Thursday, January 30, 2014

Dark Chocolate Strawberry Balsamic Truffle

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 The Gourmandise School  
 Sweets and Savories

truffle mania
A love like no other.
I won't bore all 11k of you readers out there with my goings on about our communal love of chocolate. We *heart* chocolate.  Not chocolate of any sort, because cheap chocolate does its brethren no justice.  The chocolate that makes us swoon and perks us up and inspires us is one made with care. Cacao that is grown and selected with intention- then carefully fermented, winnowed, ground and, once married with sugar and cocoa butter with the greatest of care, poured into the thinnest of molds so that each bite is pronounced, but not labored and sinks delicately, a silken experience we repeat with great joy.

Oops. I did it again.  Apologies from the sweets department.  Or not.  If you want more, let me go on.  Choose great, not just good, chocolate.  It doesn't have to be bittersweet to be good, but the beans used should be of great quality, as does the cocoa butter and the process (or lack thereof) used to create the bars, discs and confections we love to love.  Email me for our list of preferred chocolates and where to find them in this fine city.

If this inspired you in any way, I'd like to invite you to hear more.  Our resident chocolate expert Ruth Kennison is leading a lively discussion and tasting (chocolate and wine, and in that order) at her cottage of cocoa wonder.  The event takes place next Tuesday evenings, tickets are $36pp.

Dark Chocolate Strawberry Balsamic Truffle
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp heavy cream 
¼ cup strawberry puree*
7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 tsps balsamic vinegar

For topping, pulse together in the food processor:
1/3 cup Cocoa powder
2 Tbsps freeze dried strawberries, if desired

1.Place the chopped chocolate in a large bowl. In a small saucepan, bring cream to a boil. Then turn off heat.  Pour over chocolate.  Let stand for 1 minute and whisk until smooth.

2. Add the strawberry puree and balsamic vinegar. Let ganache set at room temperature.  Once cooled, you can chill it in the fridge for a few hours if you'll be scooping the truffles.

3. You have two options for shaping the truffles: a. using a piping bag with a 1/2"-1" round tip, pipe mounds on a piece of parchment paper.  Let this sit overnight or in the fridge for a few hours before shaping into rounds and coating in topping.  b. chill the mixture in the fridge for a few hours.  Once firm, use a small cookie scooper or melon baller to scoop mounds.  Shape into rough truffles and roll in topping (see below).

4. Roll truffles in cocoa powder/freeze dried strawberry mix (you can purchase freeze dried strawberries in the cereal aisle at Trader Joe's or natural food stores).

* Strawberry or any fruit purees can be purchased online or at Surfas or make the it by cutting and cooking down 8 ounces of fresh strawberries with a 1/2 tsp lemon juice and 2 Tbsps water.  Bring them to a simmer, then strain and cool. The Santa Monica Merchant (our new produce mart in The Market) has fantastic, locally grown Albion strawberries right now.
Wishing you a delicious day, 
Clémence and Hadley 

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