Truffles - fungi or chocolate?
My New Zealand Cooks Dictionary tells me truffle, chocolate: confectionary made with chocolate, butter or cream, sugar and flavourings such as brandy, rum, coffee, nuts or spices.
They are shaped into rough truffle like balls and rolled in cocoa powder, usually served with coffee. The glossary in my text of culinary fundamentals tells me - rich chocolate candies made with ganache (chocolate mixed with cream). My New Larousse Gastronomique The World's Greatest Cookery reference book has several pages on truffles but they are the fungi type, no mention of the chocolate type.
Having mentioned in the past what many refer to as truffles here in New Zealand is somewhat removed from the real thing. I have to admit it more than lightly annoys me to see all sorts of "things" being passed off as truffles. Fudgy type concoctions made with broken or crumbed biscuits, milk powder, condensed milk? The addition of fruits soaked in liqueurs, chopped nuts, dried fruit or fresh fruit purees and oddfellows chopped in a food processor are all well appreciated additions to real chocolate truffle and yes good Dutch cocoa, toasted coconut, drinking chocolate powder and melted chocolate are always welcomed coatings or dustings but raw coconut, marshmallows or fruit puffs?
Anyway, Christmas is definitely time for all the family members to assist in the preparation of the Christmas Day spread and/or an appreciation by way of a gift of sweet meats and here is a recipe you can easily get the children or grandchildren to get involved with - in fact they will with some careful direction and care be able to make these very easily. Something they will enjoy making, giving and eating.
REALLY SIMPLE CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES
These are quite rich so don't make them too large
For 30 truffles
200-220g milk or dark chocolate melts
1/4 cup cream
2 scorched almond, peanut or hazelnut bars
1 Tbsp coffee flavoured liqueur
1/2 cup good baking cocoa (I do prefer Dutch)
Place the chocolate melts and cream in a heat resistant microwave proof bowl and place in the microwave on a low heat for 30 seconds at a time giving them a good stir between each heating until the mixture is nice and smooth. Remove from the heat.
Allow to cool for 10 minutes.
Place the peanut, almond or hazelnut bars into a food processor and process until chopped finely. Stir these into the chocolate mixture, adding the liqueur at the same time.
Place this mixture once you have mixed it into the refrigerator and allow to cool for a couple of hours.
Using round about a teaspoon and a half of the mixture roll into rough shaped balls then coat with the baking chocolate. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
For something a little different replace the milk or dark chocolate with white chocolate, replace the coffee liqueur with white rum and roll the truffles in toasted desiccated coconut. A favourite of mine is to add some chopped dried apricots and replace the coffee liquer with brandy.
Graham Hawkes operates Paddington Arms at the Queens Dr/Bainfield Rd roundabout.
The Southland Times