We recently adjusted our slice-able chocolate recipe and eliminated the additional calcium. We've also changed the mixing process. We now heat the water, add the pectin and hydrate it and then add the chocolate to the hot pectin water. The hot solution melts the chocolate and allows it to become fully incorporated. Once the chocolate is melted into the pectin water we pour the mixture into a plastic wrap lined container and chill it for several hours, preferably overnight. The simplification and adjustment of the recipe came about because we were looking to streamline the process and eliminate any superfluous ingredients or steps.
Initially the calcium was added to ensure the pectin would set. After making the chocolate base several times we decided to ask the question, is the calcium actually necessary? It turns out that the answer is no. The second change came in the hydration process. What if we could just melt the chocolate in a hot pectin bath? Originally we felt a need to heat everything together and then add the pectin. Taking a moment to step back and examine the process allowed us to see the technique from a different angle. Thankfully we were open to the change.
While slicing this intense chocolate is useful, I believed we could serve it in a more unusual form, a chocolate rubble, so to speak. The pectin in the chocolate should, in theory, prevent syneresis if the base is frozen. This idea was first discussed during one of our classes when we were talking about ice cream stabilizers. All we needed to do to test the hypothesis was to freeze the chocolate and thaw it. In order to freeze the chocolate we first cut it into slices and then dropped it into liquid nitrogen. When the slices were rock solid we pulled them out of the nitrogen and placed them in a bowl. A light tap with a spoon caused the chocolate to break into numerous irregularly shaped pieces. With the chocolate in a new shape we needed to see how it thawed. We placed a few pieces on a plate and and left them at room temperature to thaw. We put the rest of the now broken chocolate into the freezer for future use. The chocolate pieces on the plate slowly warmed and returned to their original texture, which was dense and smooth. Upon tasting the results they melted nicely on the palate into an intense interpretation of a rich chocolate pudding.