It’s sort of a silly name, isn’t it? But intriguing none the less. Also, delicious.
“It’s a platter of things dipped in chocolate.” I announced as I set the plate down in front of my guests after a full meal. It seemed the appropriate way to end a dinner of roasted apple and blue cheese stuffed pork, mashed carrot and potato gratin, and a salad of celery root and apple.
After cooking that sort of a meal a simple dessert is in order. But I have to tell you that this dessert (and I’ve now made it three times since) despite its ease, has resulted in some of the robust sighs of delight I’ve yet heard.
You first start by wandering the produce aisle and the bulk section of your favorite grocery store and you think to yourself, what would be appropriate to dip into a warm bowl of melted bittersweet chocolate? It’s a very fun question to consider.
Dried apricots are a must and then one bin down from those are the dried peaches which are also lovely – tart and fragrant. This time of year there are not a lot of fresh things to dip so I stick with candied ginger, dates, homemade candied citrus rind and something crunchy – salted pretzels are nice as are those thinly sliced crackers that have a whisper of rosemary. If you’re feeling up to the task a chocolate dipped homemade cookie is rather special. I’m partial to Speculaas.
A plate of chocolate things is really most appropriate after you’ve been spending most the day working on the meal and can’t bear to put more thought into dessert. Or if you’ve been asked to bring something to a party but your schedule doesn’t allow for much fanfare. The thing is, this platter, with its wafting scent of chocolate and candy shop-esque array of choices, meets your guests the furthest thing from their minds will be the fact that it took you approximately ten minutes to put together. Chocolate is quite good at hiding those sort of secrets.
A Plate of Chocolate Dipped Things
It’s difficult to give you a recipe here as so much depends on how much and what you plan to dip. I will do my best but please simply use this as a guide.
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (good quality chips are fine)
a variety of things for dipping: dried fruit such as apricots; peaches, dates, prunes, bananas, ginger, and candied citrus. Also, pretzels, crackers, and cookies.
sliced pears and cut up oranges (nice when one needs a bit of a break from all the chocolate)
Cover a baking sheet in parchment then set aside.
Melt your chocolate.
The thing to remember when you are melting chocolate is that you must do so gently. There are two easy ways to do this. The first is to set up a bain marie which is merely a French way of saying “a simmering pot of water with another pot or bowl resting on top”. The bowl on top holds the chocolate and should never touch the water below. Stir and melt until just a few pieces of unmelted chocolate remain in the bowl. Remove from the heat and let the residual heat continue to melt what remains.
The second method is for the microwave. You’ll need a microwave safe bowl and a spoon or rubber spatula. Begin by melting the chocolate in 15 to 20 second intervals. Stir well after each heating. You may not see much change in the first few rounds but the slow and steady heating will ensure that the chocolate won’t burn. There’s no going back from burnt chocolate.
Continue to melt in this way until a few pieces of unmelted chocolate remain in the bowl. Let the residual heat melt the unmelted chocolate.
Dip your items into the chocolate then set them on the baking sheet.
When everything has been dipped set the tray in the refrigerator to set up the chocolate. This should take about 10 minutes.
After that you are ready to set all your chocolate dipped things on the platter. Tuck in a few pear slices and halved clementines on the plate just before serving.