Life by Chocolate

Chocolate, white, milk, dark, in all its forms forms life. Chocolate truffles, caramels, and other confections are at the core of enjoyment. This is life by chocolate because death by chocolate is the wrong attitude.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Recipe: Holiday Top Chef Tiffany's Salted Butterscotch Pudding Recipe

Question before the committee, can one make Tiffany's Salted Butterscotch Pudding as seen in the edits on TV. If you look at the recipe above, click on this posts title, and count up the hours, an eyebrow or two may raise in inquiry as to whether it is possible to actually make said recipe in the allotted time. (OK, I have to stop channelling Steven and Marcel at the same time. ;) (Actually, I believe they had 3 hours of cooking time and a half hour between each course. However, that hasn't stopped me from seeing if this could be done in one hour.)

Seriously, you can make the Tiffany's Top Chef Recipe very quickly if you take some short cuts. Strike that, not short cuts but if you understand the ins and outs of cooking. First of all, let me say that when I make desserts or my chocolates, I take my chef hat off and put on my pastry chef and chocolatier hat, both figuratively and literally. When doing pastry you have to slow down, change your attitude about almost all aspects of cooking, and basically, Ooooooommmmmmmm! To do this recipe, I stayed as Chef Mark and didn't make that transformation to Pastry Chef Mark. So, Valerie and Ann , there IS a Butterscotch pudding!

I was able to cool down the mixture in a scant 15 mins to 75-80 degrees using a salted ice bath with plenty of cold water. I used that same ice bath over and over adding ice to it. Remember, in a water bath, you want to have the water line up to the line of the liquid in the pot. I didn't change pots or do any of the nice things I normally do. I didn't even change into my whites. I just banged this out. The waiting time I could have used to cook other things but in this time, I'm writing my blog. Not even a half hour has elapsed. And the temperature of the mixture is down to 72 degrees.

Now, I made sure that the water in the water baths was hot before I put it in the oven. I even heated it up on the stove. I even had a Top Chef moment. I was moving so fast that I must have either filled the boats up too much or the hotel pans too much, and some of the water from the water bath go into the custard. So, I threw those out, refilled two of them, still having 9 boats filled with pudding. So, I made 12 all told though I did wind up throwing out three because of the water bath. (Another got water in it, as I was putting it in the oven, I think I burned my hand again, so what's new?, and I just left it, hoping that the water would bake out fast enough. I whisked it in.)

Remember I am preparing this for my guests so it still have to be good. So, within 35 mins, I had it in my preheated oven in a water bath. I couldn't get the bread in there as well, urfh, and Kim came in while I was putting it in the oven to tell me that Megan, our dishwasher, was sick and that she'd be doing the dishes. Thanks sweety. I love you.)

I set my alarm for 22 mins to see how much time it will take to bake it. I should be able to do the sauce in 10 mins. that'll mean about 1 hour for this recipe. As it turns out, it took for some about 30 mins. The ones in the hotter part of the oven were done in 20 mins and the ones in the cooler part in about 25 mins. If I had a deck oven, this would have went better. Plus, you really have to watch the water levels. Don't fill them up too much.

OK. so, then I made the sauce. It looked very thin for a caramel sauce and it doesn't have any milk in it so it's not going to get any browning from the Maillard reaction and it really isn't a caramel but we'll see. I just made it and it only took about 15 mins. I heated the apple cider four mins in the micro to keep it from seizing the sugar. I didn't whisk. I used a wooden spoon. (Ah hem, I didn't use apple cider. I didn't have any. We produce some very good ciders around here but you know what, all I had was, %-}, apple juice. Still all in all, not bad.)

So, all told, 55 mins for the custard, which I could do and also do other things in the background. So, basically, if I were Tiffany, I would have started the custard and finished it by the end of the first round as I was serving. Then right before the third round, I would have just banged out the sauce and voila, done. If she had an hour between courses, which I think they did not, she could have done the whole thing in one hour because while waiting for the custard to cook, she could have banged out the sauce. Or she could have started in during round 2. Same diff. The custard would have finished by the middle to end of round three while she banged out the sauce.

--- Later after eating it ---

Boy, that is sweet. It's not only sweet but it is very butterscotchy. I like it but I think I'd tone down on the sugar. Maybe half it. 3/4 cup brown sugar to maybe 1 cup. Those judges must have a sweet tooth. Ouch. Most of the diners like it, some thought it too sweet. Oh, well. And it does seem more of a pudding than a custard though it's made like a custard. Most of the dinners just loved the caramel sauce. When I made it, I just left the cinnamon stick in it and never took it out.

I also had to reboil the caramel until that it got thicker. I wound up taking it to 230 F.

I'll put my version of the recipe below. I followed her recipe and weighed almost every ingredient so that you'll have a more baker like recipe to follow. I also added temperatures to the recipe. I also added some tricks so that you wont have too many issues. Enjoy.

Butterscotch Pudding:


100 g butter
225g brown sugar
1 vanilla bean (I used 1/2 of a Tahitian and it was very vanilla.)
480g whipping cream
280g milk (I used 2% with about 20g of cream in it.)
1t Fleur de sel
10 large egg yolks, beaten
blueberries as needed for a garnish

Caramel Sauce:
260g sugar
60g water
9g light corn syrup
1 cinnamon stick (I used True Cinnamon, Indonesian)
1 1/4 cups apple cider


Melt butter with brown sugar and cook until sugar is complete dissolved. Cook until boil In a separate pot, scrape vanilla from the bean and steep in cream with the whole pod. Heat to 200 degrees Fahrenheit and let cool to around 100F before using. Add cool cream to sugar mixture, slowly. Add in milk and salt and just barely bring to a boil. Temper mixture (at 144F) into eggs and then do a thin drizzle into the mixture while stirring briskly. Put in well salted ice bath for 15 mins or until the mixture has reached 75 F. Place pudding in containers and bake in a shallow water bath for about 20 mins in a 350F preheated oven or until firm but jiggly.

Caramel Sauce:

Combine sugar, water, corn syrup and cinnamon until sugar dissolves and mixture reaches 300F. Heat cider in the microwave for 4 mins or until mixture is between 110F and 120F. Add cider to sugar mixture while stirring with a wooden spoon and return to heat. Heat until mixture is 230F. Let cool and thicken. Serve over pudding warm.

Enjoy. This whole dish takes about 1 hour and 5 maybe 10 mins.

Hey, it isn't chocolate but it's yummer. Pictures coming.

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Felchlin Chocolates: A Personal in Depth Look

I have been using Felchlin almost exclusively and like what I'm tasting and what I'm making chocolates with. I use the following chocolates. I have put links to the Felchlin site as well as my own comments on this post.

When I say a chocolate is easy to temper, I mean that if you were hand tempering, you'd have an easy time of it. If you have a tempering machine, such as the ones I've talked about, then you probably wont have any problems. The more difficult chocolates here, I always test before using because sometimes the machine screws up.

To order any of the confections and chocolates I talk about in this post, call us at 518 966 5219. I'm working on the on-line store. I'm working on it.

Arriba 72% 72 hours
-- Arriba is the most dark chocolate I use. It is very fruity and not terribly bitter but bitter enough to give a great counter point to my famed cherry cordials. That is what I mostly use Arriba for, my cordials and other sweet confections. I use it for my cranberry chocolates as well. The sweeter fillings, which are not that sweet, are what I use with this chocolate.

Some would say that 72% is just too dark to actually express the chocolatiers art. That is, it's so close to cocoa mass that where's the fun in that? I say you don't know what you're tasting about and that tasting is believing. This is a delicate chocolate with a floral long-lasting finish. Sure it is slightly more bitter than a less dark chocolate and definitely less sweet, it's dark chocolate. Very dark.

This chocolate is relatively easy to temper, though not as easy as the Madagascar, it isn't as hard to temper as the Maracaibo classificado.

72 hours refers to the 72 hours of conching.

Madagascar 64% 72 hours
-- This chocolate is a less bitter, as a matter of fact, for a dark chocolate, this is not bitter at all, fruity and slightly sweet, to my taste, chocolate. I use this chocolate as my all purpose workhorse chocolate. Indeed, it is a great chocolate, and I love working with it. I enrobe many caramels in this chocolate and I use this for many of my chocolates whose centers are not as sweet. More tart centers, such as my tamarind confections.

I don't have a lot to say about this because I'm not as impressed with this chocolate as I am with the others. But I use it quite a lot. I also make a mean hot chocolate with this chocolate.

This chocolate is very easy to temper.

Maracaibo clasificado 65%
-- This is more bitter than the Madagascar and in general has more taste. I love working with this chocolate when I have a working tempering machine because I like the snap, the flavor profile and the general structure of this chocolate. I like working with the classificado more than any other chocolate. When I get a new shipment of chocolate, I break this one open and work with it first before any other chocolate. I almost decided to go strictly with the classificado and to not use the Madagascar, almost.

I use this chocolate when I want to create confections that are mostly chocolate. Dark chocolate Santas, Christmas trees, or with very mild centers that play off of the flavors in this chocolate. I use this for my tea set.

It is made strictly with Criollo, the best of the best of the best, sir! Whereas the Madagascar is made with the Trinitario, a great chocolate but second best.

This chocolate can be a real tempering problem. (Did you like that understated way of putting it?And to think, just a few months ago, I was close to throwing a hissy fit. Indeed, therapy has its place. Indeed, I'll be going to physical therapy for my knee in just a little while. ;)

Maracaibo Criolait 38%
-- This is one of the best, no I'll say it, the best milk chocolate I have ever eaten. It has milk/caramel notes, thought not very pronounced, and tastes of honey. This is the milk chocolate I prefer using and eating. I use this for my milk chocolate cherry cordials and for just about every milk chocolate application I have except for my truffle centers.

This is the finest milk chocolate for enrobing. I simply love it. It has fruit notes and a slight vanilla finish. Milk chocolate isn't very bitter if at all and this ones isn't terrible sweet, as far as milk chocolate go.

Relatively easy to temper though not great snap. It is milk chocolate after all.

Accra lait 42%
-- Felchlin isn't saying a whole bunch about this wonderful milk chocolate. I really like this chocolate, Kim really likes this chocolate, even though she doesn't like milk chocolate. It's easy to work with, it isn't a grand cru, it is a very dark milk chocolate that has some milk notes, nice caramelly notes and isn't that sweet.

The snap is better because it is a bit darker with more cocoa mass in it than other things. I use this for people who want a darker milk chocoalte. Felchlin includes this in their milk couvetures but not in their grand cru.

This chocolate can tend towards waxy when put on ice cream. So don't do that. Use the Criolait instead.

This is relatively easy to temper.

Edelweiss 33% (36%) surfine
-- Funny thing is, the award winning chocolate, Felchlin isn't saying that much about it. I went to another information source for the link. Anyway, I think this is the second best white chocolate I have ever eaten. I do like El Rey's white chocolate as well and I think Peter's is better but this is a great white chocolate. I love the flavors. I love the finish. It's truly a royal white chocolate. It isn't waxy, as some white chocolates can be, and it isn't overly sweet.

I use this chocolate for everything and everywhere I need a white chocolate. It has nice snap. I don't use it for my truffle centers. For my truffle centers I use Guittard.

I find that this can be a problem tempering. It can develop milk granules in the chocolate. Be careful. It also tends to bunch up, that is, it gets over stirred very easily. I use 88 degrees F as my enrobing temperature.

Any more information and I'll be writing a book or at least the first chapter.

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