Serve up romance with home-made chocolate truffles and a beautifully presented glass of port (red velvet underwear optional). Instead of purchasing store bought chocolates that are sometimes not even made out of chocolate, impress your significant other by making them yourself. Some of the so-called ‘truffles’ I’ve seen at the warehouse clubs, or even high-end department stores, make me cringe. The list of ingredients can look like a lesson in chemistry. If the first ingredient isn’t chocolate or is something unpronounceable, put it back. These are not truffles. Alternatively, boutique chocolatiers who do it right may charge up to $40 or more for 16 pieces. While they are beautiful, they can be very expensive.
Save money, ensure that ingredients are natural and fresh, and make them personal. Take it a step further. Make these truffles together. To get a head start, you can make the chocolate ganache ahead of time. When the chocolate has set, the two of you can get to work scooping and rolling the ganache into balls then rolling them in a variety of coatings. The evening will be even more fun when you have to lick off the chocolate from your fingers when you are finished.
Traditional truffles have a ganache center enrobed in tempered chocolate. This enrobing technique hermetically seals the ganache inside, thus extending the truffle’s shelf life. Tempering is an art that is hard to master. We skip that step here as this is a small enough batch for you to consume in a few days. Keep refrigerated.
ThePatricianPalette.com for more technique photos.
Makes approximately 42
Finely chopped nuts such as pistachios or walnuts
• Place the chocolate in a round bottomed bowl. Place the bowl over a pot of gently boiling water. Turn off the heat and let the chocolate melt slowly. The bowl should never be too hot to touch. Chocolate is sensitive. Don’t scorch it.
• In a small sauce pot, combine the cream and jam. Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve the jam. Pour the mixture through a fine sieve over the melting chocolate. Discard the seeds. Fold the hot cream into the chocolate. The chocolate may look like it is splitting, but just keep folding and it will come together.
• Scrape down the sides of the bowl and place cling wrap directly over the surface of the chocolate. Place in the fridge until the chocolate is firm, about an hour.
• Use a one-inch melon baller to scoop out balls of chocolate. Roll the chocolate between the palms of your hands to form a smooth sphere. The heat of your hands will warm up the chocolate making it easier for your coatings to stick. While your palms might be chocolaty, your fingertips should be clean. So drop the balls into a bowl of your coatings and use your fingertips to press the coatings into the chocolate. If you choose to use cocoa powder as a finish, you don’t have to roll the chocolate into balls. It is quite authentic to have randomly shaped chocolate reminiscent of the treat’s namesake, the mushroom truffle.