Take the 2-minute tour ×
Seasoned Advice is a question and answer site for professional and amateur chefs. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I just made Hervé This' Chocolate Chantilly and it didn't taste anywhere near as good as I had hoped. The consistency seemed almost right, though very slightly grainy, but the taste was, well, what you might expect: watered down chocolate.

Does anyone know what, if anything, might have gone wrong? I'm using Weiss chocolate with 57% cocoa solids. I was expecting it to taste something like chocolate mousse. Do I need to alter my expectations?

share|improve this question
    
I'd say yes, even after looking at the recipe. –  Tobias Op Den Brouw Aug 4 '10 at 11:57
add comment

2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

This dish should taste like the chocolate you use and have the texture of a mousse. I'm not familiar with Weiss chocolate, but I don't think 57% is adequate. I would suggest at least 70%.

Perhaps you should try a different brand? Again, I'm not familiar with Weiss, but is it any good? Do you like the taste of the chocolate alone? You should. If you try a different brand, I'd suggest Valrhona.

Update

The graininess is a result of over whisking. If you over whisk you can simply return it to the pot and start again.

Also, I looked up Weiss chocolate with 57% cocoa solids, and I'm more confident that this is the primary cause of your flavor problems. The breakdown for this is: 57% Cocoa, 42% Sugar, 36% Fat (the fat is included in the cocoa solid). Cocoa butter (the fat) is what carries the chocolate flavor (provided by the non-fat cocoa solids) and provides the richness and body of the chocolate. Chocolates with 57% Cocoa typically contain 33-36% fat content. Whereas chocolate with 70% cocoa solids typically have a fat content in the range of 40-42%. This lack of fat can lead to a "blander" taste in the finished dish.

Another thing to keep in mind is that this dish gives you a fair amount of wiggle room. If you whip it up and it feels like it's still lacking in some fat, then melt it, add more chocolate and start over. If you end up with something that isn't light enough, you can simply start over and add a little more water. As long as you don't burn anything you can do this indefinitely.

Finally, if you feel like experimenting you can use something besides water. In the original article Herve This recommended orange juice or blackcurrant puree.

Another Update

I found a video that uses tea in place of water. It also demonstrates how to do it without whisking, using a N₂O siphon.

share|improve this answer
    
Thanks, I'll try another brand. They don't sell Valrhona at my local but they do sell Amedei which I considered a little over the top (read expensive) for a first effort. Maybe I'll have to shed some doubloons in the name of science :-) –  Chris Steinbach Aug 3 '10 at 22:33
2  
I was thoroughly sceptical that changing the chocolate would make such a difference but it does! Using a 100g cake of Valrhona 71% and 85ml water, the Chantilly came out creamy, bitter and delicious. Thanks for this answer. –  Chris Steinbach Aug 7 '10 at 19:58
    
@Chris: I'm glad it worked out! :) –  hobodave Aug 7 '10 at 20:10
    
Hahaha. The video you linked had an ad in front of it for Hamburger Helper! I can't imagine that the click through of that is very good! –  yossarian Dec 16 '10 at 14:32
add comment

Excerpt:

"Break up the chocolate and put it into a pan with the water over medium... Stir the chocolate in the pan until completely melted. Have ready two bowls... Into the bigger bowl, put some ice and a little water, and place in it the smaller bowl. Pour the melted chocolate into the smaller bowl and whisk over ice - the mixture will gradually thicken..."

Possible Problems:

  • you didn't use good enough chocolate (I'm not familiar with Weiss)
  • you need to use a chocolate with higher or lower cocoa solids
  • you used too much water
  • you didn't whisk it long enough

This is an experimental recipe, so try again. Experiment.

share|improve this answer
    
Any explanation for the vote? –  Ocaasi Aug 3 '10 at 22:09
    
Chocolate quality is a possible factor although the difference in taste between the Weiss chocolate and the best I've ever tried is marginal, whereas the difference in taste between the Chantilly and an egg or cream based mousse made with a similar chocolate is quite appreciable. Too much water? Maybe; at least my taste-buds tell me so. Wouldn't I have had thickening problems with too much water? It thickened up nicely. If anything I whisked too much, according to one source that would account for the graininess. –  Chris Steinbach Aug 3 '10 at 22:24
    
That helps narrow it down. Why would more or less whisking affect the watery flavor, though? It could be multiple issues: maybe it thickened up nicely because you overwhisked, and it tasted like water because the overwhisking was the only way to make a watery base thick?? –  Ocaasi Aug 3 '10 at 22:30
    
Sure, that makes some sense. I may have made a mistake measuring. I'll try again although I'll probably reduce the amounts to save wasting chocolate. –  Chris Steinbach Aug 3 '10 at 22:53
2  
Overwhisking this actually results in a breakdown of the water-chocolate emulsion, which causes the graininess, and results in a less thick texture. –  hobodave Aug 3 '10 at 23:20
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.