House Dark Chocolate Truffles
We originally did not want to post the truffles because N felt they didn’t quite meet the mark. As mentioned before, tempering of chocolate has proved to be a real challenge in this humidity. The chocolate melts almost immediately when it meets a room temperature of 32C. Any form of moulding and sculpting of the pieces would only make it worse.
But the truffles were too divine to pass up on. The family at home have been popping these little balls of decadence into happy little tummies. The joy of this whole journey was to discover new cooking techniques and learn from our mistakes. If this was a mistake, it was a delicious one.
House Dark Chocolate Truffles
By William Curley, Couture Chocolate
Makes about 80 truffles
1 quantity Basic Ganache
500g tempered fine dark bittersweet chocolate
Cocoa powder, to coat
For Basic Ganache
435ml whipping (pouring) cream
60g invert sugar
250g of 70% dark chocolate, finely chopped
250g of 66% dark chocolate, finely chopped
75g unsalted butter, cut into cubes and at room temperature
(Note: We use Amedei Chocolate for these truffles)
Put the cream and invert sugar and bring to the boil. Take off the heat and leave to cool until it reaches 65 to 70C.
Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a bain-marie to about 45C and gradually pour one third of the boiling cream over the melted chocolate. Using a flexible spatula, mix it in energetically, drawing small circles to create an elastic, shiny “kernel”. Incorporate the second third of the cream, using the same procedure. Repeat with the last third.
As soon as the ganache has cooled to 35C to 40C, but no cooler, stir in the diced butter. It is important not to let the ganache cool too much as its texture will become grainy. Mix until mixture is smooth and emulsified. Leave the ganache to set in a cool place for 1 to 2 hours.
Line a baking tray with baking paper. Spoon the ganache into a piping bag fitted with a plain 12mm nozzle, until half-filled and pipe 2cm bulbs. Leave to set, uncovered for 2 to 3 hours in a cool, dry area.
To prepare the coating, temper the bittersweet chocolate. To temper by seeding, place two-thirds of the chopped chocolate in a bowl. Half fill a saucepan with hot water, and put the bowl over it, making sure that the bowl does not touch the bottom of the saucepan. Slowly heat the water on the lowest heat, ensuring it does not boil.
Stir regularly using a flexible spatula so that the chocolate melts smoothly, and reaches a temperature of 45C to 50C, ensuring all the fat and sugars have melted evenly.
Gradually add the remaining chocolate – this is the seed. Stir vigorously and continue to stir until all of the chocolate has fully melted and the chocolate cools and thickens to 31 to 32C (keep checking the temperature with a thermometer). If the temperature drops below this, simply warm it up over the bain-marie again.
Pour out a sufficient quantity of cocoa powder to cover a shallow plate.
To coat the truffle, use a dipping fork to coat the truffles. Press down lightly with the tip of the fork to submerge the truffle completely in the tempered chocolate. Retrieve the truffle with the fork and dip it 3 to 4 times more. This will create suction so that the chocolate coating will not be too thick. Tap the dipping fork on the edge of the bowl so that the excess chocolate will drop off the truffle. Carefully place the truffle in the cocoa powder and roll it immediately to cover it. If necessary, use a chopstick to slide it off the fork. Leave the truffles to harden in the cocoa powder. When the truffles have set, place them in a sieve to shake off any excess cocoa powder. Leave to set, uncovered, for 2 to 3 hours in a cool, dry place.
A small drop of water will moisten the chocolate and make the cocoa solids clump together and separate from the butter. You should never cover melting chocolate with a lid as the steam will condense and drop into the chocolate.
Overheating separates the coca solids and other dry ingredients from the cocoa butter; it will begin to burn if overheated, resulting in a dry and discoloured paste. There is no retrieving burnt chocolate, so be very careful when tempering.
Don’t forget the phenomenon of “thermal inertia” which means that the ingredient will continue cooking after removal from a source of heat, or cooling after removal from a source of cold. Remove your bowl from the hot or cold water baths before the desired temperatures are reached, and keep stirring so that the chocolate is not too hot or too cold.
Clean the dipping fork and chopstick regularly if the accumulate too much chocolate, the truffles will stick and it will be hard to slide them off.