Life is uncertain. Eat Dessert first.

Truffles and Sweets

Hand-made Chocolate Truffles

Last year I blogged about chocolates I made for my sister wedding. I have made another batch of the piped truffles from Essence, a recipe book by David Everitt-Matthias of Le Champignon Sauvage. These will be available to taste for free in The Corkscrew Wine Merchants on Chatham Street tomorrow, Sat 5th March.

I chopped 500g of chocolate (70% cocoa solids) in a food processor, whizzing it until I was left with tiny pieces, and mostly powdery dust. I put this into a large bowl.

I poured 300ml double cream and 65g diced unsalted butter in a small saucepan and gently brought it to the boil, stirring regularly. Be careful not to over-boil it or the cream will burn. Take it off the heat, and leave it for about two minutes before very gradually pouring it over the chocolate. You will be using the heat of the cream to melt the chocolate, but if the cream and butter mixture is too hot when poured onto the broken chocolate it will all separate and be unusable. As I pour the cream in bit by bit, I am constantly stirring the chocolate mixture to help it melt. It is a good idea to give the cream and butter mixture a light whisk for a few seconds with a balloon whisk every so often to prevent the cream and butter separating as you pour it in.

Once all the cream and butter is poured onto the chocolate, keep stirring. If you get to a point where there are still small lumps of chocolate and they won’t melt any further, put the bowl over a gently simmering pan of boiling water (making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water), and keep stirring until you are left with a smooth, satiny mixture. Take the bowl off the heat and put it back on the counter.

Add the grated zest of a lemon and the grated zest of half an orange. I recommend using a microplaner to grate the zest, as it is really easy to use and it makes sure the zest is very small. Add the juice of the lemon and the juice of the orange half, very slowly and stirring constantly to make sure it gets evenly mixed. Then add 30ml of Cointreau, again adding it almost drop by drop and constantly stirring. If you don’t have Cointreau you could try Baileys as an alternative, or whatever liqueur you fancy. Make sure everything is well mixed and then place in the fridge to set just a little.

Once it has partially set, give it a stir and then beat it with an electric mixer until it holds a reasonably stiff shape when the mixer is removed. You don’t want to over-mix or the mixture will be difficult to shape later. Put spoons of the mixture into a piping bag, and pipe it into conical shapes on baking trays lined with baking parchment. Alternatively you can even just put teaspoons of it on the parchment. Leave to set in the fridge, and keep stored in the fridge. The above quantities makes about 150 truffles!

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Chocolate Truffles

To help my sister with her wedding I offered to make the favours – 2 chocolates for each of the 130 guests. After a few trial runs I settled on two different types – Ballymaloe Chocolate Truffles from Darina Allen’s Ballymaloe Cook Book, and Chocolate Truffles from David Everitt-Matthias’s book Essence.

I used home-made praline to flavour the hand-rolled Ballymaloe Truffles, and added Baileys to the piped truffles from Essence.  The maximum I could make in either batch in one go was about thirty to forty, so it took eight batches to make enough (including extras). I ordered flat-pack boxes online which I assembled at home, but waited until the morning of the wedding in the venue to roll the Ballymaloe Truffles in cocoa and put both chocolates in the boxes to avoid damage in transit.