Heston Blumenthal's ultimate chocolate truffles
For me, Christmas is all about decadence, and truffles, I think, are a really good example.
So I wanted to do a truffle recipe which really was a template. And there’s really only three ingredients; cream, chocolate and butter.
So, I've got some whipping cream in the pan. I'm going to bring that to the boil. You do need good quality chocolate. I've picked a 65% cocoa solid chocolate. Just throw a knife over like that. Okay, if you look now, the cream is just starting, just starting to simmer. Turn that off.
The key thing really here is, how you incorporate the hot cream into the chocolate. Instead of adding all of this hot cream onto the chocolate in one go, what I'm going to do is do it in three stages. So, put about a third of the cream in.So the most important thing with this, really is patience.
If you look in there, I've still got the bits of chocolate but you can see it’s started to melt. It's still kept this beautiful shine, there's no graininess at all.
Alright, so now I'm just going to add the next third of the cream, so this gentle way of melting the chocolate will just make such a difference to the, to the actual texture.
When chocolate starts to granulate it sort of crystallises and then that has this knock-on effect and it'll spread through the whole mixture, so it's going to get a grainy mixture.
The last third, now, hopefully, this is where the magic will happen. So now, that's the texture looking we’re for and finally, add the butter. So the ratio for this is four three one. It's four parts chocolate, three parts cream and one part butter.
If, for any reason, your ganache mix is a touch cold, then you can just put this over a pan of water, just to gently warm the chocolate up again, so the butter melts. Right, so now the bowl is a little bit warm so I'm going to transfer it to just a cold bowl. Just leave that to cool to room temperature.
And don't cover it because if there’s still a bit warm on the surface of the chocolate, you’ll trap that moisture in, then the chocolate could then start to crystallise.
And with this template, if you follow those steps and give it some patience and TLC and let it cool gently, you will be amazed; really well, that, in fact, basically this turns you into chocolatier; like a proper chocolatier, with a floppy hat.
So once you've got your base ganache, you can then play around with stuff.
Take a melon baller and then scoop it out with that. So here I've made some salted caramel.
It's basically water and sugar into a pan, bring it to the boil. You'll need a thermometer because you need to take the temperature up to 150 degrees. Then, add whipping cream, keep stirring all the time and then finish with butter and salt.
Pour it into a tray and then leave to set. And you’ll have this beautiful, soft caramel, like a fudge, but it won’t have any graininess to it at all. And that works so well with them, with bitter chocolate.
So what I'm going to do with the salted caramel, I'm going to just, going to use a chopstick and make a hole, just to the centre of this truffle, just big enough to fit one of these cubes of caramel into it. And then roll the chocolate into a crumble shortbread powder.
The inspiration for this was from a dish called millionaire shortbread. Obviously, it doesn't look that millionaire yet but, this is quite amazing. It's gold leaf. Gold leaf doesn’t actually taste of anything but if there’s one time of the year that you can be decadent, and it's not expensive, but if you're going to use it, you got to kind of flaunt it a bit; that's pretty special.
You can then start going a little bit more upmarket. In this ganache, I’ve added something called Maury and raspberry vinegar. And Maury is a red wine from the South of France, or southwest of France, that works fantastically with chocolate. So that, with crushed up freeze-dried raspberries.
Then I've done one here with white chocolate and Japanese miso glaze but it's got a fantastic flavour which works so well with white chocolate.
And here, you’ve got nori, which are those pressed sort of leaves of seaweed which are used to wrap sushi but if you just dry them out, fifty or sixty degrees, and then mix them in sugar, it’s absolutely delicious and cuts through the white chocolate really well.
So there's just three examples, which hopefully will give you an idea to just how big, chocolate truffle universe is at Christmas time.
Published by: Waitrose & Partners
Date published: 05.12.16