Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Chocolate truffles with fleur de sel

Here, perhaps, is proof that anything can be made in a home kitchen: on Saturday, we produced a (rather large) batch of chocolate truffles. These can hold a candle to the best of Belgian efforts. With a dark chocolate interior, milk chocolate exterior, and topped with Slovenian fleur de sel, these are truly wonderful. And truly easy to make. Our biggest challenge was the heavy humidity which has been stifling Budapest for weeks -- but regular breaks in the refrigerator (and occasionally the freezer) kept the truffles-to-be in good shape.

The next biggest challenge was not eating all 40+ truffles on Saturday evening.

The basic recipe is from Pioneer Woman. The complete recipe, with my (very slight) variations, is here:

What you need:

  • 1 lb. good bittersweet dark chocolate (do use good chocolate -- it is, after all, the basis of the truffle)
  • 1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk*
  • 1 tbsp vanilla (or substitute your favorite liqueur)
  • 10 oz milk chocolate
  • fleur de sel
  • brown sugar crystals

* If you are in Budapest, sweetened condensed milk can be bought at Artosz (Pasareti ter)

What you do:

  • Place the bittersweet chocolate in the top of a double boiler and begin to melt over gently simmering water. While it is melting, pour in the sweetened condensed milk. Stirring constantly, continue melting the chocolate and folding in the condensed milk. The mixture will take on a marshmallow-like texture.
  • Once melted, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Let sit on the counter for ~15 minutes, and then chill in the fridge for 2 hours.
  • In the meantime, prepare for truffle-making! Line two cookie trays with wax paper, place the fleur de sel and brown sugar crystals in small bowls, and gather together a bunch of forks and toothpicks.
  • Remove chocolate mix from fridge and let warm up at room temperature until pliable (~10 minutes). Roll into small balls, and place on a cookie tray. Once all truffles are rolled, place tray in the freezer for 15 minutes to prevent them from getting too soft.
  • Meanwhile, melt the milk chocolate in a small bowl (I used the microwave).
  • To form a truffle, drop a truffle centre into the melted milk chocolate. Using a fork, roll it around until coated. Lift it out with the fork, and let the excess chocolate drip back into the bowl. Use another fork to help this process. Using a toothpick, gently slide the coated truffle onto a fresh wax-paper covered cookie sheet. Sprinkle with a few grains of fleur de sel.
  • Once all truffles are made, store in the fridge. Attempt not to consume all at once.
  • Variations: instead of a milk chocolate coating, you can simply roll the truffle centres in brown sugar crystals.

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