What is Fika?

What is Fika?

In Swedish tradition, Fika is a break - a pause - in your day to indulge in the simple pleasures of a good cup of coffee or tea, some sweets or pastries, and time shared with friends and loved ones.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Chocolate Shards

Sometimes a dessert needs a bolder presence, and chocolate shards are a simple and quick garnish that can be used that don't require any special equipment. All that is needed is a heatproof bowl, small saucepan/pot, parchment paper and a knife. (An offset spatula makes things a little easier, but not necessary).

Full instructions after the break!

Melt chocolate over a double boiler: Break the chocolate into small pieces in a heatproof bowl, and set over a small simmering pot of water. Do not let the water boil. When the chocolate is about 2/3 to 3/4 melted, remove the bowl from the heat and stir until the chocolate is fully melted. (Or temper the chocolate if you know how - this is on my to-do list for the New Year!)

Pour the chocolate onto a clean piece of parchment paper. Spread evenly to form a thin coat about 1mm thick. It doesn't have to be perfectly even, because the next step is to roll the parchment paper, chocolate and all. This should be done rather quickly and gingerly, without putting any pressure over the paper, so that the melted chocolate doesn't get squished out or thin in any section. One way is to roll the paper from the edges with both hands.

Pop the roll into a freezer (or the giant walk-in freezer that is the garage in wintertime), and wait until it has hardened completely.

When ready to use, take the roll from the freezer and quickly unroll the hardened chocolate. As you pull the paper, it should snap off curved shards of chocolate until the entire roll has been reduced to pieces. Some pieces may be too large; these can be snapped into smaller pieces by hand. Pieces that are too small or left over can be melted down for another time.

These same chocolate shards were used for the Chocolate and Cranberry cake, stuck vertically around the edge of the cake after it was masked with chocolate ganache.

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