Ganache -- a combination of cream and chocolate that forms the velvety heart of truffles. It can be used to glaze cakes, to coat nuts or be coated with a crisp layer of chocolate.
To make ganache, gently heat cream until it starts to boil and then pour it over chopped chocolate or chocolate buds, all the while constantly stirring until the mixture is smooth and silken.
Let the chocolate/cream mixture cool to room temperature and then cover it and refrigerate it for at least 2 hours. I usually let it set overnight.
I also like to add a little liqueur like Grand Marnier. Some other flavours that go well include coconut essence, a tablespoon of black coffee or try rolling the ganache in desiccated coconut or chopped pistachios or hazelnuts.
Truffles are surprisingly easy to make but be prepared to get your hands dirty. It's a rather messy affair and you're likely to end up with chocolate in your eyebrows.
But don't despair, the mess is worth the result. Just lay down a sheet or two of newspaper and remember this tip -- keep your hands cold.
Ganache is delicate and sensitive to heat. When it comes to rolling time, I always have a bag of ice next to me and in between every second rolling of the truffle balls I simply lay my chocolately hands on the bag and cool them down.
It does wonders for the truffles and makes things less gooey.
Check out these easy step-by-step instructions for making truffles. If you're not using nuts in the centre, then just skip over point 6 and 8.
Grand Marnier Truffles Recipe
225 grams of good quality dark semi-sweet chocolate
150 mils of thickened cream (36% milk fat)
Sifted unsweetened cocoa powder for rolling
2 tsp of Grand Marnier or liqueur (optional)
1/2 cup of unsweetened desiccated coconut
A bag of ice to keep your hands cool
Mini candy papers (optional)
- Roughly chop the chocolate into small pieces. Place in a metal mixing bowl. Set aside.
- Place cream in a small saucepan and gently bring to the boil. Immediately pour the cream over the chocolate and stir with a wooden spoon until thoroughly mixed. Add the liqueur and stir through.
- Let the mixture cool to room temperature and then cover the bowl and refrigerate for 1 1/2 hours. This is the ganache.
- Once set, remove the bowl from the fridge and place it in a larger bowl of iced water to keep cool while you work with it.
- Using a mini scoop or teaspoon, scoop the ganache into a ball.
- Dust your hands with cocoa powder and then drop the scoop of ganache into your palm. Gently roll into a ball.
- Place the ball on a plate of cocoa powder and roll gently to coat it.
- Keep your hands cool by placing them on the bag of ice every so often.
- Repeat the process and then store the truffles in a airtight container in the fridge until serving time.