Gianduja is a water-free, smooth, cuttable mass usually made of almonds or hazelnuts, sugar, and chocolate. It is mostly used for praline fillings and to flavor crèmes. Gianduja is normally made of equal parts sugar, nuts, and chocolate.
The fat content of gianduja should be at least 30% to ensure quality and smoothness in the product and can be easily more than 30%, resulting in a smoother, better-quality gianduja. The fat content of gianduja is determined by the fat content of the nuts used to make it. If the fat content of the nuts is about 50%, then the basic gianduja mass (the roasted nuts and sugar) will have a fat content of 25%. This amount of fat in the gianduja mass is the minimum needed to achieve the proper oily consistency from the grinding process and to achieve 30% fat content in the finished gianduja, after grinding and adding the chocolate. The quality of the gianduja’s consistency depends on the amount of oil that is released during grinding. The oil ensures that all the ingredients—including the sugar, cocoa butter, and dry ingredients in the chocolate—will bind together.
The nuts for gianduja need to be roasted before they are ground. Roasting times can vary depending on the desired flavor. Hazelnuts have to be roasted longer than other varieties, otherwise the skin will not release from the nut. Walnuts, on the other hand, should be roasted for only a short time or not at all. Cool the nuts before grinding in a food processor with the sugar.
When the roasted nuts are ground with sugar, initially a thin powder will be achieved. Then, as the nuts release their oil, the mass will become pasty. Keep grinding until the mixture attains a runny consistency. It is best to use confectioners’ (or icing) sugar, as the grinding process will go faster than it would with granulated sugar.
The chocolate for gianduja always has to be melted, but it does not have to be tempered. The ideal mixing temperature for the chocolate is about 90° to 95°F /32.2° to 35.0°C. If the chocolate is too cold or too thick when it is mixed with the nut paste, the mass may not bind together very well and will fall apart easily.
Mix the runny nut paste with the melted chocolate, then pour the mixture onto marble and table it until the mass begins to set. This will help the gianduja to achieve a nice even crystallization of the fats to ensure a smooth texture.
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