The first step in making this project is tempering the chocolate. Some people think that tempering is difficult or complicated and may be[ afraid to try it. Actually, tempering chocolate the traditional way is like working with plaster. The method is called tabliering. I think you will find the most difficult thing about tempering chocolate is staying clean!]
I always find the molds I use in stores that sell a lot of plastic things. You can mold chocolate in almost anything but not all molds are filled the same way. For the techniques demonstrated in this recipe, I used plastic eggs of various sizes. You can buy the ones filled with Easter candy and, if necessary, cut them in half.
Keep in mind that the temperature in your kitchen will affect the speed at which the chocolate sets. Also, if you want to use a silk screen, you'll need to have it made at a local art store before you begin the process. You can use store-bought candies to decorate your eggs. The children will have fun with that!
To make the medallion, I started with a little of the same chocolate plastic that we used to make the flowers in the previous recipe. Use a rolling pin to roll out one color of chocolate plastic using cornstarch to "flour" the work surface. The rolled chocolate should be about 1/8-inch thick.
When using a silk screen, it will be easier if you cut the medallion after you have transferred the design to it. Melt the dark chocolate over a double boiler. Hold the silk screen over the rolled out chocolate. Use a plastic scraper with a straight edge. Apply about a teaspoon of chocolate to the scraper and gently pull the chocolate across the design. Carefully lift off the silkscreen. It will dry almost immediately. Use a paring knife Before you begin the next step, you have to decide if you would like to color the chocolate for the egg. If you do, be sure to use powdered food coloring or the chocolate will seize. Add the color slowly and sparingly until you have the desired color. Don't forget to save some melted chocolate uncolored so you can use it to finish the decoration. Place the medallion design side down inside one of the egg halves. Use a very clean and dry pastry brush to coat the inside of a mold with chocolate. The pastry brush must be clean and dry. Dip the brush in the chocolate so it permeates the bristles and brings them to the temperature of the chocolate. This tempers the brush so the chocolate will not set on the bristles while you are coating the mold. Apply a total of 3 layers of chocolate, allowing each to set almost completely before applying the next layer. These layers will make the molded chocolate thick enough to handle without breaking easily. When each layer is almost set, use a paring knife to scrape the edge of the mold clean. This will make it easier to unmold the egg. Placing the coated mold in the refrigerator will help the chocolate to harden. If the chocolate is properly tempered, you should be able to lift it from the egg mold.
Use some melted chocolate to "glue" the 2 halves together. If you place the pieces in the refrigerator first, the egg will set faster, as the cold chocolate will cause the chocolate "glue" to harden and set quickly. Make a cornet and fill it with tempered white chocolate. Use it to draw decorations on the outside of the egg. I added decorating cake gems that resembled pearls to finish my Faberge egg.
Tip: It is easier to work with more chocolate than you need. A larger amount will hold its temper longer. You can allow any leftover chocolate to harden. Wrap it well and store at room temperature. You can melt it again for your next project. Work in glass bowls. Then, if needed, you can use the microwave to melt the chocolate.
Variation: When I have a really large mold, I like to create the illusion of texture to lighten the overall effect. Marbleizing chocolate is a simple way to do this. Start by drizzling both white and dark chocolate in the bottom of the mold. Dip your clean, dry fingers in the bowl of tempered dark chocolate and use them to spread the chocolate over the drizzles to create a marbled effect. Dipping your fingers in chocolate coats them and adds a thin layer of chocolate to the mold, which makes it easier to create the marble pattern. When the mold is marbleized, use a ladle to add just enough dark chocolate to coat the sides completely. Empty any excess into the bowl of chocolate and invert the mold over the wire rack to drain further. Once the chocolate starts to harden, about 5 minutes, scrape the edge of the mold clean with a paring knife. When the chocolate is completely set, you should be able to gently slide the shell out of the mold by pushing on one side. The mold can be placed in the refrigerator to help the chocolate to harden. If you are using a clear plastic mold, you will be able to see the chocolate is ready to be unmolded when it automatically pulls away from the sides of the mold.
Sources: Team Torres LLC www.mrchocolate.com PO Box 303 New York, NY 10101-0303 212/489-4847 212/489-0142 (fax) Plastic scraper, silkscreen
Beryl's Cake Decorating & Pastry Supplies www.beryls.com PO Box 1584 North Springfield, VA 22151 800/488-2749 703/750-3779 (fax) Cocoa butter; white and dark chocolate; decorative cake gems, edible paints; various egg molds
Sur La Table Catalog Division www.surlatable.com 800/243-0852 Sinsation Chocolate Tempering Machine
Recipe courtesy of Jacques Torres (Mrchocolate.com)