We prefer dark chocolate to the white version as it tends to be a bit sweeter than we like. But white chocolate is good for incorporating and carrying flavours and is excellent to make things like mousse. There are also ways to cut down on the sweetness of white chocolate and one method is to add citrusy flavours to it. I added lemon zest to mine and the lavender paired with it wonderfully.
I would assume the usual way would be to allow the flavours of lemon and lavender to steep in the cream and then strain them out. I liked the idea of my truffles being flecked with zest and lavender so I left them in. The chopped pistachio is the perfect finish to these truffles.
Pistachio Covered Lavender & Lemon Truffles
1 cup chopped white chocolate
50 ml cream (25%)
60 gm butter
1/4 tsp salt
3 tsp lemon zest
1 tbsp dried lavender flowers, crushed
2/3 cup finely chopped toasted pistachios
Heat the cream, butter, zest and lavender in a saucepan over hot water, until hot but not boiling. Add the chopped white chocolate and stir until it has melted completely and is smooth.
Pour into a container and freeze for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight. This makes the truffle mixture easier to shape and also allows the flavours to develop. When set hard, use a melon baller or scoop to scoop out 1 1/2” balls. Roll them in chopped pistachios and refrigerate (or freeze) till ready to serve.
This recipe makes about 15 truffles.
Cardamom & Chilli Chocolate Truffles
In this spirit of doing “different” I also decided to get adventurous with some Cardamom & Chilli truffles. Now, I know just about everyone’s done the chocolate chilli combination to death but it’s something totally new to me. I added the cardamom to the chilli-chocolate mix as it seemed “something” was missing, flavour-wise. Cardamom is my favourite spice, naturally, and if you haven’t tried with chocolate and chilli you just have to.
I upped the chilli powder to 1/2 tsp in my truffles as I wanted to the “fire” to register a bit. You can tone down depending on how much “fire” your chilli powder has or how you like it in your chocolate. My truffles gave me a hint of warmth in every bite rather than a mild after taste.
As for finishing off (I mean covering the truffles and not eating them) these truffles, you can just roll them in cocoa powder. Otherwise coat them in melted chocolate, or roll them in toasted and chopped pistachios, almonds or even cashewnuts.
Cardamom & Chilli Chocolate Truffles
Some useful truffle making tips:
A basic chocolate truffle is a ball of ganache (chocolate-cream mixture) which is refrigerated to set. The better the quality of chocolate you use, the better your truffle will be.
If your ganache splits or looks curdled/ separated, just add a few tsps. Of cream and mix till smooth. If your ganache is too hard from refrigeration, keep it at room temperature for a little while till it softens a bit.
Always heat the cream or chocolate using a double boiler method. This means melting the cream or/ and chopped chocolate in a heat-safe bowl (or saucepan) over a barely simmering pot of hot water without the bowl touching the water.
Use a shallow dish to refrigerate the truffle mixture as it will set quickly and uniformly this way.
Having a small melon baller (or scoop) is very helpful to shape truffles. They would be uniform in size. All truffle mixtures are not easy to roll by hand as the heat of your palm can melt them and make them sticky and unmanageable.
The best way to flavour truffles is to infuse the cream with it. Add the flavour to the warm cream and let it stay at room temperature for a couple of hours. Strain, then heat the cream again and melt the chocolate in it.
You can decorate your truffles in many ways, depending on the flavour in them. Roll them in cocoa powder, finely chopped buts, flaked coconut, crushed cookies, chocolate or sugar sprinkles. You can also coat them in melted chocolate and then pipe or drizzle chocolate to make patterns. Another way is to garnish them with something that echoes the filling or flavour in your truffle, like using candied orange on a chocolate and orange truffle.