Session One: Temper Temper
Written and Performed by Michele E Brown, CB
Photographs by Cari Avit, Collin College
This beautiful PolyScience® Anti-Griddle was delivered in a big brown box. No special assembly required; no Swedish-to-English assembly instructions with bags of screws and one-time use tools. Just the Anti-Griddle and its protective cover.
No-nonsense yet elegant, the Anti-Griddle looks like a box with air vents. There are no intimidating or fussy controls. The operating manual, too, is straight forward: lightly oil the griddle top, turn on and allow the appliance to chill for 30 minutes prior to use. To clean, allow to defrost after turning off and wipe down with mild cleaning fluid and follow up with sanitizer, air dry. While working, try to work in a low humidity atmosphere, otherwise use a plastic bowl scraper to remove the condensation.
The honed, all-business look and operation of the device reflects the entire product line of its manufacturer, PolyScience, which has been making laboratory and industrial temperature-control equipment since 1963.
“Griddle” usually calls to mind bacon and eggs, but this the Anti-Griddle and it is all about the instant freeze, to -30°F (-34°C). While not a necessity in the kitchen (at least, not yet), it makes a great addition by saving time on simple tasks while expanding a chef’s repertoire to include cutting-edge culinary techniques.
Our much-awaited machine arrived and within hours we were underway, making chocolate decorations with tempered chocolate.
The top of the griddle gets frosty and it’s ready to set.
Using tempered chocolate, we set to work on chocolate filigree and chocolate straw.
- To temper chocolate, you need a clean, dry stainless steel bowl, thermometer, long-handle rubber spatula, a cutting board, serrated knife, sauce pan, and clean towel.
- We used the Seed Method for tempering:
- While chopping one pound of good quality dark couverture chocolate (we used Callebaut dark 60.1% couverture) on the cutting board (with a damp towel underneath to keep the board from slipping) with serrated knife, boil about one inch of water in a sauce pan that will hold your chocolate. If you have small discos of chocolate, just chop the 1/3 you will be adding back into your melted chocolate.
- Once the chocolate is chopped fine, place 2/3 into the clean, dry stainless steel bowl and place over boiled water. Turn off the heat so the chocolate will melt over the steam. Leave the bowl over the pot off the heat for about five minutes, allowing the chocolate to melt.
- Stir the chocolate to melt the entire contents of the bowl, keeping the temperature under 120°F (49°C) If the temperature increases above 120°F, briefly remove the bowl from the steam.
- Once the chocolate is melted and no lumps are present, add in the remaining (1/3) chopped chocolate to bring the temperature down ~ 90°F (32°C). If the chocolate remains over 90°F (32°C), place the bowl over an ice bath to cool, stirring all the while.
- Be very careful to keep water out of your chocolate; it will cause the chocolate to seize and you will have to start over.
- Make a paper decorating cone and fill halfway with tempered chocolate. Fold down the top so the chocolate only comes out of the small end, not all over your hand.
- Cut the tip to desired size.
- Squeeze bag from the top with one hand and guide with the bottom hand to pipe onto the chilled surface of the griddle; it will set instantly.
- Remove your piped chocolate with a plastic offset spatula and apply to desserts, specialty cocktails, etc., or store on parchment paper sheets in airtight container in the freezer.
Piping the tempered chocolate onto the surface of the Anti-Griddle was visual and aural experience. The chocolate is ready in seconds, when the edges curl up and a slight snap can be heard.
This chocolate will be part of an amenity tray for an event pairing the chocolate straw with bonbons and chocolate flowers.
Stay tuned for our next tutorial on Fresh Fruit Chocolate Lollypops!