13 Feb2006

agift1

Strawberries dipped in dark chocolate are superb. The flavor combination is classic and enduring. The slightly tart but flavorful juicy strawberry paired with dark chocolate really perks up the senses and screams “this is special.” They are also wickedly easy to do. So as promised, here are three different Valentine’s food gifts you can make easily, at a very reasonable cost and which will impress even the most hardened Rommy or Juling… First get some good or medium quality dark chocolate, I got large bars of Hershey’s Dark at the grocery as I am saving my Valrhona for other uses, then chop into small bits and place in a double boiler over gently simmering water (water should NOT touch bottom of pan holding chocolate). As soon as the chocolate is melted take agift2off the flame and stir a bit while it cools to ensure all the oils stay evenly distributed. There is actually a whole process called tempering that must be done in professional kitchens but don’t bother if this is for home consumption…it tastes the same… while still warm, dip washed and dried (very important to remove remaining water with paper towels) strawberries about 2/3 into the chocolate and shake off the excess. Place on wax paper or parchment paper and put in the fridge to harden. While these are traditionally served with hardened chocolate, at dinner parties I sometimes like to serve them with the chocolate still warm and soft. I find it more sensual, more flavorful and a better mouthfeel…

With the same type of melted chocolate, you can make thin disks of cholocate on wax paper and top with roasted nuts and dried fruit…better known as mendiants in French. These are some of the easiest and most elegant things I know how to make. In the photo above, I agift3used roasted filberts (hazelnuts) that I had in the freezer, some chopped apricots and some chopped dried cranberries. Other folks such as Pierre Herme and Jacques Torres like to use slivered almonds, pistachios, candied ginger, golden raisins, etc. to create near jewel like concoctions. Finally, an even easier thing to do is to take whole dried apricots and dip them halfway into the chocolate and set to harden in the fridge… From a high of say PHP50-60 for the enormous berry dessert to perhaps just PHP5 for the apricots, these are very reasonably priced gifts compared to the absurdly priced stuff they have for sale at imported chocolate stands and food shops. With some imaginative wrapping you can deliver a beautiful and delicious plate of chocolate and fruit for a fraction of what you would spend at the mall…

 

COMMENTS:

  1. Anson says:

    Try dipping local dried fruits in chocolates like dried pineapple or mangoes it works as well.

    By the way how do you prevent the chocolate from melting off the strawberry after they have been dipped? I once tried the recipe as mention, but found out that I can’t package them nicely and give them out as gifts since the chocolate will start melting once outside the ref.

    Feb 13, 2006 | 8:06 am

     
  2. schatz says:

    Valrhona… just got a query about this WHERE CAN YOU BUY THIS IN MANILA?

    Just made a seductive creme brulee with Valrhona white choc.

    and I just love that strawberry you made
    I sometimes let the choc drip on a baking rack.
    To get a shiny coat I use choc with 70% pureness

    happy heart day MM and hop to my page to savour a seductive valentine dessert haha!!

    Feb 13, 2006 | 8:20 am

     
  3. linda says:

    Just want to wish you and your Valentine a happy one!
    Also, I want to thank you for all your wonderful and informative posts! Nakakaaddict!

    Feb 13, 2006 | 1:03 pm

     
  4. Wilson Cariaga says:

    MM do you know where i could buy fresh figs??

    Feb 13, 2006 | 8:55 pm

     
  5. wysgal says:

    We served dried apricots in a recent wine+cheese gathering we hosted — and practically every single person in attendance asked me what the strange orangey shriveled alien bits were. =)

    What I really want to make are chocolate covered coffee beans but what a mess that would make.

    Feb 13, 2006 | 11:43 pm

     
  6. ShoppaHolique says:

    doesnt tempering give chocolates the shiny coating or sorts… and i also heard untempered chocolates taste like cardboard…

    Feb 14, 2006 | 1:53 am

     
  7. Lani says:

    Thanks for sharing, MM. By the way, can you give me some tips on chocolate tempering?

    Feb 14, 2006 | 7:39 am

     
  8. Marketman says:

    Anson, you are right, some local fruits are good with chocolate as well. As for tempering, it has to do with heating the chocolate to the right temperature and cooling it down while mixing to exure the distribution of oils…or at least that’s how I understand it. If it melts quickly, you haven’t tempered it well or it is just bloody hot outside… Schatz, you can buy Valrhona at Bacchus as the Shargrila Makati. Linda, thanks for visiting so often! Wilson, I haven’t found fresh figs here and they spoil quickly so its hard to bring them in I would imagine. I last hand-carried them from a grocery in Hong Kong…delicious. Wysgal, I always thought I would break my tooth fillings if I crunched down on a chocolate covered coffee bean. Maybe you can use those wickedly pricey coffee beans from Indonesia that are pooped by civets (it has mellowed in the acids in the intestinal tract)! Shoppa and Lani, I hope one of my chef readers chimes in with instructions to temper, I am not a good source for that! Enjoy Valentine’s Day everyone!

    Feb 14, 2006 | 11:19 am

     
  9. Hchie says:

    We have our own version of those coffee beans from Indonesia, and are expensive as well. Visit this website http://www.arengga.com. They call it Coffee Alamid and I’ve been really curious as to how it tastes and why the price. Has anyone tried them?

    Feb 14, 2006 | 4:26 pm

     
  10. Anson says:

    Thanks about the tip regarding tempering. As for Coffee Alamid, I saw them on sale at this pinoy deli over at Amoranto.

    Feb 14, 2006 | 7:43 pm

     
  11. edee says:

    tried this dipped strawberry in choc last night, not that good because the strawberries were huge but tasteless, they just look good and I used 70% choc which is too bitter for this :( ….but my 3yrs old son loved his grapes version :) ….and when he saw the pics in this post he got excited coz it look just like what we made and he love chocolates :) …. and I made some truffles from the leftover melted choco, just mixed in double cream and rolled in cocoa powder, hope they’ll taste nice, we’ll have them for tea this afternoon :) ……

    Feb 15, 2006 | 6:47 pm

     
  12. Lani says:

    Thanks MM.

    Feb 16, 2006 | 6:17 pm

     
  13. goodtimer says:

    I read coffee alamid is served in Bag o’Beans in Tagaytay. I only tried the version at Soul Cafe along the highway in Rosario, La Union beside the Shell station before the junction that goes up to Kennon Road. Their version has caramel and is wickedly addicting! I think it’s P85 for an espresso cup.

    Mar 20, 2006 | 1:41 am

     
  14. artisan chocolatier says:

    3 elements are necessary to temper chocolate.

    1. Time
    2. Temperature
    3. Agitation

    Nov 3, 2007 | 4:42 pm

     
  15. i'lltaketwoplease says:

    A Fedex package arrived last week at our office, and it happened to be chocolate covered strawberries. I’ve had some before but the chocolate was always too thick, were messy to eat, or just not memorable. But these were the most delicious chocolate covered strawberries I’ve ever tasted, and they were beautiful too! The dozen arrived in a styrofoam box with some chocolate dipped cookies. The strawberries were HUGE and came covered in white and/or milk chocolate, some with nuts, coconut or chocolate chips. The layer of chocolate was perfect, not too thick and didn’t fall off when you bit into it and the strawberries were sweet, fragrant and full of flavor. I hope the next corporate gifts we get are these, because they’re too expensive to order for myself! Go to http://www.berries.com/ and check out the yummy pictures. I know Costco has some for Valentine’s but I’m wondering if they’ll be as tasty.

    Feb 1, 2008 | 2:34 pm

     
  16. elaine says:

    how much are strawberries right now in Manila?

    May 14, 2009 | 9:02 am

     
 

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