You can use any type of knife to achieve this technique, depending on your personal preference, as long as it is at least 3 in/80 mm long.
The difference between the straight knife-dipped technique and the curled knife-dipped technique on page 297 is in how the chocolate is allowed to set. To create the straight petals for this flower, the petals are left flat on the table to set.
- Dampen the marble with a little bit of water and place an acetate sheet on the marble. Set a large bowl of tempered chocolate next to the acetate sheet.
- Dip a knife into the chocolate, about 3 to 4 in/80 to 100 mm deep. How deep you submerge the blade will determine the length of the finished petals. Using a fluid motion, place the chocolate-covered knife blade flat down on the acetate sheet, then pull up, toward yourself, and away to create a petal. It is important to raise the knife up as you pull it toward yourself, because if you place the knife down and pull without raising it up, there will not be enough chocolate on the transfer sheet to create strong petals, and it will be much more difficult to assemble the flower.
- Continue using the same technique to create enough petals for the flower, varying the size of the petals as desired by dipping the knife into the chocolate deeper for longer petals and less deep for shorter ones. You will need anywhere from 30 to 45 petals to create a medium-size flower. Let the finished petals set on the acetate sheet for about 30 minutes at room temperature or 5 minutes in the refrigerator. Once set, curl the acetate away from the chocolate and gently remove the petals from the sheet.
- Using an offset spatula, spread tempered chocolate onto a marble to approximately ⅛in/3 mm thick. Use a metal cutter to cut out a circle 2 in/50 mm in diameter. Let the circle sit for about 5 minutes.
- Using the chocolate circle as a base, pipe a ring of tempered chocolate around the inside perimeter of the circle, and attach the larger petals to the circle one by one, laying each petal flat onto the base with at least ½ in/13 mm of the petal overlapping the base. Or, alternatively, pipe chocolate directly onto the petals or dip each petal in the melted chocolate, then attach to the circle in a ring.
- Continue to pipe on melted chocolate and place the petals in rings to build the flower, placing each new ring inside and on top of the previous ring until you reach the center of the circle. If desired, use slightly smaller petals as you get closer to the center of the flower. Attach the petals in a symmetrical pattern to create a fully bloomed flower.
- Place the completed flower in the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Remove the flower from the freezer and, if using dark or milk chocolate, immediately use an airbrush to spray it with white cocoa butter. Priming the chocolate by spraying it with white cocoa butter before spraying on a color will help to intensify whatever color is used next.
- Use an airbrush to spray the desired color cocoa butter over the white primer. If the flower is sprayed immediately after removal from the freezer, it will create a velvet sheen because the cocoa butter will set immediately upon contact with the flower. If the color is not applied fast enough, the tips of the petals can defrost and the chocolate will become shiny instead of maintaining a velvet texture. You may want to keep an cold spray on hand to keep the chocolate cold throughout the spraying process.
FULL-BLOOM KNIFE-DIPPED FLOWERS: Create curled knife-dipped petals as described on page 297. For the base, create a chocolate sphere using a sphere mold. Using tempered chocolate, attach chocolate circles to the top and bottom of the sphere. Attach the first row of petals to the top circle, facing downward so that they cover the sphere. Then add rows of petals to the top of the base, facing upward, to complete the flower as described below.
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