Yield: About 2 dozen 1-inch truffles
The original chocolate truffle was a French confection meant to simulate the much-sought-after truffle fungus. It was rolled rough like the real fungus, not round, and covered in cocoa powder to replicate the dirt it grows in. (Whose idea was it to make people think they were eating dirt?) Chocolate truffles are a rich, decadent treat with a special elegance all their own. Don't be intimidated! Truffles are easy to make and always appreciated. The choice of alcohol to use is yours. It can be a liqueur, such as Chambord or Grand Marnier, or another spirit like bourbon or rum. The alcohol can also be left out entirely. Substitutions for it could include brewed coffee, orange juice, or fruit purée.
Piping bag with a large (#6) plain tip (optional)
1 recipe Master Ganache, with the addition of:
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
2 tablespoons liquor, such as Grand Marnier, kirsch, bourbon, or rum
For The Coating
2 cups sifted unsweetened cocoa powder
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1. Follow the method for Master Ganache, adding the butter to the chocolate and the corn syrup to the cream before bringing the cream to a boil.
2. Pour the hot cream and corn syrup over the chopped chocolate and butter. Tap the bowl on the counter to settle the chocolate into the cream, then let it sit for 1 minute. Using a rubber spatula, stir slowly in a circular motion, starting from the center of the bowl and working out to the sides. Be careful not to add too much air to the ganache. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted, about 2 minutes.
3. Add the liquor and stir to combine. Allow the ganache to cool at room temperature until it is firm. This should take at least 4 hours in a 65 degrees F room or 2 hours in the refrigerator.
4. Once the ganache is firm, it can be formed into truffle balls. Using a piping bag, a mini ice cream scoop, or a tablespoon, make 1-inch-diameter blobs. Then roll the blobs into somewhat uniform balls by hand. This is messy, no doubt about it. If they begin to warm up and become soft, refrigerate for 10 to 15 minutes. If you have hot hands or it is a hot day, it may feel as though you can't get a grip on the truffle. Work near a sink with cold running water. When the ganache feels like it's melting, cool your hands under the running water, then dry them and dust with a little of the cocoa powder. Be careful not to get too much cocoa powder on the truffles, or they will taste like cocoa powder.
After the truffles are rolled, they can be finished in a variety of ways. The original cocoa powder coating is the easiest, and quite good.
1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Using a serrated knife, finely chop the chocolate into 1/4 inch pieces and place it in a medium heatproof bowl. Fill a medium saucepan half full of water, bring it to a simmer, then turn off the heat. Create a double boiler by placing the bowl on top of the saucepan. Stir the chocolate occasionally with a rubber spatula until it melts, about 2 minutes.
3. When the chocolate has melted, take it off the heat. Stir it slowly with a rubber spatula until the temperature drops to 90 degrees F, about 5 minutes. Place the remaining cocoa powder in a small bowl.
4. Drop one rolled ganache ball into the melted chocolate. Remove it with a fork, tap off the excess chocolate, and toss it into the cocoa powder. Roll the truffle around in the cocoa until it is well coated. Transfer the truffle to the prepared baking sheet and let it harden. Repeat with each truffle, coating one at a time.
Truffles should be stored in an airtight container at 60 degrees to 65 degrees F. Refrigerating them is OK too. If condensation forms when they come out of the refrigerator, simply toss them in more cocoa powder before serving.
- Other delightful coatings include finely chopped toasted nuts (see page 366 of the book), toasted unsweetened coconut, grated milk chocolate, and powdered sugar. Match the coating of the truffles to the liquor used in the ganache, such as Frangelico truffles with hazelnut crunch coating. This will create an interesting depth of flavor.
- Steep 1 black currant tea bag in the cream and add 2 tablespoons Chambord as the liquor.
- Add 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder to the cream and use 2 tablespoons Kahl˙a as the liquor.
- Add 1 tablespoon finely chopped orange zest and 1/2 teaspoon orange oil to the cream. Let sit for 10 minutes. Strain out the zest. Use 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier as the liquor.
- Add 2 tablespoons strained blackberry purée (or the purée of another fruit) instead of the liquor.
- Peel and grate fresh ginger and squeeze from it 2 tablespoons ginger juice. Add this and 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice instead of the liquor.
- Combine 1/2 cup raisins and 1/2 cup Champagne or brandy in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, then turn off the heat and let the raisins cool and absorb the liquor. Drain off any remaining liquid, chop the raisins, and stir the raisins into the warm ganache.
The Secrets of Baking
Simple Techniques for Sophisticated Desserts
by Sherry Yard
Houghton Mifflin Company
Hardcover; 416 pages
Illustrations: 2-color with 48 color photographs
Recipe reprinted by permission.
The Secrets of Baking
This page created January 2004