Molded White Chocolates with Passionfruit Curd Filling
Artisan Chocolate Series, Part 3: Molded Chocolates
I’m not ready to let go of Valentine’s Day.
Really, it’s the combination of both the holiday and my birthday a few days earlier – I get spoiled with nearly a week of prolonged gifting and decadence, a chance to give back to the people I love and, of course, the perfect excuse to make a bundle of chocolates for gifting.
So whether you’re behind on your gifting, are just now getting around to seeing someone you love, or just aren’t prepared to cut off your chocolate supply cold-turkey, here’s another chance to impress yourself and others with newly acquired chocolate-making skills!
Though I have a boundless affinity for dark chocolate, I do stray from it’s bittersweet embrace on occasion. As with the the Milk Chocolate Cinnamon Cayenne Almond Butter Truffles earlier, certain fillings and ingredients call for a balance of sweet, creaminess that dark chocolate just can’t provide. Also. if I’m making chocolates in bulk to give as gifts, I like to make sure each package contains a mixture of shapes, flavors and textures – and at least one offering each of dark, milk and white chocolate.
To balance the bright, tart acidity of a passionfruit filling, the smooth, mellow creaminess of white chocolate is ideal. The chocolate melds into the background, complementing and highlighting the passionfruit curd in a way that lets the filling sparkle on your tongue without competing. White chocolate is an excellent foil for almost any tart filling – cranberry, lemon, rhubarb, all benefit from the rounded sugars of a sweet white chocolate shell.
For chocolates that have a creamy or liquid filling, you will need to purchase a chocolate mold. Chocolate molds can be made of thin, flimsy plastic, hard polycarbonate plastic, flexible silicon and even rigid metal. There are advantages and disadvantages to each – I have a mixture of polycarbonate and plastic molds in a few classic shapes (rectangular bar, dome, triangle, peanut butter cup, egg and bunny shapes). You can get virtually any shape of mold you can think of online, so if you have a special birthday or holiday theme you would like to reinforce in chocolate, go nuts!
The polycarbonate molds are considered industry standard, but they are relatively expensive (usually around $17-30 per sheet). I only buy simple, classic shapes in polycarbonate so they can be used year-round for any occasion. For whims or holiday-specific molds, select flimsier plastic molds – you will be able to tell they are the flimsy kind because they will be much cheaper, starting around $3. Polycarbonate are much higher quality, giving each piece a smooth, shiny finish that releases easily with a gentle tap of the sheet after cooling. If you want an easy time, invest in this type of mold – it will save you some trouble.
Plastic molds are fine, but they are more cheaply made and not as good at releasing the chocolates after tempering – you may have to wiggle the sheet or even pry a few out, damaging or even breaking your delicate filled shells. There are usually a lot more shapes and options available in flimsy plastic, though, so if you have something specific in mind, it may be the way to go.
I have purchased several molds from online chocolate specialty shop Chocoley, which I like because they have a large variety of offerings and I know exactly what I’m getting and that the products are specifically made for chocolate (and not other types of candy), but I know you can search for both polycarbonate and plastic molds on Amazon.
How to Use a Chocolate Mold:
To use a chocolate mold, you fill the mold depressions with tempered chocolate, drain or remove the excess chocolate in the depression, chill the mold to harden, pipe or add your filling, then coat with a final layer of tempered chocolate. After one last chill, you should be able to gently tap the mold to remove smooth, glossy, perfectly-formed chocolates reflecting the shape of the depression. For detailed instructions, view the recipe below.
Fair warning: molded chocolates can be messy, so either line your working surfaces or be prepared for some chocolaty collateral damage. The trickiest part is monitoring the chocolate temperature during the molding process – it needs to stay in the specified tempering range so it is not too thick to work with and so you do not lose temper by overheating.
For this tutorial, we’ll be using white chocolate. White chocolate, the fattiest and most finicky of the three groups, uses exactly the same tempering method you learned in Part 1 of the Artisan Chocolate Series. The only difference is the temperatures you adhere to in the Melt/Cool/Melt and Hold process – for white chocolate, you can use the same temps as milk chocolate – 110/79/85-88 degrees.
It is helpful to watch the process in action before attempting yourself! Pay no attention to the aluminum foil around my mold – I was working with a smaller batch of chocolate and wanted to make sure the extra depressions didn’t get chocolate in them!
To be extra fancy, you can dust the inside of each mold depression with a little bit of edible pearl dust for added sparkle! I just took a small, cheap clean paintbrush, dipped it in the dust and tapped a bit over each depression. You can also dust the finished chocolates, if you’d rather.
This same method works for both milk and dark chocolate, as well, so you can experiment and add some variety to your next box of chocolates! There’s plenty of time to hone your tempering, hand-dipping and molded chocolate skill before the Easter Bunny comes into town…
*Thanks so much to my lovely friend Kate for the beautiful birthday flowers used in the photo shoot!!!
- Wax paper
- Double boiler (or a bowl or pot on top of another pot filled with boiling/water)
- Instant read thermometer/Infrared thermometer
- Polycarbonate chocolate mold (or plastic)
- Bench scraper or frosting knife
- 1/2 cup fruit curd (Passionfruit or Lemon)*
- 1 lb white chocolate
- Prepare your filling a day before or just before tempering with chocolate, depending on your filling. The filling will need to be cool so it doesn't melt the chocolate in the mold as it is filled. This recipe uses a curd filling, which must be prepared significantly earlier to allow time for complete cooling (I made mine a few days before).
- Get all of your ingredients and tools in order so you can quickly execute each tempering and molding step.
- Temper your chocolate using the correct temperatures for dark, milk or white chocolate.
- Dark Chocolate: 115, 79, 88-90
- Milk Chocolate: 110, 79, 85-88
- White Chocolate: 110, 79, 84-87
- When the chocolate is at the hold phase, quickly pour approximately 2/3 of the tempered chocolate into the depressions of the mold. It is okay if you get chocolate on the surface of the mold, you will scrape it off after pouring.
- If the chocolate is still thin and pourable, tilt the mold so that chocolate covers every surface of each depression. If the chocolate has gotten harder or a bit thick, use your finger to swirl the chocolate against all the sides of the depression.
- If the chocolate is thin and pourable, flip the mold gently upside down over your tempered chocolate bowl and drizzle the excess chocolate out of the depressions and back into your bowl. If the chocolate is thicker, scoop the excess as best you can, being careful not to scrape or bump the inside surfaces of the depression. Scoop the excess chocolate back into your tempering bowl.
- Quickly move your tempering bowl back to the double boiler and bring back into melt and hold range, stirring careful and making sure you don't break the hold temperature. Remove from heat and go back to your mold.
- Using a long icing knife or hard, flat bench scraper, use pressure to smoothly scrape and pull off extra chocolate from the surface of the mold. Get the surface of the mold as clean as possible so the chocolates will fall out easily later (rather than being anchored by chocolate on the flat surface of the mold). Scrape the chocolate into your tempered chocolate bowl.
- Place the mold in the fridge or freezer for 3-5 minutes, then recheck your tempered chocolate temperature and place back on the double boiler if necessary to stay within melt and hold range.
- Remove the mold from the fridge, then pipe your filling into each depression, filling only 3/4 of the way full. Do not go above 3/4, or the filling will mix with the final chocolate layer. Take care not to get filling on any surface edges, or the final chocolate layer will not adhere.
- Tap the mold firmly once or twice to settle the filling, then pour remaining tempered chocolate over the fillings, making sure each depression is generously covered with chocolate. Using a bench scraper or frosting knife, lightly smooth the chocolate over the depressions. Scrape any excess back into the tempered chocolate bowl. Using the scraper, go back over the mold and drag the edge firmly over the surface (like you did earlier) to clean the surface completely. if there are any gaps in coverage over the depressions, add a spoonful of tempered chocolate on top and drag the bench scraper over again until completely sealed.
- Move the mold to the fridge or freezer for 15-30 minutes. Tidy your workspace, then place a kitchen towel on a flat surface. Cover with wax paper.
- When the chocolates are ready, move the mold to one edge of the wax paper. Holding as low as possible, turn the mold and gently shake to release the chocolates. If any chocolates are being stubborn, move the first chocolates out of the way, then turn the mold and firmly rap it one time on the flat surface. Pick up and see if any other chocolates have released. Continue until all chocolates are released.
- If filling is perishable, chill chocolates in the refrigerator until serving.
- *I used a delicious recipe for passionfruit curd from the Momofuku Milkbar cookbook, but this delicious one from Hummingbird High will work perfectly, too - http://www.hummingbirdhigh.com/2016/01/passionfruit-curd-donuts.html. If you don't wish to make your own curd, store bought lemon curd will be a good substitute.