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making chocolates with fruits and nuts

Masterclass: Making Chocolates with Fruits and Nuts

The Chocolatier Fruit and Nut Masterclass is an online, three week* program of intensive, interactive training. It includes live demonstrations of best practices/techniques in successfully using fruit and nut ingredients in your chocolate bonbons and bars, as well as live group discussions and guided recipe work in your own kitchen. By the end of the program, you'll learn to perfect your use of fruit purees, pate de fruit, nut pastes, and pralines to achieve the most flavorful combinations and textures. The recipes and techniques in this program are especially helpful for those chocolatiers creating vegan chocolates and plant-based, non dairy chocolate recipes.

Next Program: April 12 - May 4, 2023

This program is not just about recipes. It's about understanding the science of hydrocolloids, fat eutectics, acid reactions, nut carmelization, and fruit preservation, while collaborating LIVE with your instructor, Rachel McKinley and your fellow students to develop the perfect fruit and nut fillings for your bonbons.

To that end, this Chocolate Masterclass program includes:

3 live interactive instructional sessions, scheduled on consecutive Saturdays over 3 weeks.

Live session dates: Saturdays - April 15, 22, 29.

The April 15 session will be 2 hours long, and the April 22 and 29 sessions will be three hours long. All sessions will begin at 12noon PST. Please adjust for your local time zone in your calendar

Approximately 6 hours of guided kitchen homework activities and assignments.

Students should be ready to commit approximately 14 hours of work to complete the program.

Registration fee: $975.00 US

The minimum number of students for the program to run is 6 to a maximum of 12 - we are restricting the number of students in order to make sure each student leaves the program with the information and advice they need to succeed in making exceptional fruit and/or nut bonbons in the future.

When you're ready to pay your registration fee of $975.00 please click here: REGISTER NOW

Making Pate de Fruit

What Will I Learn?

Three week online program

Those of you who know us know that since 2003, Ecole Chocolat has been committed to providing online professional chocolate learning experiences that are not just a chef doing a demonstration, but focused on engaging, interactive and ongoing dialogue between the instructor and student.

Please see Your Learning Experience below for a full description of what you will learn.

By the end of the program, you will have all your questions answered about successfully incorporating fruit and nut ingredients in your bonbon fillings.

Pre-requisites: some experience in general bonbon fillings such as ganache, caramel, and nut pastes.

Again, please note that this program is focused on recipe development - not chocolate work. So there will be no instruction on tempering, enrobing or molding bonbons. We expect you, as a chocolatier, to already be proficient in those skills.

Rachel McKinley, Purdys Master Chocolatier
Chocolate Bark

Your Learning Experience

Rachel McKinley was born and raised in small town Manitoba. After careers as a competitive ice dancer, social support worker, and paramedic, she obtained degrees in microbiology and English literature at the University of Manitoba. It was during the second degree that she fell in love with the alchemy of chocolate, and abandoned her path towards medical school for a career in the kitchen. After starting with studies online, she went on to train in chocolate in Montreal, Minneapolis, New York, Paris, Florence and Pisa, and opened her business in Vancouver, CocoaNymph Chocolates & Confections, which she owned and operated for 10 years. More interested in inventing new chocolates than running a business, she pursued a career in product development. She is now an instructor at Ecole Chocolat, and Master Chocolatier at Purdys Chocolatier. She also went on to study drawing and painting at Emily Carr and is an obsessive painter, maker of fine food and embroidered goods, and is working on her first novel.

*This program is the same format as our other Recipe Devlopment programs but because of Rachel's full time work schedule at Purdy's, she can only lead the live sessions on Saturdays. That is why the live sessions are spaced one week apart instead of the normal two per week. In order to get you the best expert instructors as possible, we accommodate their scheduling needs.

In the program, we will use a number of learning activities to help you identify your challenges including: live demonstrations of best practices and techniques, live group discussions and guided recipe development practice in your own kitchen. And the live online sessions will end with some "homework" for you to do in the next week between live online sessions.

Yes, all live sessions will be recorded so if you have to miss one, you can catch up afterwards. Also you can record the sessions yourself to have a copy on your computer.

Live Session 1 - Hydrocolloid factors in fruit
Hydrocolloids and gelling agents for perfect pate de fruit, fruit marshmallow, agar agar applications, and gelatin gummies.
2 hr Kitchen Homework Assignment

Live Session 2 - Nut and chocolate love and interactions
Fat eutectics for fabulous texture and understanding the Maillard reaction for carmelizing nuts for flavor.
2 hr Kitchen Homework Assignment

Live Session 3 - Using fruit in ganache and caramel
Using fruits as the flavor focus in classic confection recipes, with or without dairy.
Combining nuts and fruits to elevate flavor and texture
Using fruit couvertures, perfecting layered bonbons of nut and fruit.2 hr Kitchen Homework Assignment


This program is delivered in English.

Again, please note that this program is focused on recipe development - not chocolate work. So there will be no instruction on tempering, enrobing or molding bonbons. We expect you, as a chocolatier, to already be proficient in those skills.

This Masterclass is a technical, science based dive into fruit purees, pate de fruit, nut pastes, and pralines. We will be discussing the natural properties of fruits and nuts as well as their interactions as they relate to each other in the traditional confectionery/bonbon space. Keeping that in mind, the recipes provided in the masterclass (and on which your assignments will be based):

  • may call for sugar - the participant can decide to use refined or unrefined cane sugar, beet sugar, coconut blossom sugar or date sugar**.
  • will require no added sugar other than what occurs naturally in the fruit or nut.
  • may be based on fruits and nuts in combination with chocolate. There is no specific requirement for the chocolate itself - participants can use any chocolate they normally use in their work.

**Due to the difference in technological properties of sweeteners, we will not be exploring the substitution of sugar for sugar alcohols (such as erythritol or Xylitol), natural sweeteners (such as stevia or monk fruit) or or artificial sweeteners (such as sucralose) as these ingredients do not have the same capabilities for caramelization and sweetening needed in fruit purees, pate de fruit, nut pastes, and pralines. The recipes provided will be appropriate for vegan, non-dairy and plant-based dietary choices but may not suitable for purely keto dietary choices.

Some experience in general bonbon fillings such as ganache, caramel, and nut pastes.

Supplies you will need include: fruit and fruit purees, nuts, chocolate.

Master Chocolatier Program certificate:

Students completing the Masterclass with a 70% or more on assignments will receive a digital Ecole Chocolat Master Chocolatier Certificate of Achievement.

Making successful nut based chocolates

What our graduates have to say

"The curriculum was comprehensive and the lectures clear and informative. I had quite a few problems and questions around process resolved- and have a clearer idea moving forward - in my own recipe development. Wonderful lectures and an excellent teacher in Rachel, not only informative, but imaginative and entertaining."
Jacqui, 2022 Program

"While I do have a fair amount of experience in fruit and nut usage in chocolate, I knew there would be areas I had not covered well, and some I had not even considered exploring. I think this program fulfills a great need for knowledge in areas not necessarily well studied by even very experienced chocolatiers. Having charts of fat, fiber, pH, etc. cuts away some of the research and experimentation time needed to balance factors that provide alternative paths to balancing flavor, shelf life and more. At the very least it provides for an interestingly rounded selection of flavors and textures that help us to respond to the current broad levels of inquiry (from clients) about healthful and ever more exotic ingredient profiles. Thank you!"
Karen, 2022 Program

"I learned things about nut interactions, fruit and chocolate that I never imagined. A door to my ignorance was blown wide open and I was introduced to food science, methodology and re-thinking and and re-imagining fruits, nuts, chocolate, cacao butter and even dairy vs non dairy. i even discovered oat milk. I am not vegan, but I learned different approaches to making confections that would be more inclusive of people with certain dietary restrictions. This course was amazing."
Ginette 2021 Program

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Cancellation policy

You can cancel from the Masterclass: Making Chocolates with Fruits and Nuts up to five days before the registration deadline. A refund of your registration fee, minus a 10% administration fee, may take approximately 10 working days to process. Because our programs are usually full, and in order to make sure all students are committed, on the start date of your program your registration fee becomes non-refundable and non-transferable to another session (except in extraordinary circumstances).

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Photography by Jessica Washburn, Bliss Chocolatier and Ecole Chocolat

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