subtitle, simplicity and clarity are the keynotes of the book. Will tells us that we can all make our own masterpieces at home, with a little help from him. Looking at some of the recipes in the book, I’m rather hoping he’s right, they are original and exciting – peanut butter & raspberry jelly truffles anyone?
After a brief introduction, including where chocolate comes from and how it’s made, the dark arts of tempering are mentioned. I have struggled with tempering since I first tried it and it’s been a rather hit and miss affair. Will makes it sound rather simple and gives illustrated step by step guidance on the different methods of achieving tempered chocolate. He then goes on to cover moulding, dipping and making ganache. It is then the recipes commence – and they sound good.
The chapter on chocolates and truffles starts with a classic truffle, followed by champagne truffles and then goes on to all sorts of more unusual delights. Whiskey and ginger barrels were just what CT and I needed when we were ill for so long over Christmas, I’m sure they would have sorted us out. Amaretto and toasted marzipan truffles sound too good not to try and Earl Grey and orange marmalade truffles would be perfect for my mother.
The next chapter is all about cookies, biscuits and bakes; it includes tried and tested favourites such as chocolate chip cookies, novelties such as roasted cacao nib & lavender tuile shards and twists on some classics. White chocolate & passion fruit ‘custard creams’ sound quite exotic and on another plain entirely from the rather humdrum custard cream biscuit we all know so well. My eye is very firmly on a recipe for spiced white chocolate & blackcurrant crumble cake which would be a brilliant vehicle for my chilli blackcurrant jam.
Such delights as white chocolate, coconut rice pudding with caramelised mango await in the chapter on desserts and puddings. Sophisticated apricot & rosemary délice resides alongside the more humble steamed chocolate pudding & custard. Comfort food par excellence.
The last chapter is on drinks and ice creams. As soon as I opened it, I wanted to rush down to the kitchen to make gingerbread hot chocolate, what could be more enticing on a cold and grey winter’s day? The ice cream, I find less enticing at this time of year, but I’m sure warmer weather will soon come and I’ll be keen to try out Will’s recipe for white chocolate, orange & cinnamon sorbet.
The photographs from Jonathan Gregson, are the sort that make you want to lick the page – or is that just me? Gorgeously dark, but so inviting, they capture the essence of chocolate compulsion. We’re doubly blessed, not only are the pictures art in their own right, but there is, unusually, one for every recipe in the book. Pictures of chocolate in its various forms abound, with molten chocolate flowing in sensuous and copious quantities.
I dived in soon after receiving the book and made a cake; I was very pleased by the results. I will be posting more on this soon. Meanwhile, I’m still trying to decide what to make next. I can’t help it, I do like a good cookbook and this is one I’m very pleased to add to my collection.
Thanks to Will Torrent and Ryland Peters for a copy of this book. I was not required to write a positive review and as always, all opinions are my own.