Christmas Pudding Truffles
"Chocolate naturally lends itself to certain times of year, and especially Christmas. And what could be better than a chocolate that incorporates some of the ingredients most associated with Christmas- cinnamon, dried fruits, orange, Cognac, port, cardamom and nutmeg, normally found in one essential yuletide dish: Christmas pudding. This truffle has all the flavour of Christmas pud, but without the heavy texture."
Makes 50 truffles
For the ganache:
- 50g sultanas
- 50g raisins
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1⁄2 teaspoon cardamom
- 1⁄2 nutmeg, freshly grated
- 100ml port
- 50ml Cognac
- juice and zest of 1 orange
- 250g double cream
- 300g dark muscovado sugar
- 500g 70% dark chocolate, robust and well rounded, broken into pieces
- 300g 70% dark chocolate, tempered
- 100g white chocolate, tempered
Soak the sultanas, raisins and spices in the port, Cognac, orange juice and zest for at least 6 hours.
Bring the cream and 200ml water to a simmer, then add the sugar and soaked fruits (with all their liquid) and simmer for 4 minutes.
Purée until smooth using an electric blender then pass through a sieve, pushing as much of the pulp through as possible.
Pour on to the chocolate in a bowl and whisk well.
Transfer to a plastic container and refrigerate unti fully set.
Hand-roll the ganache into the required size.
Using either your hands or a dipping fork, coat the truffles in tempered dark chocolate, taking care to cover each one fully.
Place on a parchment sheet and allow to set.
To finish your Christmas-pudding chocolates, carefully apply white chocolate to the top of each truffle to give the look of brandy sauce running down the top and sides.
Aztec Spiced Truffles
"The Aztecs drank copious amounts of cocoa in a cold, frothy form flavoured with cinnamon, chilli and nutmeg. Today, I make my Aztec hot chocolate in the same way, using water instead of milk or cream and by infusing warming spices intothe liquid. This recipe for a spiced truffle is also water-based."
Makes about 30 truffles
- 150g cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1⁄2 teaspoon grated fresh nutmeg
- 250g 70% dark chocolate, tempered
For the ganache:
- 1⁄2 cinnamon stick
- 1⁄4 teaspoon chilli powder
- 1⁄2 fresh nutmeg, grated
- 75g light muscovado sugar
- 200g African 85% dark chocolate, broken into pieces
Put 200ml water in a pan with the cinnamon stick, chilli, nutmeg and sugar, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
Strain onto the chocolate in a bowl and whisk well until smooth.
Set aside to cool, then refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Combine the cocoa powder and spices in a medium-size bowl, mixing well.
Roll the ganache between your fingertips until you have even-sized spheres.
Dip your hands into the tempered chocolate and carefully roll each truffle in your hands until fully coated.
As you coat one, immediately roll it through the cocoa mixture and leave to set fully.
"This is a perfect autumn and winter chocolate. Gingerbread is most popular at Christmas time, so these truffles make a great gift, especially when packed creatively in a large glass jar or handmade box."
Makes about 40 truffles
For the ganache:
- 300ml double cream
- 150g light muscovado sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 100g crystallised stem ginger
- 600g Javanese 40% milk chocolate, broken into pieces
- About 300g milk chocolate, tempered
Put 100ml water, the cream, sugar and ground and stem ginger in a pan, bring to the boil and simmer for 2 minutes. Give the mixture a good stir for 30 seconds.
Add the chocolate and blend until all the chocolate has melted.
Pour into a plastic container and chill until fully set.
Roll your ganache into even-sized spheres, coat in the tempered chocolate and decorate as desired- a simple mixture of ground ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon is perfect, sprinkled onto each truffle before the chocolate has set.
Recipes from Paul A Young's 'Adventures with Chocolate', published by Kyle Books , RRP £14.99
Image by Anders Schonnemann.