As, promised in my post from Easter, I wanted to share with you this yummy book.
I’ve had lots and lots of cook books sent to me to review here on Cakes, Bakes and Cookies, but none of them have the amazing chocolate content of Couture Chocolate, by William Curley, Jacqui Small publishers.
This book has EVERYTHING! It’s totally jam packed full of helpful advice on how to handle chocolate including how to temper chocolate properly and tons and tons of recipes.
William Curly may not be a household name yet, but I am sure he soon will be. He started his career at the Gleneagles Hotel and has worked under some of the biggest chef names around including Pierre Koffmann at La Tante Claire, Raymond Blanc at Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons, Marco Pierre White at The Restaurant in Knightsbridge and Marc Meneau at L’Espérance in France. He also worked as Chef Patissier at the London Savoy. He’s won a ton of awards and in 2004 teamed up with his wife, who also just so happens to be a Patissier, to open their shop in Richmond Upon Thames as well as one in Belgravia. They sell box after box of their delicious chocolates and truffles as well as run master classes and courses for kids and adults. I think I may need to go on one of these!
So what’s in the book?
The chapters are…
- An approach to Chocolate- A word or two by the main man himself.
- Chocolate essentials- Loads of background info on the ‘Origins of Cocoa’, how it’s transformed from ‘Bean to bar’ and the all essential how to temper.
- Truffles - great tips on how to make a truffle from piping them to rolling, with nine delicious recipes including how to make ganache, which is essentially what truffles are! I’ve made loads of truffles in the past – usually as gifts at Christmas time, but these looks so much more high end. (Mental note to self – make the Yamazaki single malt whisky and Dacquoise truffle this year!)
- Couture chocolates- These are something else! I mean where else will you find how to make layered chocolates, jelly layered chocolates, how to emboss, decorate and add flavour to chocolates? I mean I haven’t heard of some of the ingredients but they still sound delicious! How is that so?
- Bars & Bites – This is where the diet HAS to go out of the window. Florentines, Cerises au Kirsch (Tim’s favorites) Walnut brittle and the most delicious bars of chocolate I’ve ever seen. I have an unhealthy love of salt so the Rosemary and Sea salt bars are the one for me, but I can’t resist these fruit and nut bars. If there’s fruit on them does that count as healthy?
- Bouchées- The word ‘Bouchées’ means ‘little mouthful’ in French and normally refers to a vol-au-vent type pastry, but here they are mouth watering delicacies including Millionaires shortbread, sea salt caramel mou, chocolate meringue, chocolate or coffee macaroons, the list goes on and on!
- Cakes & Biscuits- How about chocolate Madelines to start, Chestnut and sesame brownies for main and a chocolate cake made with dark chocolate not cocoa powder to finish?
- Patisserie- This is where the artistry comes in. Knowing how to get chocolate to do what you want in order to create a decoration, whether that’s in hoops, curls, waves, balls or twists. There’s a fine artistry to the assembly of these deserts. William takes the classics and gives them a modern spin. You’ll find chocolate tarts, a classic Mille Feulle, chocolate and apricot roulade and Chocolate tiramisu in a casket (as seen on the cover of the book)
- Ice cream, sauces and drinks- If I say chocolate & raspberry sorbet, Almond milk ice cream lollies, chocolate & praline spread and black Forrest milkshake, you’ll get a small hint of what’s in store in this chapter. Something to tickle every taste bud!
There’s also a glossary of ingredients and equipment at the end of the book. I love this as it’s always fascinating to see what other people use as their tools of their trade. William also gives his advice on what to look out for when buying equipment and how to care for it, eg you should clean chocolate moulds with cotton wool to ensure that you have a shiny surface on your chocolate.
On my ‘To do list’
Oh my goodness, there’s too much to choose from. I can’t stop flicking through this book and although I would normally switch off the moment a thermometer is mentioned, these recipes look too amazing not to try. They have the most incredible ingredients and combinations. Just one look at the Blackcurrant tea cakes ( you know the kind of marshmallow tea cakes you get in M&S!) and I’m hooked. I’ll also be giving the Matcha (green tea) & chocolate shortbread and a whole selection of couture chocolates a go.
This book is a definite keeper. The knowledge and tips and advice make it worth it alone but with all the delicious recipes. I think it’s a winner all round.