How would you like to have traveled to 130 countries in search of the best chocolate? From the Amazon rain forest to Bali, The Philippines to Thailand? Sounds deliciously exotic and exciting, doesn’t it?
Ed Engoron, co-founder of Choclatique and an award winning chef who studied at the Cordon Bleu, has done that and much, much more in his lifetime. Now he has taken his years of experience, knowledge and adventures and parlayed them into his new book, Choclatique: 150 Simply Elegant Desserts (Perseus Books, 2011). Written with Mary Goodbody, Ed has used a unique technique, something I’ve never encountered before. Each recipe is based on one of five chocolate ganaches.
In a recent interview about his new book, Ed was asked, “All 150 recipes within your book use a variety of ganaches. Why is this form of chocolate more useful in making desserts?” He responds, “Preparing recipes with a ganache makes it much easier to whip up desserts that are failure proof. Weather — humidity and temperature — conditions are no longer important factors, which is not the case when working with just chocolate. With my five building block ganache recipes you can easily substitute one for the other and make over 750 recipes from this book.” Sounds amazing, doesn’t it?
As I pored over the recipes trying to decide which ones to include with this review, I was interested in his personal favorite, the Orgasmic Chocolate Soup. He says that it allows him to serve five flavors of chocolate in or on just about anything. “If you can melt chocolate, you can make this dessert.”
And what desserts he offers! Hot Fudge Nut Trifle, Better-Than-Paradise Dark Chocolate Ganache Muffins, White Chocolate Ganache Ice Cream, Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart, Candy Bar Cheesecake, White on Black Chocolate Creme Brulee. The list goes on and on.
There is ample explanation of how to use ganaches, tricks to working with chocolate, ways to expand your daily repertoire and he also includes stories of his adventures with chocolate around the world. It’s a good read as well as a good recipe book.
I also became very interested to know more about Ed’s chocolate company, Choclatique. I visited the site and was astonished by how many choices of chocolates there are, including wine-filled chocolates from Napa, California! You must visit his site to grasp the breadth of the chocolates he produces.
In the meantime, I highly recommend this book for home cooks who love chocolate and would like to explore new ways to make chocolate desserts that will win the hearts of all who taste them. And, while I would have liked to give you more recipes than I have, you really need to get the book to fully appreciate the cleverness of using ganaches as the base for beverages, desserts and even ways to dress up everyday basics such as waffles and cookies. However, I have given you two ganache recipes and one recipe using the ganache as I way to get you on your way to experimenting with ganache in desserts at home.