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Warm chocolate soup - need suggestions

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
The chef wants me to make a warm chocolate soup for christmas eve and day. We are serving it with candied hazelnuts, marshmellow gellato and brioche croutons.

He mentioned that he wants hints of spices and some cognac or something, but I was wondering if anyone has any ideas or recipes because to tell you the truth, I am kind of in the dark. I don't really know if anything will make the cream curdle or anything like that. My pastry chef just left forever and I feel so alone. I can wing it, but I don't want any mistakes and I want to be able to go home early and make biscuits and gravy for my family on christmas morning.

Thanks in advance!!!

Edit: How does this recipe look? Should I omit the creme de cacao? Will this last all night in a BM?

Hazelnut-Chocolate Soup

Recipe By : James McNair's Soups (c) 1990 SF: Chronicle
Serving Size : 4 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories : Soup Dessert

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
4 cups half-and-half
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate -- or
bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup sugar
4 egg yolks -- at room temperature
1/3 cup creme de cacao
3 tablespoons Frangelico
(hazelnut liqueur)
1/2 cup whipping cream -- lightly whipped
1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts -- toasted

In a saucepan, combine half-and-half, chocolate, and sugar and place over
medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until the chocolate melts.

Beat the egg yolks in a small bowl, then whisk in about 1/2 cup of the
chocolate mixture. Whisk the egg mixture into the soup and simmer, stir
frequently, until the soup thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Remove from
heat and stir in the liqueurs.

To serve hot, ladle into warmed bowls, add a dollop of whipped cream, sprinkle
with the hazelnuts, and serve immediately. Alternatively, pour a container,
tightly cover, and refrigerate for up to 5 days. Slowly reheat before
garnishing and serving.

To serve cold, pour into a container, tightly cover, and refrigerate until
chilled, at least 2 hours or as long as 5 days. Remove from the refrigerate
about 20 minutes before serving. Ladle into chilled bowls and garnish as for
hot soup.
Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. - GM
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Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. - GM
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post #2 of 13
Harp
First off, be assured that there are plenty of pastry people here to bounce things off of.
You sound like you will be in control but need to bounce some things off us. The list is long of experienced Pastry persons who can help. You will definately be home to cook.
I have made this item in the past and cannot remember if I followed a recipe or not. I would be more inclined to go the ganache route like you previously mentioned. As far as the garnishes, i assume they will be around the soup, This is going on a buffet, right? I wouldn't be afraid to add garnishes like cinn,grated choco or choco coffee bean,whipped cream,etc. Adding a liquer is ok but as far as spices, they will get stronger and stronger as the night goes on. So I would underspice a little or put a dash of spice in the cups or sugared spice on the rims. choco dipped spoons go well also.
Let us know what you decide.
PS I know that feeling when someone leaves. Sometimes you feel like you're in the middle of the ocean waving for help. That what's soo good to have CT.
FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
Panini,
Thanks for the sympathy. As far as the soup, it is actually plated, not a buffet. All of the garnishes will be thrown in for service. I do think I'll add a little spice to the soup, but underspiced like you said. I like the idea of sugar spiced rims, but that doesn't make sense with these bowls. Perhaps I could use a spiced liqeur? I'm still up in the air about what alcohol to use. I like the Cognac idea and the Frangelico. We are putting candied hazelnuts in it.

I'm glad you are for the ganache thing, because I want to go easy on myself. At this point, if it works, I'm gonna do it. I like to try new things and get creative, but to be honest, I don't have time. We are also doing Lemon Sabayon tarts for a gazillion people, and individual buche de noels. I can't wait for my arm to go out. :)

Also, for about 200-250 personas, how many pounds of chocolate do you think I will need? How much will the soup thicken as it stands? You guys are great for even reading this. I want to tell you about everything :)

Sarah
Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. - GM
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Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. - GM
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post #4 of 13
okay. today i made a caramelized cinnamon hot chocolate. it could very well pass as a chocolate soup. here is the recipe.

4 1/2 c. whole milk
1/2c water

bring to boil. set aside

2cinnamon sticks
2/3c sugar.
put in pot and cook to amber- just like a darker caramel. when desired color is acheived, add the milk/water. it will seize for a moment and stir it and continue heating until its smooth. remove cinn. sticks.

8oz dark bittersweet fine chocolate.
add to caramel mixture. wisk until melted. before serving, use a buerre mixer to froth it up.

can hold for 2 days in fridge. and is very smooth and delicious.

*maybe you could make it thicker by using cream in place of milk, and add other flavors that your chef would prefer.

i got this recipe from pierre herme chocolate book.
post #5 of 13
also, it can be served cold ^
post #6 of 13
Harp,
not sympathy/support.
Yea, I'm also thinking about the thickening. Going ganache is creative. I was hesitant about the eggs.
Is it going to be served hot? if so, I would not worry about thickening or skinning. Just make sure your servers don't laddle it into a chilled bowl.
If there is a next time you can spice the hazelnuts.
amount, hum. 4 lbs. to 3 qts.? lets see, 6oz. bowl--you'll need around 10 gallons if they laddle 4-5 oz. careful not to thin down without unscalded cream product, it might be kept high in the bm.
I think you can achieve the richness without the eggs buy blending chocolates. I'm thinking maybe a little milk choco.
Do some testing in very small quantities. Blend chocolates until you have taken it away from the chocolate milk stage. Do you have cocoa butter powder?
I'm not so sure about mixing alcohol with the liquer, I have done it and it is a little busy on the palette. I think if you put your spice under it and a liquer over it you'll win. The spice being the undertone and something like i can't really think,..k...chambord,kahlua,creme de menthe, You probably know better.
If alcohol, I have made billions of gallons of chocolate jack daniels ice cream.
I know it sounds crazy but I might even drop some drambuie in.
take some soup out to the bar and experiment.:beer:
good luck
We're jammin here so I'll be around all weekend.
jeff
FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
So, lt's see if I can get this straight. When I heat up the cream for the ganache, perhaps I will throw in a cinnamon stick or two and maybe some vanilla beans. Would extract work better for this? After the ganache is made, the chocolate/cream ratio is determined, I'll throw in a splash of cognac. Would a tiny splash of some coffee extract be good or is that too much? Should I add some white chocolate to this as well to kind of make it rich but not too dark? I do not have cocoa butter powder.

I want a simple chocolate soup with some undertones, but nothing overpowering the chocolate flavor. I like the idea of adding white chocolate chips with the dark. What do you think about that?

Also, what is the easiest method for candied hazelnuts? Mix them with brown sugar and egg whites and stick em in the oven and then pulse them in the FP? Can't I just mix them with sugar and butter/oven and them grind?

Thanks!
Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. - GM
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Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. - GM
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post #8 of 13
What is your ganache recipe?
I'm thinking adding the spices to the hot thinning liquid is the way to go. Otherwise determine your ratio before hand and bring it up like hot chocolate.

Think about something like karo and spice on the nuts and in the oven if they are supposed to be candied. I would not go light on the spice. If you are going to use some sort of dollup of cream at service I would float the nuts on that to give your diners the option of eating them. i say this if it's an older crowd. dentures. it will also keep the nuts from sogging.
p
FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
Here I am, getting ready for work :)

Our ganache is basically one quart cream to 2 lbs chocolate. I think the ratio you mentioned earlier would probably be perfect. Thanks for the help, I'll let you know what I try and how it all comes out, if I can still type after the sabayon. Thanks a lot, panini.
Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. - GM
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Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. - GM
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post #10 of 13
GOOD LUCK!!!!!
I'll be at the bakery all day. I will check posts frequently if you need something.
Enjoy your Holiday!
panini
FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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post #11 of 13

Chocolate Pots de Creme

Not soup, but you'll win big with this if its not too late... The recipe is written for 4 servings, so multiply and convert as needed..... You'll obviously go "duh" to some of the instruction, but I'm just typing it verbatum from Judy Rodgers The Zuni Cafe cookbook as fast as I can to get this out to you! (so also please excuse the typos)

3 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup whole milk
2 Tbsp sugar
4 egg yolks
splash of Cointreau or Frangelico (note from me -- you could go with Pernod or something as well, give it a lic charge)

Melt the chocolate with 1/2 c of the cream in a small pan or bowl poised over simmering water, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Warm the remaining 1/4 cup cream, milk, and sugar in a small saucepan, stirring just to dissolve the sugar. In a medium bowl, whisk the yolk, then slowly stir in the warm milk mixture. Pour the mixture through a strainer into the melted chocolate and stire to combine. Stir in the liqueur. Pour the mixture into four 4-5 ounce ramekins or custard cups and place them at least an inch apart in a baking pan. Add hot water to come to barely 1/2 inch beneath the lip of the cups. Bake until the custard is just set at the edges but still quite soft in the center, about 45 minutes. ---- If the custard is already firm when you first check it, then fremove from the oven and set the cups in a shallow bath of salted ice water to stop the cooking.

Good luck! I think you could smooth it out with a port at the last stage and have a winner.... I am excited to hear what you do. Happy holidays!
Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death! Auntie Mame
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Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death! Auntie Mame
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post #12 of 13
Oh, and cinnamon, definitely! Not too much, with a touch of ground clove mmmmmmmm very sexy.
Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death! Auntie Mame
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Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death! Auntie Mame
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post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 
Well, thank GOD christmas in that tiny kitchen is over. Talk about insane. The chef gave me props for the soup after all. I used my pal's fondue recipe as a starting point, basically just more milk than cream, extra sugar, and lots of chocolate. I steeped some cinnamon sticks and vanilla beans in the cream when I brought it up, and after I got the right consistency, I added some clove and just some straight up Myers Rum. Good stuff!! I spiced the hazelnuts pretty good and ground them up for garnish, and the brioche croutons were a great finish. I really appreciate all of the advice; it really made a difference.

As for the lemon sabayon, I guess I didn't make enough. They ran out, but at least it was late in the night. The yule log ended up being the most time consuming. The meringue mushrooms kind of fell just a little bit because I went ahead and did the cocoa thing. They were more like little button mushrooms with tilty heads (think mario brothers) than perky little guys. I expected those to run out before the lemon, but I was wrong. We had plenty left over. It kind of sucked though. The genoise wasn't very good because after about 10 minutes in the oven, engineering decided to mess with the back of the oven and it started to cool down without indicating that it wasn't working. Instead of 15 minutes, it took about 25-30. Oh well. Christmas is over.

That's my schpiel. You guys rule. Best message board ever (the one I visit most anyway).
Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. - GM
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Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. - GM
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