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Chocolate and pralines

Back to the food of the gods

29 March 2022

Welcome back Erre4m friends in this new post. Today we continue to talk about CHOCOLATE.

In the previous post we saw the main characteristics of this product. Now it is time to talk about the filling called pralines, i.e. those bon-bons usually filled with ganache.

The family of filled chocolate pralines is divided into several categories:

  • Ganache-based fillings with cream, with fruit, with infusions
  • Dried fruit fillings
  • Almond paste fillings
  • Butter-based fillings
  • Liquor-based fillings
  • Cooked sugar fillings

These fillings can be used both for moulded chocolates and for cut pralines that are subsequently coated.

In chocolate making, the ganache filling is normally the most widely used as it is an extremely variable and modifiable base. Ganache is an emulsion of two phases: one liquid and one fat. The liquid is provided by cream, which can be replaced totally or partially by fruit, infusions, liqueurs, or water. These variations change the structure, taste, aroma and preservation of the filling.
As fillings are rich in moisture, they are subject to alteration.

The stability of emulsions depends on various factors:

  1. Density of the two phases
  2. Temperature of the emulsion
  3. Speed at which the two phases come together
  4. Processing method

INGREDIENTS
CHOCOLATE: to coat the moulds and create the shirts (the light chocolate layer containing the filling), a coating with a minimum cocoa butter content of 36-38% is always used, which allows the creation of a thin but strong coating.
Chocolate is normally the main ingredient in the fat phase of fillings. It is therefore important to know its characteristics, namely:

  1. The amount of cocoa butter
  2. The amount of cocoa mass
  3. The amount of sugar
  4. The quantity of milk powder

Es: 
dark chocolate 70% = 63% cocoa mass + 29.5% sugar + 7% added cocoa butter
40% milk chocolate = 14% cocoa mass + 43% sugar + 35% cocoa butter + 21.5% powdered milk
35% white chocolate = 43% sugar + 35% cocoa butter + 21.5% powdered milk

VLOEISTOFFEN : de meest gebruikte vloeistof is room met een vetgehalte van 35%, die voor een romige vulling zorgt. Room heeft ook de juiste hoeveelheid water (60%) die helpt om de smaken te fixeren. Het fungeert als oplosmiddel voor de suikers, zorgt voor vloeibaarheid en vermindert de bitterheid van de chocolade. Room kan worden vervangen door MELK, waardoor de hoeveelheid vet wordt verminderd. Fruitpuree kan ook worden gebruikt, maar gepasteuriseerde puree is beter omwille van de houdbaarheid.

VETTE DEEL: voor pralines wordt boter met een smeltpunt van 29-32°C aanbevolen, dus boter is het meest geschikte vetmateriaal. De rol van het vet is smeltbaarheid en romigheid te geven, het percentage lipiden te verhogen en de houdbaarheid van het product te verlengen. Maar let op, een te hoge dosis vet heeft de neiging de fasen (vast en vloeibaar) van de emulsie te scheiden, waardoor de emulsie niet romig wordt. 
In ganaches met vruchtenmoes mag de hoeveelheid niet meer dan 22-25% bedragen, omdat het vet de smaak van de vulling bedekt, de karakteristieke frisheid in de mond wegneemt en het product calorierijker maakt en bij het proeven moeilijk te smelten.
Klassieke boter kan worden vervangen door watervrije of vloeibare boter, omdat die geen water bevatten en de houdbaarheid van de praline verlengen.

SUIKERS: de meest gebruikte zijn basterdsuikers in de vorm van siropen. Zij geven het product een zoete smaak en fungeren als conserveermiddel.

De vullingen ondergaan in de loop van de tijd verschillende veranderingen ten gevolge van de productietechnieken en de opslag. Deze veranderingen kunnen het gevolg zijn van:

  • Vet- en suikermigratie
  • Ongewenste kristallisatie
  • Verlies van vocht
  • Verlies van aroma
  • Verlies van glans
  • Absorptie van onaangename geuren

De eerste factor bij het bewaren van pralines is de opslag. Dit is waar de vullingen vocht kunnen verliezen of krijgen. Dit is te wijten aan de afwezigheid of gebrekkige bedekking van de vulling.

After production, pralines have their own internal humidity which, over time, tends to balance with the storage environment; therefore an environment with too little humidity dries out the fillings, recrystallising the sugars with subsequent deformation of the structure and emptying of the interior; while an environment with too much humidity tends to increase the possibility of mould forming inside the fillings.

Pralines have an internal humidity of about 70%, so the storage environment, in addition to having the ideal storage temperature of 10-16°C, must also have a controlled humidity of 55-70%.

The ideal storage temperatures for pralines are different:

  • Dark, milk, white, gianduia → 14°C RH55%.
  • Praline and dried fruit fillings → 10°C RH 55-60%.
  • Ganache fillings → 14-16°C RH 65-70%.

The pralines can also be frozen, in which case taste and structure are not damaged if the steps are carried out correctly.

  1. Chocolates should be stored next to each other to avoid air circulating around them, which can slow down cooling.
  2. Chilling the products quickly to avoid the formation of large water crystals that would damage the structure of the praline during thawing
  3. Storage temperature must be at a constant -18°C
  4. Thawing must first pass through the fridge at +4°C and last 2 days
  5. Avoid opening the container containing the pralines so that condensation does not form on their surface
  6. The room temperature after thawing the pralines should be 10-11°C.

Working with chocolate and preparing pralines requires a good knowledge of the techniques and fine manual dexterity, but the pleasure and satisfaction of the end result are worth the effort required for the FOOD OF THE GODS.

That said, it only remains for me to wish you all good work... until next time!

Blog by Enrico Gumirato pastry chef and trainer