Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Chocolate truffles: Hamper project no. 6

This marks the end of my prolonged sweet-making binge. It's been fun, but January puts a stop to the present giving and long run of social gatherings at which I can share them, so the only excuse would be gratuitous experimentation and greediness. That won't wash with my 7-month-old.

I had to have two goes at these. Chocolate is a tricky customer, and likes being treated gently. I started off by winging it with my own boozy recipe, having picked up tips from the Hope & Greenwood sweet cookbook, but my mixture curdled, and nothing was going to rescue it. I decided to give them another go after watching Ramsay's wince-inducing 'family' Christmas special, featuring a simple recipe for mint choc truffles. It worked, and they went down a storm, though the mint was negligible in the finished truffle. Here's the recipe, adapted from his screen version (I added sea salt to mine, to perk up the chocolate flavour, and used just double cream).
  • 500ml double cream
  • Bunch of mint
  • 500g dark chocolate (about 70% cocoa solids)
  • 130g butter, diced and at room temp.
  • 130g clear honey
  • 1/2 tsp finely ground Maldon sea salt
  • To coat: cocoa powder, crushed roasted hazelnuts
Pour the cream into a medium saucepan. Bash the mint sprigs with a wooden spoon to release their fragrance and add to the pan. Heat very gently for 5–6 minutes to infuse the cream with the mint. Do not let the cream boil. Meanwhile, break up the chocolate and place in a heatproof bowl with the diced butter and honey.

Strain the hot cream through a sieve onto the chocolate, butter and honey, stirring constantly as you do so; discard the mint sprigs. Add the sea salt. Continue to stir until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth.

Pour the mixture into a wide, shallow dish, cover and chill in the fridge for an hour or until firm.
Scatter your chosen coating(s) on separate plates. Take the truffle mix from the fridge and, using a teaspoon, scoop out a portion and shape into a sphere by quickly rolling it in your hands. (Do this deftly to avoid the truffle melting with the warmth of your hands.) Toss the truffle in your preferred coating and arrange on a plate. Repeat with the rest.

Place the truffles in a shallow plastic container, seal and refrigerate until firm and ready to serve. Eat within 3–4 days.

4 comments:

  1. I watched that episode as well and winced like you but did think to myself - those truffles look good - glad that they worked out for you

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  2. Just been having a look at all your hamper project posts - great stuff. Am particularly impressed with your truffles. I tried making some a few years ago and just got into a really mess with most of the chocolate ending up on my hands. Orange walnuts sound worth doing too. I keep meaning to make extra jars of pickles, chutneys etc, but we eat such a lot, I never seem to have enough to give away.

    Happy New Year

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  3. Gourmet Chick: they are definitely foolproof. Pouring warm rather than hot cream onto the chocolate seems to ensure the temperature never gets high enough to curdle the mixture.

    Choclette: Thanks. I had to keep running my hands under the cold tap to prevent the chocolate melting as I rolled the mixture into balls. The orange nuts take less than 10 minutes to make: well worth the minimal effort. My family aren't fans of pickles, chutneys or relishes, so they largely go untouched. Which do you make?

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  4. Oh, all sorts of things - mostly spiced apple chutney as I get lots of apples from my mother's garden. Also plum chutney, quince jelly, hedgerow jelly, tomato ketchup, chilli sauce, picalilli, pickled garlic - that's what I made last year anyway. Use chutney in the sandwiches I take to work every day.

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