IF you like raisins and dark chocolate and you love them together, then you’ll definitely love these Homemade Chocolate Raisins, whose recipe was featured in California Raisins demo held at the Magellan Function Room on the 41st floor of Discovery Suites last Saturday (April 6, 2013).
It’s actually the recipe of Chef David Pardo de Ayala, corporate executive chef turned resident manager of Discovery Suites. He himself conducted the California Raisins demo in tandem with his five-year-old daughter, little chef Sofia. Garbed in a baby pink chef’s jacket, bubbly baby chef Sofia was an endearing sight to behold during the demo, as she interacted smartly with her dad, tapping his arms lightly and tenderly whenever she had something to say to the audience. You could really feel the love that exists between father and daughter.
The event, a summer kiddie cooking workshop featuring parent-and-child pairs as participants, was put together by the Raisin Administrative Committee (RAC), whose Singapore-based heads, Richard Lieu and Siew Keat Chuah, were personally in attendance at Discovery Suites last Saturday.
Having grown up in a country where raisins are a common ingredient, Colombian chef David Pardo de Ayala enjoyed having raisins in his food during his growing-up years and ‘discovered’ the versatility of raisins, not just in desserts but also in the hot and cold kitchens, during his culinary studies and even more so when he started working in New York. He likes and recommends raisins, especially for kids such as his own daughter Sofia, because raisins are a very healthy snack. “They have no additives or preservatives. They are also low in sodium, and they’re naturally fat- and cholesterol-free. They contribute to your daily intake of fiber and potassium, and are known to contain compounds that may inhibit growth of the bacteria associated with tooth and gum disease. Its effortless storage, requiring no refrigeration, and the many practical packaging presentations available, make raisins a more than ideal treat for kids and adults alike,” explains Chef David.
For the demo last Saturday, Chef David and Baby Chef Sofia prepared five raisin recipes : Cinnamon-Raisin French Toast with Rum-Raisin Maple Syrup, Cinnamon-Raisin Spread with Cashews on Toasts, Homemade Chocolate Raisins, Chicken Sandwich with Raisins and Curry Mayonnaise, and Lapu-Lapu Fillet with Tomatoes, California Raisins and Herbs. Sofia’s favorite was the Homemade Chocolate Raisins, which are so easy to make and yet are so delicious that she popped a few into her mouth as soon as the raisins and the melted chocolate were mixed together. Normally, you have to chill them first so the chocolate coating will set around each individual raisin.
They’re like the imported chocolate-coated raisins that you buy from the supermarket, but they’re better because you made them. Since Chef David had the parent-and-child demo participants’ Homemade Chocolate Raisins refrigerated in the hotel chiller and then had them packed for the participants to take home, we failed to take pictures of them. So I made my own Homemade Chocolate Raisins at home last Tuesday (Araw ng Kagitingan, April 9, 2013), a holiday, and that’s what you see in the picture. Looks good? They taste even better.
Here’s the recipe:
3 oz. (or 85 grams) dark chocolate chips or chopped chocolate couverture
1/2 tbsp. canola oil
1 cup California raisins
1. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, parchment paper or nonstick baking mat.
2. Melt the dark chocolate. Either melt it in a glass bowl in a microwave oven with the canola oil, or place them in a glass or stainless bowl over a saucepan of boiling water, bain marie style, stirring with a rubber spatula until chocolate if completely melted and smooth.
3. Add raisins and stir until well combined. The raisins will have a thin chocolate coating.
4. Spread the chocolate covered raisins on the prepared baking sheet and try to separate them with a fork to avoid large clumps or clusters.
5. Refrigerate for 15 to 30 minutes to let the chocolate coating set around the raisins. Once set, break up any remaining clumps or clusters into individual raisins. Enjoy or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Makes about 1 cup of chocolate-coated raisins.