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Author Notes: These sensational chocolate-coated treats are almost too easy to make— no tempering of chocolate or supreming of tangerines required! The only special equipment is a plastic fork!
A few simple details will get the best results. Segments need to be completely dry to prevent the chocolate from turning thick, sludgy and dull— so you must peel, remove pith, and pull the segments apart carefully without piercing or breaking the membrane. Satsuma tangerines, or another variety with similarly loose wrinkly skins are the easiest to handle. Chilled fruit helps to prevent puddles forming under the fruit and gets you the best looking (streak free) surface on the chocolate as well. Dipping with a plastic rather than metal fork works best because chocolate sets (and sticks) faster to metal than plastic—especially when dipping cold fruit—so you don’t have to worry about how fast you can work! You can use chocolate bars, wafers, callets, or pistoles, etc—but don’t even think of using chocolate chips because they do not melt fluidly enough for dipping.
NOTE: If you prefer to dip tangerines into tempered (link to tempering) chocolate instead, segments must be at room temperature (never cold) when you dip them. The plastic fork is still a good idea. When you've finished dipping, set the tray of dipped segments in the fridge for only 5 minutes then remove them, or put them in front of a portable fan at room temperature until the chocolate is completely set instead. Store and serve at room temperature. —Alice Medrich
Makes: 40-50 pieces
seedless, easy-to-peel tangerines (such as Satsuma or other with loose wrinkly skins)
ounces (225 grams) dark, milk, or white chocolate from bars, wafers, callets, or pistoles, but no chocolate chips
plastic fork for dipping
- Carefully—without piercing the membranes of the fruit—peel the tangerines and pick off the soft strings of pith that cling to the membrane. Pull the sections apart and remove any additional strings of pith. You want dry sections, free of pith, but with membranes intact. Set the sections on a dish or tray and refrigerate them for at least 45 minutes—or until needed. If the fruit was refrigerated to begin with, just put the tray of segments back in the fridge (to keep them cold) for the short time it takes to melt the chocolate.
- Put the chocolate in a dry stainless steel bowl that is relatively narrow so that the melted chocolate will have some depth (my bowl is 6 inches in diameter at the top). Set the bowl directly in (not over) a wide skillet of barely simmering water. Stir with a dry spatula from time to time until the chocolate is melted and smooth quite warm to the touch but not hot— about 120F is good. Remove the chocolate from the water bath and— if the chocolate is warmer than 120—let it cool a bit)
- While the chocolate is melting, line a tray with parchment and find room for it in the fridge.
- Set the bowl of melted chocolate between the lined tray and the dish of tangerine segments, with the tray to the left of the chocolate (if you are right handed).
- Drop a tangerine segment into the chocolate and flip it over with the plastic fork, making sure that the segment is totally coated. Slip the fork under the segment (without stabbing, piercing, or impaling it) and lift it out of the chocolate. (You may find it helpful to tilt the bowl of chocolate to help you get the fork under the segments.) Tap the fork on the rim of the bowl several times letting excess chocolate flow back into the bowl, and then wipe the bottom of the fork against the rim to remove more excess chocolate, all of which will otherwise puddle under the segment (puddles are tasty but not particularly pretty!)
- Set the end of the fork on the parchment-lined tray and use the tip of your index finger to push the segment from the fork onto the parchment. Continue to dip and deposit segments onto the tray, working quickly.
- You can decorate each segment immediately by touching the bottom of the fork tines to the surface of the chocolate coating. Or, dip several segments first and then drizzle fine strings of chocolate filigree over them as follows: hold the bowl of chocolate over the dipped segments, dip the fork deep into the chocolate and let chocolate drip off of the tines over the segments.
- Stir the chocolate from time to time as you work. Dipped segments look best if the chocolate is somewhere between 105 and 120F. Since cold fruit cools the chocolate, you may want to reheat it by setting the bowl back into the hot water bath for a few seconds. Stir well after reheating. Leftover chocolate can be used again. Scrape it onto a piece of parchment or foil and let it cool. Wrap it for use another time.
- Refrigerate the dipped segments as soon as possible. Store in the fridge. Serve right from the fridge or take them out about 10 minutes early so that the chocolate coating will still be crispy but not quite so cold. These are best on the day you dip them but still good for 2 or 3 more days.