(This article appeared in the Fall 2021 issue of Pastry Arts Magazine)
Pairing various ingredients with chocolate opens up a world of exponential flavor.
By Donald Wressell
Whether you are working with a complex blend or a pointed single origin, you can design a flavor journey unique to your style and your customers’ tastes. Finding the right way to deliver those added flavors elevates your creation. Perhaps infusing an Earl Grey tea into a cream is the right choice, or picking fresh kumquats from your garden which are then zested straight onto the plate as a finishing zing; you get to design how those flavors can enhance and complement the chocolate in your desserts.
Yet whatever the chosen medium to create that exponential or innovative experience, the timeless pairing of fruit and chocolate seems always to be just that – timeless. Having access to a diverse array of flavors to heighten your chosen chocolates is imperative. Fresh fruit is one approach, though sometimes plucking a kumquat from a tree isn’t possible. As an alternative, purées provide a canvas of flavors, but can also take on a variety of forms in a wide range of finished desserts, confections and baked goods.
Integrating purees has the capacity to not only impact flavor but also texture in exciting and unassuming ways. Layering textures complements the multiple expressions of both chocolate and purees, either solo or harmonized in concert with one another. One may choose to select a fruit flavor that complements the chosen chocolates and integrate that flavor into all components of the finished dessert. Alternatively, deconstructing each element of a dessert allows a different yet complementary experience to take hold – leaning into the adage that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
Take, for instance, a confectionery application: layering in a trio of textures of a single flavored puree can create a sense of harmony — a common thread that wouldn’t otherwise exist. It’s simply a different approach with the same end goal, which is to deliver that premium tasting experience in every bite. A verrine can deliver a completely different tasting experience, even with all the same components but just with different purees. Layering each piece within the verrine offers a new way to experience each flavor – they hold their own as a single bite, while delivering yet again a harmonized flavor. Similarly, with ice cream, one has the opportunity to infuse flavor in the same layered way, however, the added element of temperature creates something new. Temperature almost always creates a different expression of flavor; exploring contrasting temperatures with selected puree applications as well as chosen chocolate ones can create a refreshing yet rich experience.
In Guittard’s latest collaboration, we’ve partnered with our like-minded industry friend, Les verges Boiron, to develop a series of recipes. Two companies, two products, and three pastry chefs worked together to create nine exciting recipes that celebrate the timelessness and ability for innovation of not only chocolate and fruit, but also craft and sustainability.
* Photos by Audrey Ma