Recipe courtesy of Jacques Torres

Mayan God Painting

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  • Level: Advanced
  • Total: 4 hr
  • Prep: 4 hr
  • Yield: 1 centerpiece



  1. This technique can be used to make any painted design. I downloaded an image of a Mayan diety from the internet. A simple design with a lot of color makes the best result. Place your design underneath a piece of acetate. Mix together a few tablespoons of the cocoa butter with a small amount of powdered food color. It will be easier if you use a yogurt machine to store and warm your paints. Use a fine-tipped paintbrush to trace the outline of the painting with a dark-colored paint. Use other paint colors to fill in the design. This will certainly remind you of paint-by-number. Allow the paint to dry. Make a raplette: I created a homemade chocolate spreader by using poster board and an X-acto knife. Since my painting is 10 by 16-inches, the opening I will cut in the raplette is 10-inches wide by 1/8-inch high. Pour some white chocolate at the edge of the painted acetate. Pull the raplette through the chocolate pulling the chocolate over the painted drawing. This will spread an even 1/8-inch thick layer of chocolate over the painting. When the chocolate begins to set, use a sharp paring knife to cut the paint canvas to the finished size of the painting. Let this cool until the chocolate sets. When the chocolate has set completely, simply peel off the acetate. Make the frame: Use an offset spatula to spread a 1/4-inch-thick layer of tempered dark chocolate over a sheet of acetate. Let the chocolate set slightly. Use a paring knife to cut 2 pieces of chocolate that are 16 inches long and 2 inches wide. Cut 2 more pieces that are 12 inches long by 2 inches wide. When the chocolate is set, peel off the acetate. Use a mitre box to trim all 4 ends to 90-degree angles. Just use a gentle sawing motion to cut through each piece.
  2. Make the cocoa pods: Use a ladle to fill the cocoa pod mold with chocolate. When it is full, empty it into the bowl of chocolate. The inside of the mold should be evenly coated with chocolate. Wipe the edge of the mold clean on the side of the bowl and place it upside down on a wire rack placed over a baking sheet. Once the chocolate starts to harden, about 5 minutes, scrape the edge clean with a paring knife. When the chocolate sets, it shrinks or retracts from the sides of the mold. A clean edge will keep it from sticking and cracking as it shrinks. You can place the mold in the refrigerator for several minutes to help the chocolate to harden. Unmold. Repeat with as many cocoa pods as you would like. Make the leaves: I found plastic leaves at the floral supply store. You can use real leaves if you make sure they are edible. Make sure they are clean and free of dust. Use a dry paintbrush to spread white chocolate on the face of the leaf. When the chocolate sets, peel off the plastic leaf. Now the leaves are ready to paint. I usually use green, yellow and red for leaves and always start with the lightest color first. If you want to paint the cocoa pods and the leaves, there are 2 methods. The first is to mix together a few tablespoons of the cocoa butter with a small amount of powdered food color. It will be easier if you use a yogurt machine to store and warm your paints. Use a paintbrush to paint the inside of the mold, applying color where you are inspired to do so. Then, follow the instructions to make a mold. The second method is to use an airbrush. If you use an airbrush, simply place a few drops of color in the receptacle of the airbrush and decorate, as you are inspired. Assembly: Use tempered chocolate to glue the frame pieces to the outside of the painting. Use more tempered chocolate to adhere the leaves to the frame and the cocoa pods to the leaves. Use vegetable oil to glaze the frame to make it shiny.
  3. Sources: Chocolate Melter: Demarle New Jersey, Mold: Tomric Plastics, Buffalo New York Chocolate Cold Spray: PCB in France 011 33 0388 587333 Silicone cocoa pod mold: Tomric Plastics 716-854-6050