Coming from the world of haute couture, the pastry style of Cécile Farkas (so good #16) has always shown a clear weakness for meticulous presentations. In Dulcypas # 462, our Spanish pastry magazine, we take advantage of the opening of her training center in the south of France to discover technical considerations and basic tricks with which to make the most of all the resources at our disposal in the creation of decorative chocolate elements. Resources which are also discussed in her first book Chocolate signature.
Based in Montpellier, pastry chef Cécile Farkas has worked hard on an international career in pastry training and consulting. Coming from the world of fashion, her stylish universe usually has strong presentations in which there is no lack of sinuous shapes and colorful finishes. Although we have known about her work long before Instagram made her style fashionable, she has taken advantage of these trends to strengthen her formative role and combine consultations and demonstrations around the world with the opening of her own training center.
Cécile Farkas is especially attentive to the needs of a conventional workshop, to the requirements of profitability and efficiency, but also to satisfying the tastes of the current consumer, offering fully customized training to the needs of the groups of professionals it serves. One of those needs is to take advantage of all the tools we have at our disposal to make chocolate decorations.
Combining classic techniques of handling tempered chocolate and the use of plastic chocolate, with the wide variety of molds available today, the possibilities to find a personalized result in each case are almost endless. For Cécile Farkas it is important to know how to conceptualize and have good notions of composition and color combination. It will be the ability of each chef to know how to handle all these aspects harmoniously which will result in a result worthy of applause … or quite the opposite. These are just some of the issues she goes over in her article.
General considerations about chocolate decorations
Colors and cocoa butter
The choice of colors is of great importance in the significance and enhancement of an artistic piece or a chocolate decoration. They can accentuate the volume, create an effect of brightness and luminosity. The use of colors requires a good knowledge of the color spectrum in order to achieve harmonious color combinations. In chocolate, we will always use fat-soluble dyes.
Recipe and coloring process
In order to achieve opaque colors, it is advisable to use 8% dye dissolved in cocoa butter. It will be important to be careful not to exceed 45ºC to melt the butter, thus avoiding the cooking of the pigments. Once we have the mixtures, it is possible to keep them in a special chocolate dipping machine. The application temperatures vary according to each case, basically if we are going to work with a gun or brush.
Striped decoration with cocoa butter
On a rhodoïd sheet, spread the melted cocoa butter and colored yellow at about 34 ° C. With a brush, get the metallic brush scratch effect. Perform the same operation with the butter colored in silver to achieve an orange effect. Let it crystallize slightly. Spread tempered white chocolate with a spatula. Let the decorations crystallize and cut with the help of a paring knife. It is important to choose brushes of good quality to avoid the loss of bristles during use. Generally cocoa butter applied with a brush should be at somewhat higher temperatures, between 34 and 38 ° C. Foam rollers can also be used to facilitate the application of cocoa butter. The application temperature should be around 35ºC. Once the butter has crystallized, the guitar sheets can be cut and saved for later use.
Chocolate threads and stems
On a guitar sheet, spread the tempered dark couverture chocolate, and scratch with the help of a comb. Let crystallize slightly and cut the threads to the desired length. Leave them straight or shape them in a mold according to preference. Let it crystallize completely and then gently peel the decoration.
On the guitar sheet, stretch tempered Zéphir caramel couverture. Cool slightly and cut the rectangles with the help of a ruler and a paring knife.
Let it crystallize completely to be able to take it completely off the sheet.
- 1,000 g 50% dark chocolate couverture
- 300 g glucose
- 200 g 30ºBé syrup
In a saucepan, boil the syrup and glucose together. Pour over melted chocolate at 35 ° C. Beat with sheet. Chill this mass in a refrigerator for two hours. Cut the mass into cubes and work it in the Robot Coupé or pass it through a mill. It is important to avoid separating the fat from the cocoa butter. Reserve in an airtight container. Before using, you can handle it a little by hand or reheat in the microwave for a few seconds. To make the rope, work with the mass by hand on a marble. Mold however you like. Once the decoration is finished, apply the brush with metallic bronze powder.
The preparation of a decoration always requires a lot of work and reflection. You will need many trials before you can make it ready from a feasibility and productivity perspective. This very simple yellow and orange decoration can be made in different sizes. The effects of multiplicity become an interesting resource for the preparation of a buffet. Once the decorations have been made, they can be stored in a conditioned space between 18ºC and 20ºC, a factor that will help boost their production.