Chef Neha Shah talks about her love for white chocolate.
Anyone who loves baking and relishing cakes and desserts, swears by white chocolate. All those who are unaware that white chocolate is not real chocolate, listen up! It is made from cocoa butter (not powder), sugar and milk solids and has a pale yellow or ivory appearance.
For chef Neha Shah, runner-up on MasterChef India season 1, who says baking is in her blood, white chocolate is a fascinating ingredient to work with. It is known to hold a dish/dessert perfectly together.
A cakes and desserts fan, Shah says, “White chocolate is my favourite ingredient while baking and making desserts. The reason I love working with it is because of its versatility and the fact that it gives a good body to a dessert. You can use it in baking or in making ice-creams. It lends a very good texture to your dish. Since it is very creamy and milky, it has a neutral flavour and most flavours can be paired quite seamlessly with it.”
When asked if there is an alternative to white chocolate, Shah says that it’s slightly tricky. Although white chocolate is not essential for baking, it helps you achieve a good flavour. “Both the flavour and texture of white chocolate cannot be replaced with something else. Since it is easily available in the market, you don’t even need to hunt for a substitute,” she says.
For Shah, white chocolate is like walking down memory lane. Her first association and memory of it is eating a Milkybar. “I enjoyed eating Milkybar as a kid and I remember my mum making chocolates regularly but she would seldom make white chocolates. Once she had made swirls using white and brown chocolates which I was completely fascinated by. I’ve always loved white chocolate,” she reminisces.
Talking about her favourite dish made using white chocolate, Shah quickly says gelato. “I make gelato using white chocolate, macha, strawberry, and macadamia nuts. Macha (Japanese tea) lends a good flavour to it while strawberry gives some sourness and fruity twist and macadamia nuts give the nuttiness to the dessert,” she explains.
How long can white chocolate be stored? Answers Shah, “Consume at the earliest!” she exclaims, adding, “The shelf-life of white chocolate varies from brand to brand and packaging to packaging. But I guess it is generally between six to eight months. However, I would suggest you buy smaller packs and try using up instead of storing them as the taste and texture will get affected. If you have some leftover, make fudge or an ice cream with it.”