Woke up at 5am and couldn’t sleep, so I got up and started in on things. Since Mike is still asleep, I’ve mostly been doing quiet stuff, like reading through my chocolate and candy cookbooks (of which I have a plethora) looking for flavor inspiration.
One of the items that came up was fruit jellies and fruit pastes, which strikes me as the ideal thing to do with the four quinces I have lying around. Paired with white chocolate, I think, to showcase the fruity/floral flavor. (Though, I might sample with dark chocolate, too.) I love quince, and have wanted to put it into chocolates for some time.
Other interesting flavor combinations for chocolate covered fruit jellies:
- apricot with lavender ganache (courtesy of what may well be the greatest chocolate book ever written, Au Coeur des Saveurs by Frederick Bau)
- raspberry with a hint of orange
- marmalade with dark chocolate
- pear + dark chocolate
I also want to do the lemon lavender fudge, the coconut lime tequila fudge, some sort of ginger fudge, and another attempt at coffee caramels. So I have my work cut out for me today.
The recipe I have for fruit jellies theoretically requires a refractometer (Frederic Bau was writing for professional pastry chefs, who have access to such toys) to get the sugar content to 72 degrees “refractometric”. I did some research and discovered that this translates to 72 degrees Brix, which in turn translates to 72% sugar. I don’t have a refractometer and don’t feel like shelling out $70 to buy one, so I looked up the boiling points of sugar solutions and it turns out to be about 225 degrees. There will be some change in that since it’s not a pure sugar solution (also contains quite a bit of fruit solids), but it’s a good starting-point.
I have also been casting copy after copy of the jade dragon in wax, preparing to make the gang-mold. So far I have eight copies; I want to do fifteen (which is what fits nicely into the glass baking dish I’m using to cast the mold). I estimate that should take me another 2-3 hours, assuming I put the mold into the freezer immediately after filling and that I take them out promptly once they’re cooled.
Also read through more of Patternmaking for Fashion Design, and want to sew up some of the patterns they mention. I’m starting to fiddle with Patternmaster: Celebrations (my pattern drafting software) in hopes of understanding the editor well enough to be able to work through the exercises in Patternmaking for Fashion Design. It may take me a day or two to work that out, but at that point I’ll be able to launch into some of the exercises.
After I finish the chocolates, however.
Mike’s alarm clock is now going off, which means I can get started on my jellies etc. Yay!