It happens that the class for this week coincides with the theme for this month's Sugar High Friday: chocolate truffles.
My partner and I began by chopping and melting some dark chocolate which we combined with cream to make ganache. Often, a recipe says to boil the cream and then use it to melt the chocolate. Chef said if the quantity of cream is too little, it won't be enough to completely melt it, so he advised us to melt it partially over a double boiler. For the dark chocolate filling, we added a piece of soft unsalted butter as an emulsifier. Chef said to let the chocolate mixture cool a bit, otherwise the butter would separate. For flavourings, we used instant coffee granules and coffee liquor for the mocha truffles, and a bit of vanilla for the plain filling.
When the fillings were cool and started to thicken, we piped them into preformed chocolate shells. These are hollow spheres of chocolate with a hole on the top which we filled using a parchment pastry cone. Teams that used a squeeze bottle finished this job much faster! Next, we tempered both dark and milk chocolates. My new thermometer is much more precise and you can see that I achieved a much better temper this week. We piped a blob of tempered chocolate to plug the hole in the shells. I noticed some of mine weren't completely full of ganache when the chocolate didn't sit in the hole but kept settling into the sphere! Once the plugs were set, we dipped the shells into the tempered chocolate and let them dry on a baking sheet. Chef demonstrated a messy hands-on method: one hand to dip in tempered chocolate, the other to roll in cocoa powder. I used a chocolate dipping fork.
For the white chocolate truffles, we combined melted white chocolate with cream, condensed milk and our choice of flavourings to make a thick ganache, then spread it on a sheet so it would firm up faster in the freezer. When it was set we scraped it into a ball then kneaded it in icing sugar to form a long log which we cut into small pieces. These were dipped in melted white chocolate then finished in icing sugar. There was no need to temper the white chocolate as any streaking would be covered up.
So there you have it: three kinds of handmade truffles made during a four hour class. The ganache centres were quite intense, as my partner was generous with the flavourings. They will keep for 5 to 10 days. Boiling the cream helps to kill any bacteria, but our course notes do say that any air pockets in the truffles will make them spoil rapidly.
My tasters loved all of them, but then again, chocolate truffles are an easy sell!