Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Krokant = Nougat

The Europeans call "krokant" what Americans call "nougat" which specifically refers to a product made from caramelized sugar and nuts. In this case, we also included chocolate, and in Tuesday's class, we made three different types of krokant. The Chef who instructs this course is German so this is one of the reasons why we refer to these items as "krokant."

The first type we made is called Almond Blaetterkrokant, or Almond Leaf Nougat. I honestly don't fully understand the "leaf" part of the term, so that's all I have in describing these terms. For this recipe, we melted sugar to caramelize it; sugar begins to change to a light brown color around 325 degrees F while it becomes a darker caramel around 360 degrees F; we don't actually measure this with a candy thermometer, but instead examine the color, careful not to burn it. Sugar burns are the worst burns imaginable on skin, so it's essential to be careful when working with sugar and caramel. As the sugar was heating on the stove, we warmed a marble slab and created a well with the almond/nutella mixture. The caramel was poured into the well of the almond/nutella mixture, and I used two oiled bench scrapers to quickly and carefully incorporate all three ingredients together. This mixture was then placed between two oiled pieces of parchment paper and rolled with a rolling pin to a thickness of 1 cm. After cooling, we worked to cut these into 1 inch squares which were then dipped into dark chocolate. As you can see in this photo, some of these were imprinted using a dipping fork with three lines; this is a technique used by chocolatiers to denote differences between chocolates:

The second type is called Soft Krokant. To make this, we first softened marzipan by kneading heavy cream, cinnamon, and vanilla into it. Butter, glucose and sugar were melted on the stove, again to 360 degrees F to become caramel. The caramel was poured over almonds, warmed heavy cream, and pieces of the marzipan and mixed until incorporated into a filling. Again, we rolled this between two oiled pieces of parchment paper to 1 cm thickness. Once cool, we covered one side with dark chocolate; after this set up, we cut 1 inch squares, and practiced a new technique for dipping them into dark chocolate:

The third type of nougat was Fruit Krokant. We melted the sugar again to caramel stage, which was first poured over honey and butter to incorporate. Next the mixture was poured over crushed almonds, pistachios, and walnuts, and finally, the mixture was poured over a banana compound and mixed until incorporated. Again, once cool, we covered one side with chocolate, and after it set up, we cut 2 cm x 3 cm rectangles. These were dipped in dark chocolate, but the top was left uncovered:

I wasn't overly excited about the taste of the Fruit Krokant, but the other two were absolutely delicious. And I was able to take a few (although not very great) photos of previous chocolates from class, so here's a look at some of them.

This is the photo of the mocha sticks, 1 in pieces, with mocha ganache covered in milk chocolate:

This is a photo of the Baumstaemmchen or Pistachio Aida, where baumstaemmchen = "tree trunk", with pistachio marzipan over nutella ganache and covered in dark chocolate:

This is a photo of Nougat Montelimar, with almond/pistachio nougat covered in dark chocolate:

I think next week is our final week on chocolates. On one hand, this is good because I am in chocolate overload. Like I wrote about earlier, the pace of this class is crazy in terms of production, and after four weeks, the monotonous nature of it in general seems to have run its course. I also feel like I eat way too many of these in terms of sampling during class and so my body is ready for a break. On the other hand, I do really enjoy the chocolate process, and it has been great to learn so many different techniques for various fillings and coatings. I feel confident that I've learned a great deal that I could produce chocolates at home in a professional manner, so that's definitely exciting.

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