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Keeping The Best For The Last: Pistachio Covered Lemon & Lavender Truffles And Chocolate & Chilli Truffles; And A Valentine̵

Posted Feb 14 2011 12:00am


I’m back as promised, with the remaining two truffles that I mentioned in my previous post. You know what they say about keeping the best for the last? Well, these two are my personal favourites out of all five kinds of truffles I made this time, and a bit little different from the others flavour-wise.

But before I go onto those truffles, let me mention the giveaway. This giveaway is not for roses, jewelry or chocolate but a chance to treat yourself to anything you would like from the chain of CSN stores.
They have been generous enough to, once again, sponsor a giveaway and this time it is a 100 dollar gift certificate (does not cover any shipping costs but you can use it on ANY product from ANY one of the CSN sites).
Since the giveaways that I host or do on this blog are always related to food and cooking in some way, I must point out that the kitchen and dining departments at the CSN Modern Furniture store have some very beautifully designed yet utilitarian items like dinnerware, table linen, kitchen ware and accessories.

To participate in this giveaway, leave a comment at this post telling me what your favourite kind of truffle (only the chocolate kind and no the fungus/ fungi, please) is. That’s all you have to do, and at the end of the giveaway, I’ll randomly pick one lucky commenter who gets to shop to their heart’s content for a 100 dollars!

Non-bloggers are most welcome to participate as well. Please ensure that you leave an e-mail id or a link to an id or your blog so that I can get in touch with you if you win this giveaway. If the winner of the giveaway does not get back to me within 4 days of the winning announcement, I shall pick another winner.

Please note this giveaway is open only to residents of the US and Canada (or if you have a shipping address in either country), does not cover any shipping costs. This giveaway is open till the 21th of February, 2011.
And to those of you who cannot take part in this giveaway, my next giveaway will be for Indian residents only, and that is a promise.



So let’s get back to those truffles I mentioned earlier. Since I was making my own chocolate truffles, I wanted to something different and a bit daring (for me, I mean). In India, chocolate has always been considered food (or treats) for kids.




It is a general and unwritten rule that when one pays the occasional visit to family or friends, one never goes empty-handed more so if there are elders or children there. So one invariably takes fruit along for elders, while the kids are given chocolate (or biscuits/ cookies occasionally). So it is not surprising that our chocolates are invariably very sweet and in very predictable flavour combinations that are thought to be liked by children. Chocolate for adult tastes is something that is still in its infancy in India though commercial chocolate makers are now pushing it for all their worth but the flavour combinations available are very predictable and boring.

So in the present scenario here, if you would like to experiment with daring flavour combinations in chocolate confections, the options are limited to asking someone coming down from abroad to bring you some or making them for yourself. There is always the third option of finding the chocolates in some boutique style shop and paying about 3 to 4 times the actual price!

I was lucky to have a visit from Santa in February (see my last post) bringing me some excellent Belgian chocolate as well as baking chocolate and dried lavender so I used them in my truffles.



Pistachio Covered Lavender & Lemon Truffles




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



Ingredients:

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


Method:

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


Ingredients:

50 gm butter
125 ml cream (25% fat)
1 1/2 cups chopped semi-sweet chocolate
3/4 tsp powdered cardamom
1/4 to 1/2 tsp chilli powder (according to taste)*
Cocoa powder for shaping truffles

*1/4 tsp chilli powder will give a barely discernible warmth whereas 1/2 tsp chilli powder will provide a marked warmth and aftertaste. This would also depend on the type of chilli powder so go with your intuition as to the amount required.


Method:

Heat the cream and butter in a saucepan, over hot water, until it is hot but not boiling. Take the pan off the heat and add the chocolate, cardamom and chilli powder. Stir everything till it is smooth.



Pour the truffle mixture into a box and refrigerate till set well. Using a melon baller or scoop, scoop out 1 1/2" balls and roll them in cocoa powder. Refrigerate till ready to serve. This recipe makes about 25 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.

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