Havard SEAS lecture, 9/19/11, Ramon Morato

I’ve been hearing that SEAS has been posting the new lectures on iTunes if you’ve missed an evening. I haven’t personally looked it up yet. I can tell you that their youtube site does not have any of the Fall 2011 lectures up yet.

I didn’t post last week because I did not attend Joan Roca’s lecture. I was stressing over my fall schedule to be honest. And I realize now that the video link I posted for Harold McGee/Dave Arnold was the live lecture link. Oops. Well, at least I gave you a tiny summary, right?

Anyway, onto a discussion of chocolate!

Roman Morato was this year’s chocolatier. (Last year was Enric Rovira.) So, here’s a summary of things I’ve learned.

  • Fat is what make milk white. Skim milk still looks white (but not brilliantly white) because of the casein proteins still in the milk.
  • Chocolate solids have three different structures. Tempering chocolate is the chocolatier’s way of isolating one specific structure over the other two.
  • Ramon’s obsession is not chocolate, but preserves and marmalades. (^_^)
  • There are three main kinds of cacao beans used in chocolate: criollo, forastero, and trinitario. Criollo is the finest and most fragile. It only makes up of 1% of the world production. Forastero makes up of 80% of the world production because it is hardier. Trinitario makes up the remaining 10-15% of the world production.
  • Cocoa mass is 55% cocoa butter and 45% cocoa solids. Tablets of cocoa mass was handed out to the audience. It is very bitter stuff.
  • Mixing/agitation of chocolate in the tempering process is done on marble because marble is cool and doesn’t conduct heat. When making chocolate, the mixture is warmed to 40C, a liquid state. It is mixed on the marble slab, which is 20C, until the ideal temperature of 30C is obtained. The chocolate can then be transferred to a mold, and it will start to solidify very quickly. If you were to mold chocolate when it is still 40C, it would take a very long time to solidify. (Ramon demonstrated this with cards of paper dipped into 40C chocolate and 30C chocolate. After 10 minutes, the 30C had the solid shape and shininess of chocolate. The 40C chocolate was still in a liquid state.)
  • Thermographics/thermal imaging is pretty cool when examining tempering and other chocolate recipes.
  • I want a surface thermometer. My brother-in-law and I have had a running joke about surface thermometers since the spring. We were talking about using it for grilling. I now know that it is the perfect tool for measuring the temperature of one’s chocolate adventures! Or even just measuring the temperature of your mouth or the surface of a wall. Thanks Ramon! (^_~)
  • We were given chocolate covered corn puffs to taste. They were pretty yummy.
  • Ramon will trick you into thinking he screwed up. He was making a ganache with chocolate and liquid. It seized, or “the chocolate broke” as Ramon said. However, when Ramon added more liquid, the emulsion became fluid. Ramon called it a “chocolate mayonnaise.”
  • Chocolate mousse is also an emulsion. First you mix a hot custard with cold chocolate, so that the chocolate melts. Then you make a second emulsion by added whipping cream. Whipping cream is kept at 4C, if it is too warm, the fat solids will melt and you cannot incorporate air into the mousse. As a result, the chocolate must be at around 45C before you introduce the whipping cream. The final temperature of the mousse will be about 24C.
  • I bet you want a surface thermometer now too. (cough)
  • Enric Rovira covered the velvet effect, and so did Ramon. To recap, in case you weren’t there last year or you didn’t read my entry on it, a chocolate base is cooled to -18C. It is then sprayed with chocolate still in its liquid state. The thermal shock creates a textured effect on the surface of the chocolate as well as a color change. What was shiny and dark brown is suddenly matte-looking and a medium-toned brown.
  • Thermal shock is also good for making chocolate decorations. A very thin layer of liquid chocolate is painted onto a super cold slab of marble. Working quickly, the chocolate is both solid and malleable. The texture is not ideal for consumption but you can make ribbons and crazy shapes to decorate cakes, etc.

On our way out, we were given milk chocolates with salted caramel and pine nut butter. OM NOM NOM! I never thought to use pine nuts with chocolates, but it was really a lovely change and oh so very delicious. I want more. Dangit! I should have stolen another piece of chocolate and made a run for it!

I did not buy a copy of Ramon’s book for $130. Someone I know was thinking about it though. If he does, I’ll see if he’ll let me borrow it!

Reference links:

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