Chocolate truffles are the easiest of the chocolate confections to make and one of the best “medium” for experimenting with flavors. Luckily, Passover is celebrated for 8 days, so you should have another opportunity to prepare these and surprise your family and friends.
You do not need any special equipment, except if you feel like to splurge, you may want to purchase a chocolate tempering machine. They are quite expensive, but if they really work (which may not always be the case), they worth the expense because they taking the uncertainty out of the equation. But more about this another time.
It is a good idea to buy some disposable pastry bags and dipping forks, both of which can be found in a candy-making supply shop or the larger cookware stores, like Williams-Sonoma, Sur la Table, Crate and Barrel, and others.
The followings are the recipes I used in the creations of the truffles shown above; I would be curious to hear from you if you used other types of ingredients, different ratios of cream-to-chocolate, or butter-to-chocolate: how did the truffles taste? how did they look? why did you select those ingredients, etc.?
EARL GREY TRUFFLES
I like these tea-infused truffles because they provide you with an element of health benefit, so you feel less guilty to eat too many of them (because eating too many you will; they are addictive). More over, the bergamot oil (extracted from the rind of bergamot orange) in the Earl Grey tea is a delightful addition to chocolates; their affinity for one-another is just amazing. The entire kitchen was filled with the aroma of bergamot while I made the ganache. David Lebovitz has a great post about bergamot; you should read it.
Chocolate truffles are basically ganache centers hand-dipped, enrobed, or molded with tempered chocolate. The only difference among these ganache-based creations is the percent of the heavy cream; the ones we are making here contain about 30 percent less heavy cream than molded chocolate ganache and 20 percent less than the hand-dipped ganache.
We will cover in more details the potential various formulations, preparation techniques, decorations and more, but right now you need the recipes for the holiday.
INGREDIENTS (For approximately 90 pieces; but of course the final number will depends on how big or small you will make them).
Heavy cream 6oz/175g
Earl Grey tea leaves 0.25oz/10g
Light corn syrup 2oz/55g
Dark chocolate, melted, tempered (90F/32C) 5.5oz/155g
Milk chocolate, melted, tempered (86F/30C) 8oz/240g
Butter (unsalted) 1.5oz/45g
- Place the tea leaves into the heavy cream and bring to boil this mixture. Remove from heat, cover and let steep about 15 minutes. Note: You can use loose tea leaves, or tea bags; the result will be the same.
- Strain the tea out of the cream into a clean bowl, wringing the tea bags to ensure maximum extraction. Pour the remaining cream into a measuring cup and fill it to the 6 ounce line with additional cream (this is for replacing the lost cream through the infusion process)
- Add the light corn syrup to the flavored heavy cream and bring this mixture to boil.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool to 105F/40C.
- Combine the dark and milk chocolates with careful attention to lumps (we do not need those)
- Blend the softened butter into the chocolate mixture, while once again making sure that there are no lumps stay in the mixture.
- Pour the cream mixture over the chocolate mixture and let it stand for 2-3 minutes.
- Using a silicon or plastic spoon, (not wood) stir the mixture in small outward circles, starting from the enter of the bowl and moving to the extremities, to emulsify the mixture. Note: emulsify as per the dictionary is: “to make into or form an emulsion.” Emulsion, as per Wikipedia is: “a mixture of two or more immiscible liquids.” In this case the heavy cream and the chocolate.
- Let the mixture ( or by now the ganache) relax for a few hours (you may need a minimum of 4-5 hours) or overnight until it dries and becomes manageable. Some people like to place the ganache in the refrigerator for faster completion of the product; I suggest you try to resist the urge. It creates more trouble, like condensation, discoloration, uneven texture and more, than it is worth the time saved.
- Once the ganache is prepared it is ready to be used. You can place the ganache into a disposable pastry bag (this is one of the best inventions; no washing needed). You can buy these in any of the kitchen supply stores, like Williams-Sonoma,Sur la Table,Crate & Barrel, etc., and pipe small blobs of ganache onto a baking sheet prepared with parchment paper. You can create your own disposable pastry bag from using the larger size sandwich bags. Place the ganache into the sandwich bag and cut an opening of the desirable size out of the corner of the bag. Alternatively, you can use a melon ball, or the smallest size of an ice-cream scoop to create the blobs.
- Once again let it rest for a few hours or overnight to allow it to dry and it will also help to shape them into a ball; in the interim prepare the tempered chocolate (use your preference; I used dark, 71% chocolate). Being a person that cheers for innovations that make your work easier, I own a tempering machine that is controlled by a computer and all you need to do is push buttons to create a perfectly tempered chocolate. However, if you are not as lazy as I am, or just wish to learn the tempering process, it is quite acceptable to temper the chocolate manually; it is not too hard to do, but you may need to have some experience in determining whether the chocolate is in temper or not. Chocolate, that is “out-of-temper”, loses its shine, melts in your hand immediately after touching it, and most of all will not hold the ganache properly. (See note below for the easiest tempering process)
- In another bowl prepare the topping that you will use following dipping the ganache into the tempered chocolate. I selected powdered sugar for the tea truffles, roasted finely chopped nuts for the ginger root truffles and sifted cocoa powder for the sour cherry truffles. As a general rule, however, you can use almost anything as a topping; in addition, to the ones I already mentioned, you can use cinnamon sugar, chocolate curls, gold dust and so on…
- Take the piped or scooped ganache between your palms and roll it into a smooth ball; then take a bit of the tempered chocolate into your palm and roll the ball around in your palm to cover the entire ball, then immediately drop the balls into the bowl with the prepared topping (in this case into powdered sugar). Note: you can use powder-free vinyl or latex gloves, if desired, during this process.
- You can prepare a few truffle balls; then shake the bowl to assure that all the truffles are covered and place them into a nice decorative bowl or plate for serving.
I prepared two other truffles and it is not surprising that the preparation is the same for all of them.
Here are the INGREDIENTS for the
STORMIES ( I have no idea who named this, and why)
Heavy cream 3oz/80g
Ginger root peeled, sliced (I graded it) 1.5oz/40g
Vanilla bean, scraped 1/2 bean
Light corn syrup 0.75oz/20g
Milk chocolate, melted, tempered (86F/30C) 17oz/500g
Butter (unsalted) 0.75oz/20g
Used dark chocolate for dipping and roasted, finely chopped pecans for the topping.
SOUR CHERRY TRUFFLES
Heavy cream 2oz/50g
Vanilla bean, scraped one whole bean
Light corn syrup 1.5oz/35g
Milk chocolate, melted, tempered (86F/30C) 9oz/260g
Butter (unsalted) 0.5oz/15g
Sour cherry puree, reduced by 1/2 2 oz/50g
sour cherries, 45 pieces (place only half cherry into the ganache center
Note: You can buy sour cherry puree from candy-making suppliers, or you can make your own, by buying sour cherries conserved in sugar syrup and puree them in a food processor. Make sure to squeeze out all the liquids from both the cherry puree, as well as from the whole cherries; otherwise, the fluid will destroy the ganache. If you find natural (fresh sour cherries, cut the puree to a 1/4 strength.)
I trust you will enjoy these “gems” of the chocolate desserts. Please do not let anyone deter you from making them; you will not regret it. If by any chance they may not come out the way you envisioned, then just think of it as part of the practicing for the next time; the taste still will be amazing.