La Traviata Truffles ~ grand marnier & orange zest
For the past week I've been up to my elbows in chocolate and chocolate powder making 400 truffles for the SF Opera's Bravo! Club Kick-off Party at the Kim Vo Salon in SF.
I'm not a pastry chef at all, actually quite pastrily-imparied especially if you ask the chefs at Pierre Herme in Paris, but that's another story. For some reason I've been able to conquer my truffle fear if for no other reason than a potted plant could make them, and if I can make them, anyone can... I polled a couple of different resources and combined a few recipes including Alton Brown's and Jacques Torres's and came up with this basic recipe. I changed it up a bit for the different flavors and named each truffle after an Opera.
La Boheme Truffles ~ simply bittersweet
* 10 oz 70% Scharffen Berger bittersweet chocolate (I use their 9.7 oz box for this recipe, just rounding up for ease)
* 2 tbsp unsalted butter
* 1/2 cup heavy cream
* 1 tbsp light corn syrup
* 1/4 cup brandy (or other liquour)
* 1/4 cup chocolate powder for rolling the truffles
1. Chop up the chocolate and butter into small pieces so it will melt quickly and evenly, and place in a glass bowl.
2. In a pot, heat the cream, corn syrup and liquid just to a low boil, and set aside for a few minutes to cool.
3. Pour the hot liquid into the bowl with the chocolate and butter and let sit for 5 minutes. Whisk gently to mix the chocolate and liquid. Once it's combined don't let any liquid get in the chocolate or it will break. If it gets too hot it will break as well. If that happens, add a small amount of chilled heavy cream and whisk until the chocolate comes back together. You can also use an immersion blender for this. (Breaking is when the fat separates from the chocolate and becomes grainy and oily.)
4. Pour the chocolate ganache into a pan, cover and chill for at least a few hours, ideally overnight.
5. Take a low flat soup bowl and put a 1/4 cup of chocolate powder in it. Tap the bowl so the powder is level.
6. Take out the chocolate and, using a melon baller or small ice cream scoop, scoop the chocolate into small balls, roll them in your hands to even them out and drop them in the chocolate powder. Roll them around to coat and place on a tray with parchment paper. Chill until an hour before you are ready to serve, allowing them to come to room temperature.
And that's it! For the flavored truffles, I added/substituted the following:
* La Traviata ~ 1/4 cup grand marnier + the zest of 4 oranges
* Don Carlos ~ 1/4 Patron tequila + the zest of 4 limes + a sprinkling of fleur de sel on the top of each truffle (my favorite!)
* Semiramide ~ steep the cream in 1/4 cup earl grey tea + 1/4 cup brandy
* Fra Diavolo ~ 1 cup toasted coconut + a few shakes of cayenne. add a few shakes of cinnamon to the chocolate powder for rolling
* Orphee aux Enfers ~ bacon! 1 pkg of thick cut pepper bacon baked with a little maple syrup spread on top. break off as much fat as you can, crumble the remaining bacon and stir into melted chocolate
I was a little skeptical about the bacon ones, not sure how they'd go over but of all the flavors, I think that one was the biggest hit! I did of course have to taste each one...multiple times...all in the name of quality control :) hence the chocolate coma... Bon appetit!
A very kind note appeared in my inbox the next morning. It made my day:
"Hi Laura! Where to begin??.....I'll start with YUM YUM YUM!!!!!......beyond a treat to have your participation and donation to last night's Gala Kick-off party! I am sorry we didn't get to connect, but every 5-words I heard throughout the night included 'bacon' 'cayenne' or 'i've consumed 10'!.....simply out of this world! .....thank you, thank you..." ~ Marie T. Carr, President BRAVO! 2010
Thank YOU Marie for the opportunity to do what I love to do and all for a wonderful organization!