Chocolate Truffles #2
Author/Submitted by: Martin Minow Digital Equipment Corporation, Ultrix Engineeri
unsweetened baking chocolate
Warm the Cointreau to the same temperature as the chocolate. Slowly blend the Cointreau into the chocolate (still over the water). Stir continuously. Do this slowly (as if you were making hollandaise). Using an electric mixer, beat the mixture until cool and somewhat thickened. (Takes about 5 minutes; you'll need a good mixer.)
Line a large baking sheet (30x40 cm) with wax paper. Pour in the truffle mix. (This will fill the pan.) Chill in the refrigerator until solid (several hours).
Use a pizza cutter to cut the stuff into strips (peel off the wax paper first), then into squares. Take each one, mash it in your palm, and roll in cocoa. Chill some more.
Chop the chocolate. Melt together with the butter over simmering water. Stir continuously with a rubber spatula. Don't let water get into the chocolate.
These are as good - or better - than anything you can buy in a store.
I recommend Merckens Yucatan or Lindt Extra Bittersweet for the dark coating chocolate. In place of the Cointreau, try substituting other liqueurs (Chambord, Amaretto, Kahlua) and coatings (chopped roasted almonds, finely chopped candied orange peel, coffee beans run through a nutmeg grinder, etc.) Truffles rolled in cocoa are ``classic'' - here are some rough and ready instructions for coating anything with chocolate, abstracted from Making Chocolates by Alec Leaver, published in 1975 by Weathervane Books by arrangement with Michael Joseph Ltd. (The book is out of print.) Melt some chocolate over hot water, let it cool slowly until it just thickens Now warm the chocolate gently and slowly until it thins slightly. The temperature should be above but below This maximum working temperature is absolutely crucial. The temperature of the room you work in should not exceed Pre-bottom all centers - that is, smear a little couverature on what will be the bottom of the center with the back of a spoon and place it, bottom side up, on a plate. This lets you check that the couverature is properly tempered. After the bases have set and hardened a little, stir the couverature thoroughly, trying not to get too many air-bubbles in. Drop a center into the couverature, bottom down and, with an ordinary fork, slightly warmed, push it down to submerge it fully. Immediately, pick it out with the fork, tap the fork on the side of the bowl in order to settle the chocolate, and wipe any excess from underneath the fork. Transfer the center to a sheet of wax paper. Stir the couverature after depositing each center to keep it well mixed. The basis of the truffle centre is ganache paste, a mixture of melted chocolate and warm cream well blended and cooled until it hardens. Orange, honey, peppermint, rum or vanilla can be added to give flavor, but it is important that the final mixture should be hard enough to be moulded to shape and be capable of standing up to being coated with chocolate. The texture of ganache paste depends upon the kinds of cream and chocolate and the proportions in which they are used. Plain chocolate is harder than milk chocolate, so more cream can be added to it. Single cream is thinner than double so must be used in smaller quantities. Incorporating cream or other liquids fulfills two functions: it softens the chocolate and it gives flavor. After the centre has been made and moulded to shape, it is coated with chocolate to seal it and help to keep it moist. It is then rolled in a final decorative coating, and this can cocoa sweetened with a little icing sugar, or chopped mixed nuts.
Difficulty : moderate for classic truffles, quite difficult for coated centers.
Precision : measure carefully.