The weekend is drawing to a close. If you’re anything like me you’re preparing for a busy, work-filled week ahead. But before you despair, I have a treat for you today. A recipe for something sweet.
This year (well, I guess technically last year) we decided we would do home-made Christmas presents. I’d played with a few different ideas of things to do when I asked my younger brother what he thought his girlfriend might like. He told me she loves these truffles (please note, I am in no way affiliated with that company, and lots of other companies sell very tasty truffles too!) So in the spirit of home-made gifts I searched around for a suitable recipe.
The recipe I found and ended up using was actually in the comments section for a different truffle recipe. I read through it and it sounded promising. Off we went to the shops and rounded up all the supplies we needed for a trial run. The recipe states that you need gloves; we weren’t sure whether to bother, but then decided we would. As you can see from the picture below, it was definitely a wise decision!
When we started making the trial batch of truffles I realised we’d bought dark chocolate not milk chocolate as we’d intended. But never mind. We ploughed ahead with the creating, nonetheless. We certainly made good use of the double boiler that we’d bought only a week or so before.
The trial run was interesting. We ended up using less chocolate than we should have done because the cream was ready before it was all chopped up. When we re-melted some of the ganache ready for whipping we had to do it twice because I managed to burn the first lot… And then the truffles themselves ended up being probably a bit on the over-large side. But they tasted good, and that’s the most important part, right?!
Shortly before the end of term we had a pikkujoulu at school, and we were all meant to contribute a traditional Christmas food from our country. I contributed these, not because they are traditional (although it is kind of traditional to eat lots of sweets!) but so that they could all be my guinea pigs. The reception was brilliant. The teachers and my classmates commented how good they were. So I guess the difficulties were worth it.
I don’t want you to misunderstand me here. I’m not saying the truffles were difficult to make – they’re time-consuming, certainly, but they are fairly simple. Especially once you’ve done it a couple of times. We just had a few teething problems. But that’s what trial runs are for. And we definitely learnt from them: buy the right ingredients, prepare the ingredients in advance, don’t burn the ganache… Actually we did have problems with one of the real tries, but that was a) because we increased the quantity, b) I didn’t heat the cream enough, and c) I forgot the whole “not burning the ganache” part…
These truffles are very versatile. Of course to be “proper” Viennese truffles they should be made with milk chocolate, but they work well with dark too. We’re thinking of doing some with a milk/dark centre and a white exterior. We made some chilli flavoured ones (just split one or two chillies and put them into the cream to infuse – try to underestimate the heat-rating a bit as they do get spicier with age) which we rolled in a mixture of sugar and chilli powder. I want to make some that are infused with vanilla. But you could try anything – orange, mint, strawberry, whatever takes your fancy!
I guess you might want the recipe then, yes?
Source – Cooking for Engineers (scroll down, it’s in the comments about half way down)
Servings – 20-40 depending on size of truffles
For the ganache:
1lb/450g good quality chocolate (the chocolate is of course the main flavour here!)
3/4 cup/ ~190ml double cream
2oz / 60g unsalted butter, lightly softened
For the shell:
8oz/ 230g chocolate
For the coating:
Double boiler (or use a heat-proof bowl resting over a saucepan)
Electric whisk/stand mixer
For the ganache:
Begin by grating the chocolate. You could chop it if you prefer but grating does help it melt more evenly. Put the prepared chocolate in a large bowl and set aside.
Pour the cream into the top part of the double boiler. Place the double boiler over low-medium heat and scald the cream. You’ll know it is ready when the cream begins to steam. Don’t let it boil. Alternatively you could scald the cream in a regular saucepan, but be careful not to burn it.
Once the cream is ready let it cool for about five minutes (this is the recommendation for if you are using milk chocolate. To be honest I didn’t bother with it, but if you use white chocolate you may want to let the cream cool as suggested.)
Pour all of the cream over the chocolate and begin to stir with a spoon (not a whisk). Stir until the chocolate is completely melted and add the butter. Continue to stir, gently, until the butter is melted and incorporated. Do not stir too hard or you will “break” the chocolate.
When the ganache is nice and smooth transfer it to a baking dish (to increase the surface area, I didn’t bother and just left it in the bowl) and cover the surface with plastic wrap. Make sure that the plastic wrap directly covers the surface of the ganache in order to protect the fkavour and prevent condensation.
Cover the tray with another layer of plastic wrap and place the ganache in the refrigerator for at least two hours.
Once the ganache has cooled place it into a mixture with a whip attachment.
Take about 125ml / 1/2cup of the ganache and melt it in the microwave. The ganache burns easily, so make sure you melt it on a low temperature a little at a time.
Once the ganache is melted turn the mixer on low and slowly pour the melted ganache over the rest. As it softens and no liquid remains turn the mixer to a higher speed and whip the ganache. It will lighted and begin to look a bit like chocolate buttercream. It will be soft but scoopable.
Turn off the mixer and form your truffles. The original recipe suggests an icecream scoop, but the way I found worked best was just using two teaspoons, and transferring a little of the mixture back and forth between them until something a bit ball-shaped formed.
Place the ganache balls on a tray, cover with plastic wrap and put them in the freezer for at least an hour.
For the shell and coating:
Whilst the centres are in the freezer, grate (or chop) the rest of the chocolate and melt it in the microwave in gradual bursts, stirring in between. When the chocolate is completely melted dip a finger in and put a dab on the skin right above your upper lip. If it feels slightly warmer than body temperature then it is ready!
Grab your assistant and both don your gloves. Pour the sugar into a sheet pan. Decide who will be in charge of sugar, and who will be in charge of chocolate.
Remove the centres from the freezer and quickly roll them between your hands to smooth them slightly (apparently I overlooked this step because we didn’t do it… and I don’t remember reading it).
Chocolate person – Smear a little of the melted chocolate onto one palm. Take a ganache centre and roll it between your hands. Toss it into the sugar.
Sugar person – Quickly roll the truffle in the sugar and place it in a clean, parchment lined sheet pan.
Speed is the key here. You both need to be in synch. If the truffles aren’t rolled in the sugar quickly enough the chocolate shell will already have begun to set and the sugar won’t stick. Likewise if the process takes to long the centres will not be cold enough and the chocolate coating won’t set quickly enough.
The production line is essential. You could probably do it with more people if you have them on hand. It’s great fun and I can well imagine children loving it!
So that’s it. Let me know if you have any questions!
What flavour truffles would you make? Have you made truffles before?