Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Truffling Matter

Ever since Paul and I dined at the glorious Cyrus in Healdsburg 4 years ago I've wanted to go back. But it also created a desire to recreate the white chocolate truffles filled with a soft white chocolate and lime filling that bursts with flavor. Simply divine. I managed to get the recipe and played around with it, yielding poor results, mainly because I couldn't get the premade shells without a lot of expense. I've since learned more about working with chocolate and finally realized what I needed was a silicone mold, which I bought. Seeing it done on Food TV didn't hurt either. I could definitely recreate the lime and white chocolate truffles now, and I will when I see white chocolate that I approve of I'll try it. (I admit I haven't been looking since I prefer dark chocolate.)

Since we occasionally have expired chocolate bars on our hands where I work, it falls to me by default to make something chocolate and fabulous. I hadn't made molded truffles in quite a while so it seemed like a good idea to try it. I have my silicone mold with 16 cavities (little molds) for molding chocolate, butter, whatever you like. Each cavity holds a tablespoon of chocolate and this recipe yielded 48 truffles. If you don't want to make that many just cut the ingredient amounts in half.

You have to pour your melted chocolate into the cavities and then pour it back into the bowl of melted goodness, leaving a shell to hold your ganache filling. When you start getting to where you can't fill all the cavities at once, just pour chocolate back into the bowl, then pour it into the remaining cavities. Repeat until you are done.

I used Monin raspberry syrup to gussy up the ganache because raspberry and chocolate are divine together. However, you can use liqueurs like Cointreau, Kahlua, etc. or other flavorings. Hazelnut would be fabulous. Add until it tastes good to you, a little at a time. I added a tablespoon of syrup, stirred, tasted, and repeated until I had what I wanted.

Chocolate lore: chocolate has protein in it. Overheating will cause the protein to clump up, get tough, and be unusable. Also, don't let water touch melted chocolate. It will cause it to "seize up", become a lumpy mess and become unusable. Other than that, have fun.

Ganache: hot cream poured over chopped chocolate and stirred to make a delicious
filling for your truffles.

Bittersweet Chocolate and Raspberry Truffles
Yields 48 truffles

20 ounces bittersweet chocolate, divided
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
5 tablespoons Monin raspberry syrup

Chop up the chocolate and divide into 2 bowls: 10 ounces in a mixing bowl and 10 ounces in a steel bowl. Set the steel bowl over a pan of gently simmering water and melt, stirring to mix. Turn heat to low.

For ganache, bring heavy cream to a simmer and pour over the 10 ounces of chocolate in the mixing bowl. Let sit 30 seconds, then stir together with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon. Add vanilla and syrup and stir gently to blend well.

Pour melted chocolate into cavities in the mold all the way to the top. Tip mold over bowl of melted chocolate to drain cavities, leaving them coated with chocolate. Refrigerate for a few minutes to set up.

Spoon ganache into cavities, leaving 1/16" to 1/8" free at the top. Top the ganache with melted chocolate to cover and seal the truffles. Refrigerate until nice and cold, at least half an hour. Remove the truffles by pushing the cavities inside out. Store in a container in the refrigerator. Share with friends. Easy!

Before I go, I have a restaurant for you to try. Paul and I took a ride to Fremont and since I had seen a segment on Check Please! Bay Area a couple of years ago on an Afghan restaurant in that Silicon Valley town, I suggested we try it. They gave it great reviews and I made a note of it. There were some curry dishes on the menu and since I'm watching my calories I ordered the chicken curry and merely tasted Paul's lamb curry. Both were delicious. The owner came by and I told him we loved the curry but it tasted Indian to me. He said it was Indian and if we wanted Afghan food to order the kebabs etc. I was puzzled and wondered (to myself) why they didn't stick to Afghan food. I asked him if anyone from Afghanistan worked there, as the kitchen was manned by cooks from Mexico, which is normal, and our server was from Peru. He did say his grandson worked there so he's covered, I guess. The Afghan naan (bread) was whole wheat, not fried, and very tasty. We had the firni, a pudding with rosewater and pistachios and it was very good. Overall the food and service was good, the bathrooms clean and the place was welcoming. I recommend it. Website: Salang Pass Restaurant

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