Techniques

Techniques

By
Pana Barbounis
Contains
0 recipes
Published by
Hardie Grant Books
ISBN
9781743792544
Photographer
Armelle Habib, Chris Middleton

The main thing to remember when making raw products is that blending or whisking some ingredients for too long may result in your mix ‘splitting’, and the oils separating from the mixture.

This can often happen with raw food because you are using a lot of fats (good, of course), such as cacao butter, coconut oil, nut milks and nut butters.

It is also very important to have your ingredients at roughly the same temperature. If you add a handful of frozen berries to a cake mixture that’s at room temperature, your mix may seize and the oils will set, becoming lumpy and hard to blend.

This section explains techniques that will help you make the recipes in this book.

Piping

There are many different piping methods, and each person will have their own preference. Keeping your piping consistent will help give your desserts a professional finish.

Making a paper piping bag

Start with a completely square piece of baking paper. From approximately halfway up the square on the left-hand edge, cut a diagonal line down towards the lower right-hand corner of the paper, finishing just a few centimetres above the corner.

Fold the triangle’s end corner towards the centre of the triangle, holding the squared-off end of the triangle in place.

Start turning your hand inwards, making a cone shape.

Adjust the tightness of your cone to form a neat, pointed tip on the end.

Bring the remaining paper up towards the top of the cone.

Tuck the edge of the paper into the cone, to secure it. (The square shape you made at this end of the triangle will help to keep it in place.)

Using a small ladle, pour mixture into the cone and pipe away.

Writing with chocolate: tips

Don’t overfill your piping bag – about halfway is fine.

Fold the end of the piping bag towards the opposite side of the seam.

Hold the piping bag as you would a pen, and hold your other hand underneath, to keep everything steady.

Keep your piping bag hole small – this will give you more control.

If your chocolate is too thick, it won’t pipe freely, so just add a little melted coconut oil to thin it out.

If you are writing a message and want to practise, lay a piece of baking paper over a written message and trace over the top.

If you’re not confident piping directly onto your cake or chocolate, pipe onto a plate or plaque.

If piping on individual chocolates, line them up in a row so you can pipe from one to another without stopping.

Ruling, portioning and smoothing cakes

Take the time to measure and portion your desserts with care. Smooth off the edges with a palette knife to give a clean edge. This will give the finished product a much more professional appearance.

Making individual chocolates

Lining moulds

Note: Ensure your chocolate mould is completely dry. Any little drops of water will leave watermarks on the finished chocolate.

Melt chocolate slowly in a bain-marie. If the chocolate is not melting to a smooth consistency, you can add 1 teaspoon of coconut oil.

Hold the chocolate mould on a slight angle. With a ladle, spoon the chocolate over each mould to fill. Tap the edge of the mould with your ladle handle to release any air bubbles. This is especially important if your mould has lots of detail.

Tip the mould upside down over the bowl of chocolate and let the excess drip out, tapping gently with a metal spatula.

Run your spatula over the top and sides of the mould to remove all excess chocolate – this will ensure a clean and professional finish. Set in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Note: Excess chocolate can be used to close off the chocolates once the fillings are in place.

Filling and closing moulds

To fill the mould, place your filling in a piping bag. Squeeze some filling into each chocolate mould, leaving a gap of approximately 2 mm at the top of each mould.

Ladle more melted chocolate over the mould to completely cover the filling and fill the mould.

Using a metal spatula, scrape off excess chocolate. Keep your hand and spatula flat to ensure you don’t puncture your beautiful chocolates! Set in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Note: Once the chocolates are set, twist the mould slightly as you would an ice tray, then turn the mould upside down and tip the chocolates out.

Choosing your garnish

Don’t clutter the cake. Think about textures and colours but, most importantly, flavours. Which flavours pair well together? Which don’t? For example, you wouldn’t use a peppermint garnish on a citrus cake, but blueberries and other fruit would be a match made in heaven. Don’t go overboard with fresh herbs if they have a strong flavour. Try baby herbs instead – they’re a lot milder.

All garnishes should be edible! We don’t blame anyone who dives headfirst into a dessert, so everything on the cake should be safe to devour.

Try to leave a border or large area on the plate or cake free, with the main garnish only covering part of it. You’ve created something amazing; you don’t want the garnish to steal the show!

Fermentation

Fermentation is a great way to change a food's make-up so it resembles a cooked product, while also breaking it down so it’s easier to digest and creates a good bacteria balance in your gut. Examples of fermented food are sauerkraut and kimchi.

You can ferment by adding a probiotic; whether it be a probiotic capsule, or a fermented liquid called ‘rejuvelac’, which is made from sprouted grains or seeds left to ferment in filtered water until it becomes slightly fizzy.

Filtered water

Many of the recipes in this book use water to soak and mix with. We always recommend using filtered water, as it’s purer and cleaner than tap water. Substances in your tap water can affect the taste of ingredients; using filtered water means the dangerous contaminants have been removed and only the good stuff remains. It’s also good to use natural spring water if you can find it.

Heat sensitivity

Raw foods can be more sensitive to heat compared with their baked or cooked relatives, and some components can melt easily. To achieve a great result when working with raw food, it’s important to work in a room with a cool temperature and use cool utensils. For some recipes, we recommend pre-chilling your utensils in a freezer.

Nut milk and pulp

Making your own nut milks at home will mean you have a really fresh product, along with the added bonus of nut pulp, which can be used in several of our recipes.

Soaking nuts

Cashews and brazil nuts need to be soaked for a minimum of 30 minutes. Almonds need approximately 12 hours. Soaking gets rid of any dust or sediment on the nut, as well as making it quicker and easier to blend it to a smooth consistency. Once the nuts are soaked, you can remove them from the liquid and add them to your recipe.

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