I buy pretty much every book about chocolate I see. It’s a little silly, I suppose, as many are just theme and variations on the same recipes or stories, but, well, you probably all know by now that I’m a little obsessed. I was delighted when the lovely Will Torrent asked if I’d like to preview his now newly-released book, Chocolate At Home. This is Will’s second recipe book and covers his main love, chocolate. This is just one of the reasons I like Will. He’s also a super guy and incredibly talented.
I’ve had the book for about two weeks now and I’ve had a chance to make three of the recipes from it. Usually I just look to recipe books for inspiration and then twist the recipe a little. I tried not to do this in the spirit of giving the recipes a representative review, but I still couldn’t resist two small tweaks to two of the recipes. Well, three if you count the fact that I split the brioche recipe for the doughnuts in two and continued with one half exactly as instructed and used the other to make a brioche loaf that had an extended life as French toast and bread and butter pudding.
I digress. What I love most about this book is how beautiful it is. The photography is stunning and every single result looks like something I want to eat. Now. The only drawback to this effect is that there are only one or two recipes in the book that are suitable to relieve that immediate craving. Most of the recipes require some pre-planning (like resting time of some sort) or just some detailed procedures to produce the various components to get the end result. The flipside of a time-consuming recipe means that it should be a small stretch for the home baker. In this book you know you’re not going to get just a rehash of other chocolate books but some truly original recipes.
The first chapter dedicated to filled chocolates is an extensive guide to making your own stunning and interesting chocolate box collection. Cognac, caramel and pear domes, anyone? I think I’m going to wait until Christmas break to tackle chocolates with layers, despite how helpful and specific Will’s guidelines and the accompanying images are. I’m just too intimidated by how perfect the end result is in the book’s images. And I’m wary of not having the time to do it properly and wasting precious chocolate if I – as I undoubtedly will – cover my kitchen in it.
What I did make were the Chocolate sables (I left out the orange zest and covered some in dark instead of milk chocolate, but these were still ridiculously moreish), Chocolate brioche doughnuts and the Salted caramel and rum top hat cake. The cake was much easier than the separated components initially made it seem and the overall result was fantastic to look at and stretched to serve quite a few people (even after I got several generous pieces just for me!). I didn’t have rum so made my ganache with chocolate stout instead. The beer ganache was fabulous but I would recommend sticking to the rum for this cake.
The book includes a great guide to the different methods of tempering, a little background to chocolate, a resource guide for where to find what you need to make everything and helpfully includes metric and American measurements.
Next on my to-make list is the Chocolate & chestnut roulade…
If you’ve got the book and tried any recipes, please share with us in the comments below!