Homemade truffles are a wonderful gift. TDon’t be deterred by making caramel, it's very straightforward and the trick is to avoid stirring it as this can make the caramel crystallise. Use good quality chocolate (70% cocoa solids) and cocoa powder, it makes a big difference to the flavour and texture of the truffles.
Adapted from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé by Nourish cook and dietitian, Clare Gray.
Serves approximately 40 truffles
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
200ml double cream
400g dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids), finely chopped
40g butter cut into small cubes
pinch of sea salt
good quality cocoa powder
Line a loaf tin or small bowl with a piece of baking parchment.
Place the cream in a saucepan over a medium heat. Heat to just below boiling so the cream is very warm and then keep warm.
Place the finely chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl.
Next, make the caramel. Place the sugar in a heavy-based saucepan and add a few tablespoons of water to the sugar to dampen it and stir through. Use a pastry brush dipped in a little water to clear the side of the pan of any sugar.
Place over a medium heat and watch closely. Occasionally swirl the pan in a circular motion but don’t stir with a spoon as this can make the caramel crystallise.
When the caramel is a dark amber colour, lower the heat.
Stand back and carefully add the butter, salt and cream. The caramel will bubble and froth vigorously and at this point you can stir the caramel using a wooden spoon until the caramel is smooth and all the ingredients are integrated.
Remove from the heat. Allow the caramel to cool slightly then pour onto the chocolate.
Stir well until the chocolate has completely melted and the caramel and chocolate are mixed together to form a shiny and smooth ganache.
Pour into the loaf tin or bowl and place in the refrigerator.
Once cooled, cover with cling film. The ganache will need to be chilled for at least 4 hours to completely set.
Once the ganache is set, place approximately 50g of the cocoa powder into a bowl.
Line a baking tray with baking parchment.
Use a teaspoon to spoon out pieces of the ganache and place on the tray.
Dust the palms of your hands with cocoa powder and roll the ganache between your palms until it forms a rough spherical shape.
After shaping each truffle, place it in the bowl of cocoa powder, tossing it to ensure it is well coated.
As each truffle is coated, return it to the tray.
Your chocolate and caramel should mix together to form a smooth ganache, however, sometimes a ganache can break and you are left with an oily and wet mixture. If this happens, don’t despair and don’t discard your ganache, it can be saved. Slowly add a tablespoon of milk to the broken mixture, stirring slowly a small area at a time, it should start to emulsify and come back together.
Stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, they will keep well for up to 5 days, although they tend to be eaten long before that.