Sugar High Friday #25 : Truffles!

Truffle1

Chocolate truffles have seen its inception as a French confection molded to the form of the prized black truffle fungus. These truffles are an incarnation of the popular ganache, which is simply a mixture of chocolate and cream. The amount of cream controls how firm you want your truffle.  It can be infused with liqueur such as Grand Marnier, rum or even hazelnut. My favorite store bought truffle is the Cocoa truffle which has a gooey center encased by a hard chocolate shell and dusted with cocoa powder; it is made by Leonidas, a Belgian truffle maker .

For my entry to Sugar High Friday #25:Truffle hosted by Johanna of The Passionate Cook, I decide to keep it simple. The “Black on Black” truffle recipe is adapted from the book “Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Herme” impeccably translated by Dorie Greenspan, a great cookbook author herself. The star of this recipe is the chocolate itself. It is dusted with cocoa powder to simulate the dirt that the truffle fungus grows in. This is an elegant indulgence for the holidays; rich as it is, you cannot have just one. According to my tasters it is wonderful with a complex red wine!

9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, preferably Valhorna Caraibe, finely chopped (260gms)

1 cup heavy cream (250 gms)

3 ½ tbs unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 4 pieces (1 ¾ ounce; 50 gms)

Dutch-processed cocoa powder, preferably Valrhona, for dusting

            Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl that can hold all of the ingredients. Bring the cream to a full boil in a saucepan or microwave oven, then pour the hot cream into the center of the chocolate. Working with a spatula, gently stir the cream into the chocolate in ever-widening concentric circles until the ganache is homogenous and smooth. Allow the ganache to rest on the counter for about a minute before adding the butter.

            Add the butter 2 pieces at a time, stirring gently to blend. When all the butter is blended into the mixture, pour the ganache into a baking pan or bowl. Put the pan in the refrigerator and, when the ganache is cool, cover it with plastic wrap and chill for at least 3 hours. (The ganache can stay in the refrigerator overnight, if that’s more convenient for you.

            When you are ready to shape the truffles, spoon a generous amount of cocoa powder into a bowl, and set out a baking sheet lined with parchment or waxed paper. Remove the truffle mixture from the refrigerator and scoop up a scant tablespoonful of ganache for each truffle; put the dollops of ganache on the paper-lined pan. Dust the palm of your hands with cocoa powder and, one by one, roll the mounds of ganache between your palms to form rounds. Don’t worry about making them even — they’re supposed to be gnarly and misshapen. As you shape each truffle, drop it into the bowl of cocoa powder, toss it in the cocoa so that it is well coated, and then very gingerly toss it between your palms to shake off the excess cocoa. Alternatively, you can roll the truffles around in a sieve to encourage them to shake off their extra cocoa. As each truffle is finished, return it to the parchment-lined pan.

COOKING NOTES:

            Making the ganache is pretty easy. Just make sure your butter is at room temperature or it will be hard to blend into the ganache. The trickiest part is forming the balls of truffles. It can be quite messy. If they begin to warm, refrigerate them for about 10-15 minutes. Also, it is advantageous to work near a sink with cold running water so you can cool your hands. Make sure to dry them and dust with a little cocoa powder. I find that a two person team is even more efficient, one to form the truffles and one to finish it off with cocoa powder;that’s where  husbands can be quite useful J .