melting/tempering white chocolate?

To make a white-chocolate custard I have been melting chopped white chocolate (from a Ghirardelli bar) in a double boiler, then stirring a portion of a heated cornstarch-thickened milk custard base into it and then scraping this mixture back into the pot of heated custard base (hope that's clear). Do I have to use this many steps to avoid either scorching or seizing the white chocolate? can I just stir the chopped chocolate directly into the heated and thickened milk-cornstarch base without all the back-and-forth? Can I just dump scalded milk over it to melt it prior to thickening the whole with cornstarch? thanks.

  • Posted by: creamtea
  • February 11, 2013


Droplet February 12, 2013
Creamtea, I don't know what the final desired consistency of your white chocolate custard is, pourable or one that holds shape, but the way I think of it is if you add the chocolate to a custard with some thickness to it, it acts as a pillow of sorts. I really think you can save yourself the double boiler step. Keep in mind also that there is white chocolate and then there is white chocolate. The more the additives, the higher the likelihood of things like clumping to happen.
creamtea February 12, 2013
Droplet, the label lists all-natural ingreds, plus soy lecithin (it's Ghirardelli, but premium Scharffen Berger seems to use it also) but it still clumped. Nevertheless I'll try again tomorrow, adding chocolate directly to the custard after the cornstarch to see how that goes. For now I'm making individual servings, & using the d.b. seems to be overkill for a single square of chocolate. The final consistency can be thickened to taste-from pourable to spoonable.
boulangere February 12, 2013
P.S. Ganache of any color freezes beautifully.
creamtea February 13, 2013
thanks, b. I have a carton of half-and-half, not cream. I'm wondering if I can use that or if the high fat content of cream is what does the trick? I am curious to know how you freeze it, ice cube trays? mounded tablespoons on parchment paper? or in a container?
boulangere February 13, 2013
Unfortunately, you do need cream for ganache. And I freeze it in bulk in a container, but an ice cube tray would work wonderfully also. I don't think you'll have a problem adding the chocolate straight into your custard. It will go through a clumpy stage as it melts, but keep stirring (with a spatula, not a whisk, as you don't want to introduce a lot of air), and it should stir out smoothly.
creamtea February 13, 2013
Thank you, Cynthia, that's very helpful. It's a great to know I can freeze ganache, whether in bulk for various uses or even just to prep one step of something ahead of time.
boulangere February 12, 2013
I use white chocolate often in cheesecakes and custards. I've found that the most reliable way to introduce it is to first make a white chocolate ganache with equal parts hot cream and chopped white chocolate. I always have the ganache on on hand, and when I need to add it to something, I scoop out the necessary amount, melt it in the microwave, yes I said that, in 30-second bursts on medium-low heat, which takes about 90 seconds total. Introducing it this way gets around emulsion issues.
creamtea February 12, 2013
thanks to both of you, still working out the kinks in this recipe. Dumping the hot milk over made the white chocolate clump and then the fat separate out (like you said, Droplet--I did this before seeing your post) so I went back to "tempering". I hoped I could simplify and cut down on the number of pans and burners going.
Droplet February 12, 2013
I have done both- chocolate to custard (milk and starch cooked as usual until thickening stage) and then adding the chopped white chocolate as soon as I take it off the heat(gently stir to melt and incorporate it) and I have also done it as hardlikearmour describes. Both methods work fine. In the latter case the butterfat from the cholate usually separates out and comes to the surface but later seems to get absorbed back in fine.
hardlikearmour February 11, 2013
I would dissolve the cornstarch in a small amount of the milk. Heat the rest of the milk, chop the white chocolate. Pull the hot milk off the heat, add the chocolate, let it rest a few minutes to melt the chocolate, then stir/whisk it together, add the cornstarch mix, then reheat to thicken the cornstarch. Thinking about it is making me want to try it with the genius caramelized white chocolate!
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