Specialty Foods – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Chocolate & Pastry Industry Terms Glossary

I. What is Couverture Chocolate?

Couverture chocolate is a high-quality chocolate that contains a higher percentage of cocoa butter compared to regular chocolate. This makes it ideal for tempering and creating smooth, glossy finishes on confections. Couverture chocolate is often used by professional chocolatiers and pastry chefs due to its superior taste and texture. It is commonly used in the production of truffles, bonbons, and other chocolate-based desserts.

II. What is Ganache?

Ganache is a rich and creamy mixture of chocolate and cream that is used as a filling, frosting, or glaze in various desserts. It is made by heating cream and pouring it over chopped chocolate, then stirring until smooth. Ganache can be flavored with various ingredients such as liqueurs, extracts, or spices to create different flavor profiles. It is commonly used in truffles, cakes, tarts, and other decadent desserts.

III. What is Praline?

Praline is a confection made from nuts (usually almonds or hazelnuts) that are caramelized and coated in sugar. The nuts are often ground into a paste and mixed with sugar and butter to create a smooth filling for chocolates and pastries. Praline can also refer to a type of chocolate that contains a layer of praline filling. It is a popular ingredient in desserts such as praline truffles, praline cakes, and praline tarts.

IV. What is Marzipan?

Marzipan is a sweet paste made from ground almonds, sugar, and sometimes egg whites. It is commonly used in pastry and confectionery to create decorations, fillings, and coatings for cakes and pastries. Marzipan can be shaped and molded into various shapes and figures, making it a versatile ingredient for decorating desserts. It is often flavored with almond extract or other flavorings to enhance its taste. Marzipan is a staple in European baking traditions and is used in treats such as marzipan fruits, marzipan cakes, and marzipan candies.

V. What is Pâte à Choux?

Pâte à Choux, also known as choux pastry, is a light and airy pastry dough that is used to make a variety of desserts such as éclairs, cream puffs, and profiteroles. It is made by cooking flour, water, butter, and eggs together to create a smooth, elastic dough. Pâte à Choux has a high moisture content, which allows it to puff up when baked, creating hollow centers that can be filled with creams, custards, or ganache. It is a versatile pastry dough that can be shaped into different forms and sizes to create a wide range of sweet and savory treats.

VI. What is Temper?

Tempering is a process used in chocolate making to stabilize the cocoa butter crystals in chocolate, resulting in a smooth, glossy finish and a crisp snap when the chocolate is broken. Tempering involves heating and cooling the chocolate to specific temperatures while agitating it to ensure that the cocoa butter crystals are properly aligned. This process is essential for creating high-quality chocolate products such as truffles, bonbons, and chocolate bars. Properly tempered chocolate will have a shiny appearance and a firm texture, making it more visually appealing and pleasant to eat. Tempering is a skill that requires practice and precision to master, but the results are well worth the effort in creating delicious and beautiful chocolate creations.