Now Try This #3
This will be a dark chocolate spirits filled ganache using in a light milk chocolate shell. My “light milk” is about 40%-45% cocoa, “dark milk” is around 55% in my workshop.
A friend of mine who owns a café/nightclub locally is also known for the mead that he makes . This is wine from honey. It sounds as if this wine might be sweet but to make it he uses a strong champagne type yeast and then ferments the wine until dry; no residual sugar. “Big Al” tries to get near 14% alcohol in his mead which is about all the yeast can tolerate before going to drunken yeast heaven.
Once finished fermenting, Big Al racks the mead off the yeast sediment and lets it settle for several months to clarify. After this he freezes it ! Yeah, the mead is reasonably good tasting out of the glass jug after clearing but Al likes a stronger hooch so he freezes a bowl of mead and pours off the concentrated liquor which remains after freezing. This he calls Bee Squeezin’s.
OK, so we’re going to take this and make chocolates out of it, naturally. Mr. WineCandy will try anything.
Before deciding what type of chocolate to use for the ganache and shell we have to think about the flavors in the liquor (infusion). I suppose this is true for any filled chocolate confection. You’ve got to think about flavor pairing so as to avoid clashes and disagreements on the palate.
For some liquor infused ganaches I’ve tried to emphasize the caramel flavor notes by using evaporated milk instead of heavy whipping cream as the ganache base. The theory being, evaporated milk has a more caramel type flavor and boosts the oaky/caramel flavors of, for example, Jim Beam whiskey. They blend and compliment and reinforce each other. Once deciding to focus on the rich caramel notes of the filling, then you can think about the shell flavors desired and I have often chosen a dark spicy chocolate like a 66% Madagascar dark for the shell around a whiskey ganache. Now, being a bean head and roasting my own in the workshop; I’m all about single bean chocolates. Since, in the example above I chose Madagascar dark for the shell, I’ve got to go with Madagascar of some type for the ganache. This is where the experimenting starts. I’ll try a whiskey in dark, dark milk (like 55- 60% cocoa) and light milk (like 45%) to make the ganache. All with evaporated milk to enhance the oakyness of the whiskey. Whichever of these ganaches seems to work best with the Madagascar dark gets the prize. Usually I go with contrasting flavor pairing : ganache to shell. That would suggest the light milk chocolate for the whiskey ganache. But you could argue against this in favor of complimentary notes just as well I suppose; ie dark shell and dark ganache.
Back to the Bee Squeezin’s….
Big Al doesn’t ferment or age his mead on oak chips. I guess he could but I’ve never heard of that being done with mead. So there’ll be no oaky flavor in the spirits infusion. For that reason I’m going to use heavy whipping cream to make the ganache, not evaporated milk. The cream ganache is lighter, it doesn’t contribute much flavor to the filling. Most of what we’ll get in flavor will be Bee Squeezin’s and chocolate. The mead doesn’t have a strong flavor and so the Squeezin’s don’t either except for the “heat” of the alcohol. I would compare this spirits flavor to something like Vodka or Tequila as opposed to Scotch or rum. For this reason, I’m going to try to compliment the spirits flavor with a milder chocolate, Mexican Tabasco, rather than the spicy Madagascar. Having made the decision that mead liquor will go best with Mexican Tabasco I’m going to need to stay with the same for the shell.
Just for the purposes of experimentation, I’ll use a Mexican Tabasco light milk chocolate(40%)for the shell , a cream ganache using heavy cream and the dark Mexican (66%). I’m going to try to use as much liquor as possible in the ganache without “breaking it”. You could use any combination of milk chocolate and/or dark in the shell and ganache but I came to the above combination due to the “light” flavors of the Bee Squeezin’s.
Here’s the recipe for Big Al’s Bee Squeezin’s in Chocolate(this is for quite a small experimental batch, you’ll have to scale it up for larger batches) :
Warm 1.5 oz (45ml) heavy whipping cream in a sauce pan to boiling and add 2 Tbs (30ml) Bee Squeezin’s. Pour this warmed liquid over 2 oz. (57gm) chopped Mexican Tabasco Dark (66%) chocolate and stir until well melted and blended. Let this ganache cool in the refrigerator until well set; it can then be scooped into the milk chocolate shells and covered with a layer of chocolate for the shell bottom. Another method, after you’re sure you have a ganache formula that will set solid, is to pipe it warm into the chocolate shell and seal.
For a mild flavored spirits like this, it’s important to get the most liquor possible into the ganache so you can actually taste it in the chocolate. But you don’t want to add too much spirits to the ganache blend.
My way of infusing the ganache with spirits in the correct proportion is to make a ganache without spirits first, just cream and chocolate ; measure and record the proportions of each. Then subtract a quantity of cream in the formula and replace it with an equal volume of liquor to make a test spirits batch. Now make more test batches adding slightly more liquor each time until the ganache breaks (some of the liquor remains liquid after the ganache has set; or the ganache just won’t set at all). The highest un-broken ratio is the one to use. This will give the most spirits flavor in the finished filled chocolate piece.
Al tried these chocolate pieces and thought they were just the bee’s knees.
PS I gave a bowl of the Mexican Tabasco light milk chocolate ganache with mead in it to Big Al for his Valentine’s Day dinner crowd. This was honey mead wine to replace some quantity of cream in the ganache (not Bee Squeezin’s) . His customers loved it ! They were dipping strawberries in it and pouring it over cake and raving about it. Problem was, I didn’t make enough of it. Al needs to buy more honey and yeast.
That's all this time from Mr. WineCandy