21 January 2007

The Passion of the Truffle

posted by gastrogirl @ 22:38 to section Cooking

It must be quite obvious by now that I can’t resist a bad pun, particularly for the title of a post. But this one really is relevant to the content, and these truffles both inspire and exhibit passion! I made this recipe for my very first Sugar High Friday, a blogging event that encourages participants to share their sugary creations based on a particular theme. This time around, it’s hosted by top-notch food blogger David Lebovitz. The theme of this Sugar High Friday, #27, is Chocolate by Brand. We were told to make a chocolate treat using a particular brand, and explain the whys behind our choice. Below is my entry, which are Passion Fruit Truffles made with El Rey Mijao (61%).

passion1

I usually buy kilos of Callebaut for making chocolate desserts, mainly because it’s nearly universally liked and also easy to find in my city (conveniently just a few blocks away from my apartment!). However, I felt that the passion fruit needed a stronger, more robust chocolate to support its tart and juicy flavour. El Rey Mijao does a good job at providing this robustness, since its Venezuelan origin makes it slightly smokier and less creamy than the Callebaut, yet still pleasantly smooth. It’s excellent for nibbling, but not so rare or special that it should only be eaten unadorned. It’s also easily available in my local branch of natural foods supermarket and not terribly expensive to boot.

For the recipe, I adapted a classic American-style truffle recipe from Alice Medrich, substituting passion fruit puree for liqueur. Passion fruit puree can be found in convenient, oblong frozen packages in most Latin American markets and some supermarkets. To use, take out one of the smaller packages from the main package and let it thaw at room temperature before using (this shouldn’t take more than an hour, but if you’re in a hurry, you can also run warm water over the sealed plastic package to help it thaw).

After making the truffle centers, I rolled some of them in toasted coconut, and decided to enrobe the rest. Too late, I realized that after enrobing there would be no way to get any coconut to stick on the outside, so I came up with a slightly unconventional solution. After the outer shell had hardened, I used a pastry brush to very lightly moisten the tops with some of the leftover passion fruit puree. Then, I sprinkled coconut on top, hoping the stickiness of the fruit puree would allow at least some of the coconut to stay on. It worked! The topping is still rather delicate and they would not fare well if subjected to much bouncing or rolling around, but enough coconut stuck on to both hide my amateurish enrobing job and give a welcome top-off to the tropical theme. A better idea would be to sprinkle coconut on directly after enrobing, when the chocolate has not yet hardened (it would also probably be helpful to have two people doing this, one person enrobing and another sprinkling coconut). Here is the result…

Please forgive my lighting issues! :)
passion1
I think the enrobed one looks much more elegant, don’t you? They both taste wonderful, though!

The final result was just what I was hoping for, a buoyant dance of tastes and textures: creamy smooth chocolate with a subtle but sharp tang of passion fruit, and the comforting crisp of toasted coconut. The passion fruit really brightens up the chocolate, preventing it from tasting too rich or heavy…so even those who are not crazy about dark chocolate would probably like these. I made a half-recipe, which yielded about 20 truffles. The recipe below is the already-halved version, but you could easily double this for a party.

Passion Fruit Truffles
1/2 cup heavy cream
1.5 tablespoons sweet, unsalted butter
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 cup passion fruit puree, thawed

For enrobing:
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

For rolling
3/4 cup toasted coconut (Note: if using sweetened coconut, pulse a few times in a food processor so it becomes more finely chopped. If using unsweetened coconut, add a tablespoon or so of sugar)

Method:

Place the chopped chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl.
Bring the cream to a simmer in a heavy-bottomed saucepan, then pour over the chopped chocolate. Use a whisk to very gently mix the chocolate until melted and completely smooth. Stir in the passion fruit puree. Pour into an 8×8 inch baking dish and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

After chilling, use a melon baller or teaspoon to scoop the ganache into balls. Shape them into spheres with your hands, being careful not to handle them too much lest they melt. Place the balls on a baking sheet or tray lined with parchment, and, if enrobing, freeze them for about 2 hours or until firm. If you only plan to roll them in coconut, refrigerate for about 2 hours.

To enrobe:
Melt the chopped chocolate in a metal bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Once the chocolate is melted and smooth, remove the bowl and wipe the water off the bottom. Remove the frozen truffle centers from the freezer and prepare to enrobe. Working quickly, drop a frozen center into the melted chocolate. Use a fork or your fingers to quickly cover the center, shake off excess chocolate, then place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Do not touch the truffle after placing it on the sheet, as the chocolate shell will harden very quickly and handling it at this point will cause it to smudge. Repeat this with the remaining truffles. Place the baking sheet in the fridge or freezer and serve the truffles either cold or frozen.

To roll:
If you elect not to enrobe, you can gently roll the cold truffle centers in the toasted coconut, and place them back on the tray or baking sheet. These must be served cold or frozen, as they will become too soft and melty at room temperature.

3 Comments

  1. I sure hope this won’t be your last SHF! I love passion fruit, especially with chocolate and raspberries. Your truffles look divine!

    Comment by Helen — 23 January 2007 @ 15:28

  2. Excellent directions on” how to” and what to expect! Can’t wait to try them out on my special someone!

    Comment by gisselle — 24 January 2007 @ 17:02

  3. Helen: Thanks for the comment, I do hope to participate in many future SHFs. Passion fruit, chocolate, and raspberries sounds like a head-spinning combination. I must try it!

    Gisselle: Thank you! I wish you luck…

    Comment by gastrogirl — 24 January 2007 @ 20:17

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