Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Truffles Part II (original title, huh!)

You know, I really don't enjoy writing 'how-to's'. Whenever instruction is required, no matter how vague, I always find myself struggling to avoid slipping back into the writing style that five year olds adopt and believe to be both original and unique to them - you remember:  'And then', 'And then', 'And then', 'And then', 'And then' (usually building, I recall, to the shocking climactic revelation "suddenly I woke up and it was all a dream"!) It is so hard to energise instructions, to imbue them with some sense of ones own personality. Or perhaps it isn't - perhaps it's just me (this sentence is applicable to more areas of my life than I care to acknowledge). I know my problem boils down to the fact that I am innately selfish. I don't make any attempt to conceal the fact, nor do I make any apologies for it. Unfortunately, multitudinous aspects of my torturous  childhood were not conducive to forming a well-rounded, altruistic individual. I am, ulimately, far too preoccupied with my own 'well-being' (something I find increasingly difficult to attain). Thus, I make a far superior student than tutor. I am practical and diligent if trying to learn a new skill or follow somebody else's pattern because I expect to gain from it. Yet, finding myself in the situation where I have the opportunity to impart some knowledge or share an exciting idea and almost without warning the magic dissipates. I cannot train myself out of privately thinking to myself 'why would I explain this? I already know how to do it'. See - selfish! I'm not like this out of spite, I can assure you! And I do have some (read 'limited'!) endearing traits.

So, bearing all this in mind and (hopefully) not thinking too badly of me, here are my less than exciting, less than comprehensive, less than I had hoped (ain't that the story of my life) instructions? Nay, explanations, of how to complete the truffles!

You will remember that the flavoured ganache had been chilling in the refrigerator overnight? Well, the next step was to scoop spoonfuls of this sublime mixture into balls, rolling them gently into perfect spheres smooth balls 'bite-size' lumps and coating with fine 70% cocoa powder from 'Green & Blacks'. [Goodness knows, for what is essentially brown dust, this powder smells absolutely sensational. If asbestos smelt like this we'd all have killed ourselves years ago!]

This was, as you can imagine, a highly messy job! The problem with a ganache, I've discovered, is that it has a pretty volatile reaction to temperature. Ok, so not exactly volatile, but for somebody that spent their childhood years refusing proffered bags of crisps in the school playground lest they cross-contaminate or pick up some hideous disease designed to kill the pre-pubescent, this was quite an adventurous task:

Strangely, hubby's truffle filling did not seem to melt like mine. I was reminded of my Grandmother repeating the saying 'cold hands, warm heart' and suddenly felt slightly insulted....

100 balls of gooey and not-so-gooey later, we had several lined trays that looked like this:

The final part of the equation is where I get slightly lost. We'd agreed that we would leave some truffles as they were and coat others with either melted plain or white chocolate. Nathan assured me that to do this we had to 'temper' the melted chocolate. Upon learning what this entailed, I asked if it was strictly necessary and was courteously informed about what a heathen, what a reprobate, what an entire waste of life I was. Of course one needs to temper the chocolate, daaaarling! How could one not know such a thing! Evidently, it is the process of sloooooowly cooling the chocolate to avoid splitting of the fats. If you say so. My reluctance to get involved can be explained by this picture. Would you want this mess in your kitchen?! Though admittedly, it would be a delicious excuse to redecorate....

After much dipping, rolling, coating, dusting, packing, candied peel adding, switching to white chocolate and starting all over again - we were left with our finished truffles. A brief spell in the chiller and this is what they looked like:

And it's weird, you know. In textile based crafts, we all strive to create items that look commercially produced, professional, flawless. And yet, the handmade appearance of these beauties did nothing but enhance their appeal. Far superior to a slab of moulded, mass-produced Cadbury's, don't you think? I enjoyed packing some up into a cute glass jar and adding a ribbon -these are for a very special friend's birthday and will be gifted this evening.

Go on - treat yourself!


  1. They look absolutely gorgeous - good enough to eat in fact! I thought Nathan had really wrinkly hands...until I realised he was wearing gloves!! Glad to see food hygiene and health and safety is top of the list! xx

  2. Oh good grief, I need some of these immediately! Seriously, I've run out of Green and Black's hot chocolate and I don't know what I'm going to do. It's time to raid the childrens' Easter eggs. For shame.