Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Milk chocolate passion fruit truffles

When I saw this recipe, I knew I had to make it. I love chocolate paired with tart fruit, I particularly love passion fruit and I was going to be visiting a friend who prefers milk chocolate to dark. At the end of the day, the recipe landed in both the win and the not-really-a-win-but-good-try columns; it was one of the most delicious things I've tasted but it ended up not actually making truffles.

Confused? I'll explain.
First, you chop up some milk chocolate.
Then you heat up some passion fruit puree with heavy cream and honey.
Poach some minced dried apricots to moisten them and drain on a paper towel. (Note how closely I was following the recipe, having been instructed to cut the butter into four pieces.)
Add the hot, fruity cream to the chocolate.
Stir until melted.
Add your preciously poached apricot dice.
Then I chilled it overnight, as instructed, and the next morning I started scooping it out into truffle blobs that would get rolled in the palms of my hands, tossed in powdered sugar and bestowed upon the deserving with all appropriate ceremony.
However, the mixture was just too soft to hold its shape. I didn't even try rolling the blobs in my hands because I knew they'd just melt down to nothing.
So I packed it all into a container and handed it out by the spoonful rather than as freestanding candy entities and all was well. There was some talk of using it to frost something, since it was really the ideal frosting consistency, but we never got around to making that happen. I'd like to know where I went wrong so that I could get it right in the future, but who knows? Next time, I'll use a little less cream and see if that does the trick. I also wouldn't bother poaching the apricots; I had some particularly fresh ones that didn't need perking up and the poaching just made them sticky. A word of warning: the passion fruit flavor was less sharp and intense after a couple of days, so eat it all up right away!

Milk Chocolate and Passion Fruit Truffles
From Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Herme
Written by Dorie Greenspan
Makes about 50 truffles

14 3/4 ounces milk chocolate, preferably Valrhona Jivara, finely chopped
8 moist, plump dried apricots, cut into tiny dice
2 tablespoons water
Scant 2/3 cup passion fruit puree
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon honey
4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into 4 pieces
Confectioner's sugar, for dusting

1. Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl that is large enough to hold all of the recipe's ingredients; set aside.

2. Stir the apricots and water together in a small saucepan and place the pan over gentle heat for a few minutes, until the apricots are moist. Pull the pan from the heat, drain the apricots, if necessary, and pat them dry between a double thickness of paper towels.

3. Bring the passion fruit puree, cream and honey to a full boil in a saucepan or microwave oven, then pour it into the center of the chocolate. Working with a spatula, gently stir the cream into the chocolate in ever-widening concentric circles until the ganache is homogeneous and smooth.

4. Allow the ganache to rest on the counter about 3 minutes before adding the butter. When all the butter is blended into the mixture, fold in the apricot pieces and pour the ganache into a baking pan or bowl. Put the pan in the refrigerator and, when the ganache is cool, cover it with plastic wrap. The ganache should chill for at least 4 hours, although it can stay in the refrigerator overnight, if that's more convenient for you.

5. When you are ready to shape the truffles, have a parchment-lined baking sheet close at hand. Remove the truffle mixture from the refrigerator and scoop up a scant tablespoonful of ganache for each truffle; put the dollops of ganache on the paper-lined pan then, one by one, roll the dollops between the palms of your hands to form a ball. Don't worry about making them even--they're supposed to be lumpy. As you shape each truffle, drop it into the bowl of confectioner's sugar. Toss each truffle in the sugar so that it is well coated, then very gingerly toss the truffles between your hands to shake off the excess. Alternatively, you can roll the truffles around in a sieve to encourage them to shake off their extra sugar. As each truffle is finished, return it to the parchment-lined pan.

Keeping: The truffles can be served as soon as they are coated or they can be stored in the refrigerator, shielded from foods with strong odors.

[originally posted on my old food blog 3.3.2009]

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