I'll begin my foray into blogging with the truffles that are bound for Switzerland next week with mom. They will be an early Christmas present / consolation present for a 9 months pregnant sister! I am making:
1) Banana Caramel Crunch (Emily's favorite)
2) Gingerbread (Pat's favorite)
3) Passionfruit (My favorite)
4) Lemon (Experimental Truffle of the Day)
It was hard to narrow down the flavors to make...so many new ones I want to try. But Pumpkin Caramel and Vanilla Milk Chocolate will have to wait for another day (sigh).
Sometimes I develop my own flavors, but all of today's truffles are from other chocolatiers' recipes, with some modifications. I get flavor ideas from Andrew Schotts' Making Artisan Chocolates and Dede Wilson's Truffles, but I am adapting the recipes to the techniques of Peter Greweling's Chocolates & Confections, the textbook of the Culinary Institute of America. My chocolates have improved tremendously since I discovered this book.
Today I made the ganache. This is the easier task for me, but it always ends up taking much longer than expected...this was pretty much an all day event for 4 ganaches.
For the Gingerbread I used El Rey Mijao, a 61% Venezuelan chocolate. It's got a mild, warm, earthy flavor (my palate is not sophisticated enough to pick up the "notes of apricot and plum" that a reviewer detected). It goes well with the pumpkin pie spices. Gingerbread is dipped in white chocolate, and when taking a chocolate inventory of my cupboard, I of course discovered that I do not have enough white chocolate. This necessitated an order from Chocosphere, which I'll pick it up in Tualatin in the morning. I like Callebaut white, but it only comes in callets (which do not work well in my tempering machine) and 11# blocks (I do not use that much white chocolate). So I ordered Santander white, a Columbian variety that I haven't tried yet. I like their milk chocolate, so I'm hopeful that the white will be good.
The lemon truffles use a white chocolate ganache, and I added lemon oil instead of infusing the cream with lemon peel (easier). They turned out all right, but not exactly what I was hoping for. Very lemony, but I guess I was expecting a little more tang. Maybe next time I'll add some citric acid.
Banana Caramel Crunch is the most labor intensive...it needs a banana puree and a hard caramel that is pulsed into a coarse powder. I managed to only burn one batch of caramel in the process (yay), and I am saving that for another occasion. Maybe some sort of salt caramel truffle. Today's recipe calls for rum, but I left it out because I did not sufficiently plan ahead and am too lazy to go to the liquor store today. The ganache is very tasty nonetheless!
And for the passionfruit ganache I used Valrhona Manjari, an intense acidic and fruity dark chocolate that is one of my favorites (great for hot chocolate--thanks to Sahagun for that idea). The ganache is very strong and tangy, so I like to dip it in white chocolate to sweeten it up.
Probably about 20 pounds of chocolate in my cupboard
Before adding the cream
Blanca is not excited about truffle-making
Caramel powder and banana puree (with red bananas...why did Fred Meyer only have red bananas, plantains, and organic bananas for $50 per pound? Where were the cheap insecticide-laden banans? I have no idea.)
Cooling the ganache
My piped ganache is pretty lumpy looking--I haven't figured out how to make them nice and pretty like the textbook. Oh well, they need to be rolled out after they set anyway.
Tomorrow we'll see if my dipping skills have improved any from the last batch!
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