In the bowls, clockwise: dark chocolate, candied ginger, pecan praline.
Molded chocolate truffles, from front to back: dark chocolate pumpkin, Dulce de Lece, coffee buttercream
A lot, obviously! When ThePassionate Cook gave us "Truffles" as the theme for Sugar High Friday 25, I did a little happy dance. Finally a reason to cover myself and my kitchen in chocolate. Finally a reason to go back to one of my true pastry loves: making chocolate. I applaud Danielle for making a single truffle from scratch, but I wanted to play around with my molds that had been in the attic since we moved in last year.
Making truffles is a tradition for me around the holidays. While my grandmother was busy making her marzipan stuffed fruits, I was in the kitchen next to her making and rolling balls of ganache in cocoa powder. I never thought it was a big deal as I was used to making them every Christmas, and then as I grew older, I started experimenting.
At the restaurant, I was in full truffle making mode early December with Christmas parties, wedding and party favors. I do miss certain aspect of the industry, like plating desserts, the availability to order great quality chocolates, butter, produce, molds and pans. I mean, who would not love to say: "and please add a 5o ppound box of that Valrhona couverture you (vendor) recommended last week"?! If I were to do the same desserts here I would be broke buying equipement and supplies, that's why I stick to more homy concotions.
My husband did not understand my transformation into Mr. Hyde when "truffle time" came around at the restaurant, until he came by one afternoon, and saw that I was like a kid again, hands deep in chocolate and a big smile on my face. Making truffles makes me truly happy. Many an argument with the ex. chef or the husband have been settled around a plate of them.
I am getting excited again and I disgress....
Playing with chocolate (and yeast and sugar) here can get quite tricky because of the high temperatures outside and the high level of humidity, so after a few batches of not so right chocolates some years ago, I purchased "The Art of Chocolate" by Elaine Gonzales, and it has been one of my best technique books so far. The woman knows her stuff! She will guide you from basic hand rolled to tempered and molded chocolates, to beautiful chocolate boxes, roses and more.
I have adopted her techniques for rolled truffles after one summer in South Carolina when no matter what I did, the cocoa powder would sink into the truffle and disappear. If you follow her instructions for hand dipped or molded chocolates, you will become a master in no time.
Classic Hand Rolled Chocolate Truffles:
8 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
Heat the cream over low heat unil bubble form around the edges of the pan. Pour the cream into a bowl and let cool 1 minute. Ass the chocolate. When the pieces are soft, start stirring until the ganache mixture is smooth.
Cover loosely and refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour.
Spoon the ganache into a pastry bag and squeeze mounds, 3/4 inch in diameter. If you want really nice round truffles, use your hand to form them. Refrigerate, uncovered for a day. The trick is to let the truffle form a skin so that when you roll them in the cacao, the powder does stay on for a long time, regardless of the temperature in the room.
Dip into cocoa powder to cover.
For the 3 different hand rolled truffles that I made I doubled the recipe and divided the ganache in 4.
1/ remained plain
2/ I added 1/2 cup crushed up pecan praline
3/ I added 1/2 cup chopped candied ginger
4/ I added 1/2 cup pumkin puree and 2 tsp. pumpkin spice (I used it in the molded chocolate)
Molded Chocolate Truffles:
Source for the molds: Kitchen Krafts
Tempered Chocolate for the shells: (classic method, only used if you don't have the tempered chocolate chunks required in the seeding method)
1 pound semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped.
Over a double boiler, melt the chocolate to 115 F. Let cool to 84 F. Reheat until it reaches no higher than 90F. If you exceed this temp. you must reheat the chocolate and start all over again. The remp. may be 2 or 3 degrees lower but not higher.
Your chocolate is now tempered.
Making the Molded Truffles:
Line your work aread with parchement paper. Make sure wyour molds are clean and free of particular. Pour enough tempered chocolate to fill the cavitites completely with chocolate. Tap your mold on your counter to remove any air bubbles. Invert the mold over the parchement paper. Shake it in a circular motion to coax most of the excess chocolate to run out. Using a large spatula scrape the the excess chocolate off of the top and edges. Invert and let the chocolate harden. Fill with your desired ganache or filling.
Seal the cavities: remelt and retemper the chocolate. Spoon chocolate over the filling, going slighty over the rim. Tap the bottom of the molds on the counter. Using a large spatula, scrape the excess chocolate. Refrigerate until set.
To unmold: tap the bottom of the mold once on the counter, and flex the mold a little if necessary.
For the Coffee Buttercream filling:
4 egg yolks
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
8 oz. butter (2 sticks) room temp.
2 Tb. strong coffee
Whip the egg yolks until light and fluffy with a stand mixer. Combine water and sugar in a saucepan over low heat. Stir occasionally until the sugar is dissolved. Increase the heat and bring the syrup to 238 on a cansy thermometer. Pour over the yolks and quickly stir to combine. Return the bowl to stand mixer and whip at high speed until completely cold. Add the butter and mix in on medium speed. Add the coffee and mix .
For the Dulce de Leche: (prepare one day in advance)
Submerge a small can of sweetened condensed milk in water in a big pan. Bring to a boil and let boil for a couple hours, making sure the can of milk is ALWAYS under water.
Let cool for one day, before opening.
I know there is a cooked method out there on the internet but could not locate it.
I brought this assortment to Thanksgiving dinner to be enjoyed with coffee. I was a bit worried about how the pumpkin ganache would be received but everybody loved it.
Making molded truffles is a lenghthy process but I had plenty of time on tuesday with the cold and rainy day we were having (read: I got lazy and stayed home)