Saturday, November 6, 2010

Vienna Almonds, Almond Rochers, Chocolate

Chef Gert's Vienna Almonds & Rochers

It's a mighty fine day for redemption, and a hard one to screw up when you're working with only 3 ingredients: almonds, sugar and chocolate.

We made a chocolate-almond confection known as rochers, and 2 kinds of Vienna almonds: a dark, caramelized version and its fairer cousin, White Vienna, I presume?

Sugar Coated Slivers, Lightly Roasted Almonds

We first coat the almond slivers in sugar syrup and dust them with icing sugar. These are then lightly roasted along with the whole, blanched almonds for added color and flavor.

Boiling & Crystallizing Sugar

To make Viennas: bring sugar, water, a whole vanilla bean and the roasted almonds to a boil, until the sugar solution reached 124'C. Then vigorously stir about to agitate the sugars into crystallizing, coating the almonds with a white fairy dust as it happens.

Sifting Out Excess Sugar

 Buttering Up, Cooling Down

Bring the sifted almonds back into the pot and stir in a small dab of butter for shine, before laying them onto a large tray to cool down. There you go: White Vienna.

What Lies Beyond Crystals...Caramel

For the darker version, we took the crystallized almonds a step further, stirring them in the pot until the sugar crystals start to break down and melt. At this stage, the caramel is cooked until it takes on a dark golden hue and an aromatic smoky flavor. This is again spread out on a large tray to cool completely. I mean it folks. 124'C burn in your mouth is no laughing matter.

Coating Slivers With Tampered Chocolate, Spooning Rochers

Ah. rochers, easy-peasy. Tamper chocolate. Add almonds. Stir. Spoon. Set.

 Oui, Tis Moi! Chez Alleez!

Gee Weezz! Note the remarkable similarity, right down to our arched eyebrow!

Practicing Opera

This being a very quick class, we had some time to practice writing Opera for our, you guessed it, Opera gateau, which we will be making on assessment day.

On the left, Chef Gert's neat and classy chocolate piping. On the right, my whimsical scrawls. I quite like mine: order and uniformity has never been my strength.

Beer Buddies

I tampered too much chocolate for my rochers, so raisins and dessicated coconut were thrown into half the mix before moulding. Sure they may look a little rough, but beer food has never been the dainty sort, has it?

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