We tend to eat chips as an occasional treat from our local chippie. I’m not sure I’ve ever eaten them three times in one week before. But when you can air fry them with just a teaspoon or two of oil and they turn out to be as delicious as these rosemary chips, they are very hard to resist.
|The master at work, not me|
The name Rococo for me conjures up images of sophisticated but slightly quirky chocolate luxury; a company steered by a woman who is thoroughly immersed in the world of fine chocolate. Chantal Coady is a name to be revered, she understands chocolate like few others. She is a chocolate pioneer and when she founded Rococo back in 1983, most of us in the UK had no idea what real chocolate was. Real Chocolate written by Chantal in 2003 was one of the first chocolate books I ever owned; reading the background and history of this most wonderful of substances, got me hooked (if it was possible to be even more hooked than I already was).
Rococo have teamed up with the kitchen expert Magnet to make a number of exquisite chocolates in one of their kitchens and have produced videos to show us how it’s done. In this YouTube video, principal chocolatier Barry Johnson makes Passion Fruit and Rosemary Caramels in the Integra White range at the Magnet Kensington Showroom. It’s an eleven minute step by step guide showing how to produce elegant chocolates including essential techniques such as how to use a mould, make caramel and those all-important finishing touches that delight the eye.
The flavours of passionfruit and rosemary had my mouth watering as soon as I heard about them. I adore passionfruit and when it is combined well with chocolate, it’s a real treat. The addition of the robust earthiness of rosemary is a great balancer to the fruity, tangy sweetness of the passionfruit. I had to have a go. As the video didn’t include quantities, I took an educated guess and the caramels worked out fine. I was only able to find one passionfruit, which wasn’t really enough, so I ended up with only eight caramels and some leftover tempered chocolate. For the 100g of dark chocolate couverture I used, a double quantity of the passionfruit and rosemary caramel would have been perfect, making sixteen large chocolates instead of only eight.
Following the video, but with a few tweaks to adapt to what I had in the kitchen, this is how I made:
Passionfruit and Rosemary Caramel Chocolates
- Using a paintbrush, lightly dusted chocolate moulds with silvery gold glitter as I didn’t have the means for Barry’s method.
- Tempered 100g of Costa Rica origin 71% dark chocolate.
- Coated the sides and bottoms of 16 chocolate moulds (I was being hopeful and only had enough filling for 8). Left to set.
- Pressed the insides of 1 large passionfruit through a sieve into a small pan.
- Added 1 tsp of glucose syrup and a few needles of freshly picked and washed rosemary.
- Heated over a low temperature until warm, then left to infuse for an hour.
- Heated a heavy bottomed pan over a medium to high heat, then poured in 50g golden granulated sugar. Left to caramelise and turn a light reddish brown.
- Removed from the heat and stirred in the passionfruit, mixing vigorously as I did so.
- Added 15g of unsalted butter, followed by 25g of a good 41% milk chocolate and mixed until smooth.
- Left to cool, then spooned into the moulds, leaving a 2mm gap at the top.
- Left for a couple of hours to set.
- Topped the moulds with the liquid tempered chocolate and left to set.
- Removed with great care.
|My attempt at cutting neatly in half|
My chocolates may not have been as accomplished as Barry Johnson, but I was impressed with the results. The chocolate was tempered, with a good snap and a beautiful shine. In fact they were so shiny, they were virtually impossible to photograph. The chocolate was a high quality bar of Costa Rica origin 71% that I picked up at the Waterford Food Festival and it tasted delicious – rich and fruity but with no bitterness. The caramel was exquisite. It had a smooth soft texture and the flavours of sweet tart passionfruit, a hint or rosemary and rich chocolate melded perfectly. One of the points Barry mentions in the video is to be careful the caramel is well sealed by the chocolate as you don’t want it to leak out. I not only managed this, but also achieved a thin chocolate shell so the caramel was enhanced rather than overwhelmed.
So if you’re planning on holding a dinner party or need something special to wow friends and family, why not try making these mouth-watering Passion Fruit & Rosemary Caramels. Even if you don’t, watch the video anyway – it’s so interesting to see the process and watch a top chocolatier at work in a clean and tidy kitchen.
This is a sponsored post. I was not asked to write a positive review and as always any opinions expressed are my own.
As these chocolates contain a caramel flavoured with fresh rosemary, I am entering them into Karen’s Cooking with Herbs over at Lavender and Lovage. Mediterranean herbs are this month’s theme.
With rosemary being a Mediterranean herb, I am also sending this off as a posh Tea Time Treat to Janie over at The Hedgecombers and Karen over at Lavender and Lovage.
When Dom announced that this month’s Random Recipes was to choose something from a book gifted at Christmas last year, I thought oh good. I was thrilled to have received Tea with Bea as a present last year and really haven’t used it much. Now was my chance, I thought. But something was drifting around in the back of my mind, trying to get break through to the surface. With a feeling of doom, the thought finally emerged: I received two books for Christmas last year. The second was the highly regarded Cooking with Chocolate by Frederic Bau from the Ecole du Grand Chocolat Valrhona – eek! Don’t get me wrong, this is a fantastic book and I love poring through its pages whilst having fantasies about reproducing the high art of patisserie found therein. But these are, I should stress, fantasies, not actuality. I mean to say, me? Actually make something from it?
I used a random generator hoping against hope that Tea with Bea would be chosen; after all I did have a 50% chance. But, it was not to be. With heavy heart, I used the random generator once again. Page 378 gave me a concoction so complicated I nearly fainted on the spot. A cake made up of seven, yes seven different recipes: chocolate sponge, ginduja pastry, gold-dusted chocolate shards, chocolate custard, cocoa syrup, chocolate mousse and a chocolate glaze. I could see Christmas would have to be cancelled as I locked myself in the kitchen for the next few days. No, sorry Dom. For the first time in all these months of entering Random Recipes I was going to cheat. I had a tentative look at the recipe on the previous page and then looked again. Yippee, Golden Palets (or truffles to you and me). I was wanting to make chocolates for Christmas and to enter Vanessa’s virtual Lets Make Christmas chocolate event having sadly missed the real live one at the Rococo Chocolate Factory in London, so these would be perfect. Even the thought of tempering chocolate and the three stars donating hardest level recipe, did not put me off. These seemed to be simplicity itself in comparison to the da Vinci Code of cakes.
On 12/12/12 it was my Great Uncle’s 100th birthday. There is a big family get together up in Kent this weekend to celebrate this momentous and unusual event. I wanted to make a particularly good job of these chocolates as some of them are destined for the birthday boy. No pressure then.
Inevitably, I changed the recipe, but like to think I stayed true to the spirit of the golden palets. I flavoured the ganache with rosemary rather than vanilla and upped some of the quantities as I wanted to make a goodly number.
This is how I made rosemary chocolate truffles:
- Placed a large sprig of rosemary from the garden into a pan.
- Poured in 250ml double cream and bought to a simmer.
- Turned the heat off and left it to infuse until cold.
- Removed the rosemary.
- Added 2 tbsp of set Cornish honey and warmed the mixture up again until it was just hot and the honey had melted.
- Gave it a good stir.
- Melted 240g dark chocolate (Green & Black’s Cook’s 72%) in a bowl over hot water.
- Stirred until smooth then removed from the heat.
- Poured one third of the cream into the chocolate and stirred in quick small circles until all incorporated.
- Poured in another third and repeated followed by the final third.
- Added 25g of diced unsalted butter and stirred until smooth.
- Spooned some into 24 chocolate moulds and left to set overnight along with the rest of the mixture.
- Turned out the ganache from the moulds onto a silicone mat and rolled teaspoonfuls of the remaining ganache into 30 balls.
- Melted 340g of dark chocolate (Green & Black’s 72% Cook’s) in a glass bowl over hot water, ensuring it didn’t go over 58C.
- Removed from the heat and let it cool down to 29C
- Placed it back on the heat and raised the temperature to 32C
- Dipped the ganache pieces into the chocolate with a fork and placed on a silicone mat to set. Decorated some with a sugar flower and some with a light dusting of edible gold glitter – 54 in total.
- Hunted around for hours, trying to find suitable boxes to put them in.
- Used the remaining melted chocolate for other items which will feature on the blog in due course.
My tempering didn’t give my the glossy chocolate I was hoping for, but I wasn’t really surprised. Apart from anything else, my kitchen was colder than the fridge, which doesn’t make for happy chocolate. However, after the three hours it took me to temper the chocolate and dip everything, I was determined to be pleased with the results. They certainly tasted fantastic, with the flavour of rosemary coming through nicely, but not too strongly. The texture was beautifully smooth and with a bit of dressing up, they looked fine.
Dom may have a lot to answer for, but Random Recipes spurred me into action and produced a huge number of chocolate gift boxes, so I will forgive him 😉
I was so sorry to have missed the fabulous Lets Make Christmas gift swap with Vanessa Kimbell and Chantel Coady, but am delighted to be able to submit this post to the virtual version and thus play some part in the great chocolate event of the year. Incidentally Vanessa is very excitingly now running a cookery school in Northampton called Juniper & Rose.
With the rosemary playing such an important part in these chocolates, I am also submitting this to Karen’s Herbs on Saturday.
With two left over egg whites from making ice-cream and a Forever Nigella entry to submit over at Maison Cupcake, chocolate macaroons were my indulgence of choice. Sarah of Maison Cupcake has changed the rules, maybe as a new year’s treat and we can now make whatever Nigella recipe we like – hooray! After my last attempt at macaroons, which were delicious but exceedingly faffy, I thought I wouldn’t bother with the piping fiasco this time and just spoon the mixture straight onto the baking trays. Admittedly my first attempt gave a slightly more uniform result, but the difference was marginal and saved me a whole heap of time and mess. Inspired by the herb flavourings for truffles in my newest book Crazy Water Pickled Lemons, I added a couple of things that were not mentioned in the Nigella recipe, namely star anise and rosemary.
This is how I made them:
- Whisked two egg whites until nearly stiff.
- Added 12g cardamom sugar (caster) and whisked until completely stiff.
- Sifted in 12g cocoa, 65g ground almonds, 125g icing sugar and a pinch of star anise.
- Folded the sifted ingredients into the egg whites as gently as I could.
- Spooned teaspoonfuls (22) onto a baking tray lined with baking paper.
- Left for 20 minutes – to form a skin apparently which presumably is meant to eradicate cracking!
- Baked at 180C for 12 minutes.
- Removed from the tray with a spatula and as most of them had merged together whilst baking, cut them apart.
- Left to cool on a wire rack.
- Melted 75g milk chocolate (G&B 37% cook’s chocolate) in a pan over hot water with 5 tbsp double cream, 20g unsalted butter and a sprig of rosemary.
- Stirred until all was melted and smooth.
- Removed from heat and fished out the rosemary.
- Beat this with a spoon until it was thick enough to spread. As my kitchen was colder than the fridge, this didn’t take very long.
- Used generous teaspoonfuls to sandwich the macaroons together ending up with 11 fairly substantial biscuits.
Leaving the macaroons out to form a skin didn’t work, just like the last time. My macaroons came out exceedingly cracked. That’s OK, I like the cracked homemade look. However, they were just as delicious as I remember them. Crunchy on the outside and chewy in the middle. The presence of the star anise and rosemary were subtle, but noticeable and added a certain hint of sophistication and exoticism to the proceedings.
CT went off on one of his streams of consciousness and identified the taste of China and correctly described the taste as being like China meets the Med. It’s a marvel, he said with what you can do with an egg – the perfect food. At least that’s what I think he said – his mouth was full at the time.
Next time I make macaroons, I will stick to the spoon method as it is infinitely preferable to messing around with a piping bag and for incompetents like me, there is no discernible difference in result.