Monday, February 18, 2013

Tuxedo Strawberries

Tuxedo Strawberries are a nice garnish for a variety of chocolate desserts, and a step up from chocolate covered strawberries. If you have experience with dessert making, presentation, and chocolate  they are not particularly difficult to make, just a little tedious and time-consuming. They require great attention to detail, and just making a few of them will take a significant amount of time. But if you can get them right they are well worth it. It is extremely difficult to get them absolutely perfect looking, even with the use of toothpicks, cotton swabs, and a magnifying glass.
I attempted these for the first time last week. I have done chocolate Covered Strawberries before (see February 13th, 2012), and they turned out quite nice looking. Not completely professional looking, but I have an extra year's experience on me now. There was a slight problem with the chocolate sort of breaking off of them in pieces instead of being smooth and sticking to them, but they still looked nice. So I decided to try tuxedo strawberries. The technique for these is to dip strawberries in melted white chocolate, let set, then dip the sides in melted dark chocolate  and add a bow-tie and some buttons. Simple right? The first problem was, I did not have any white chocolate on hand, as I am not much of a white chocolate fan. I decided to use a quick icing, just icing sugar and water. This was working okay, not as smooth to dip in as chocolate, but not bad. Instead of dipping the strawberries in dark chocolate next, I decided to pipe the chocolate on, figuring it would be easier, which it was. Satisfied, I photographed them and put them in the fridge. Done.

i did not discover the problem until the next day. I had made these strawberries the day before, knowing I would not have time the day of. But in the fridge overnight, the juicy strawberries absorbed the icing, and the only thing left was the chocolate  Well, the tuxedo effect was gone, but I could still have chocolate encased strawberries, right? Well no, that chocolate began to flake off like last year. Hmm, the strawberries themselves were still in tact, and when I tasted one, the otherwise somewhat tasteless (it is off-season) strawberries were extra sweet from the icing. So I had to forgot about garnishing the strawberries and just use a plain strawberry to garnish my dessert on Thursday. A tuxedo strawberry would have looked nice, but I made do. However, I take all of these failed attempts I endure and use them as learning experiences; if you don't make mistakes, you will never learn. I learned that in this case, icing is not a good substitute for white chocolate, at least not in advance preparation. I also learned strawberries absorb icing when stored in the fridge overnight. I'll remember that for next time. I also learned (though I already knew this) that it is best to photograph your food immediately once it is ready, before anything happens to it, so you have photo evidence of your creation!

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