I blame Alton Brown. To be completely fair, food science was a field of study long before he came onto the scene with his Good Eats show, but he absolutely popularized it and brought it into the mainstream.
The result was a new crop of young chefs who were curious about molecular gastronomy, which had previously been a specialty of a handful of innovative chefs throughout the world. Those chefs included both traditional and pastry chefs… and the pastry chefs created flexible chocolate.
It has other names – pliable chocolate, flexi-chocolate, pliable ganache – and it set the pastry world abuzz in the late 2000s when it was successfully displayed on an episode of Food Network Challenge, being used to create a dress for a cake that had been shaped like a woman; the dress moved naturally, with the thin pieces of chocolate behaving more like a fabric than a stiff traditional candy.
It’s created using gelatin, agar, cream, traditional chocolate and a few other ingredients. The taste is that of whatever chocolate used in the recipe, although the texture has a mouth feel similar to that of a Tootsie roll.
If you’re in the mood to stun your relatives for Thanksgiving or Christmas, you should have plenty of time to gather the requisite ingredients and get the little bit of practice you’ll need to have the results you want on the dessert table over the upcoming holidays.
And if you just want to play with your food, there’s that, too.
Question of the night: What’s your favorite dessert?