Eat.Drink: Chocolate Goodness + how to make Chocolate Truffles

It's a cold winter's day down here... drinking my home made Chai (delicious).... 

... and I'm wondering why I haven't made these amazing recipes which I've pinned away over the years...

Left: (okay... not chocolate) toasted almond cookies with fig filling from Pasty Affair
Centre Top: Brownies with Grand Marnier Ganache via Liv Life
Centre: chocolate macarons via Neutral Neverland
Centre Bottom: Pistachio Cardamom Truffles from Elise Rodriguez (NB there's no recipe, so if you're new to truffles, see below for the basics)
Right: Zebra Bundt cake from Bakers Royal

Truffles... how amazing to do the ones from Elise look above? 
Chocolate truffles are basically ganache (cream and chocolate) mixed together. So, you can infuse flavours into your cream as you heat it, in this case cardamom...

This is the recipe I use, which comes from the amazing River Cafe: Two Easy  by Rose Grey & Ruth Rogers - highly recommended - simple dishes using great produce... always delicious results. If you want to find this book, the ISBN is: 0091900328.

What you need:

For the ganache filling:
250g 70% Chocolate
2 x Vanilla pods or a dash of high quality extract
250mls Cream
4 or 5 cardamom pods - give them a quick bash in a mortar & pestle

Chop up your chocolate and put it into a bowl. Place a sheet of parchment paper onto a flat tray (one that will fit in your fridge)

Split your vanilla pod if you're using these and add to the cream in a small saucepan (I use quality extract, but and wait until the cream has come off the head before I add it). This is where we'd also add our cardamom. Bring this to the boil, then strain it over your chocolate. Gently whisk the mix together and then leave it to cool.

Once it's cooled right down, you'll get a firm mixture like Elise's picture above. This will work well if you then want to roll your truffles in chopped pistachios... place on your parchment paper and pop in the fridge to set.

Or if you want truffles that are a little more free form with a nice crisp chocolate coating...

Place your bowl of ganache over simmering water so that it just starts to warm through and is a little more liquid, then drop spoonful of the mix onto your parchment paper. Put this into the fridge for an hour to set.

Melt another 200gm of 70% chocolate in a double boiler. Place about a 1/4 cup of quality cocoa in a small dish. Drop your ganache truffles into the chocolate, roll quickly and remove with a fork (you have to take care as the warm chocolate will melt your ganache mixture too!) then drop into the cocoa, roll around and pop back onto your parchment paper.
Pop these back in the fridge and after about 15 minutes you can give them a shake in a sieve to remove the excess cocoa.
Keep these in the fridge in an airtight container.

If you're a fan of dark chocolate - make truffles like this, with or without the cardamom, they are AMAZINGLY good as an after dinner treat with coffee or tea...


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