Wine & Food

Snooth User: wineboy19

Can anyone provide an understanding in making memorable truffles?

Posted by wineboy19, Apr 10, 2011.

I broke her heart and her stomach was left without my suggestions. I need to show her through every warm and comforting truffle she adores, there is a foolish but relentless cook that loves her. 

 

-I am a cook; a young man; a repented guy. 

Replies

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Reply by gregt, Apr 10, 2011.

I'm not sure if this is a serious post or not as it doesn't make a lot of sense but on the off chance that it is, here's what you do, assuming you mean chocolate truffles.

Use about a pint of cream for about a pound of chocolate.  Most people say to heat the cream until it's just under boiling and then remove from the heat and add the chocolate. If you chop it first, it melts faster than if it's one big block.  Stir once in a while until it's all mixed together.

A better way is to melt the chocolate over a double boiler and then add the cream, which should be slightly warmed - you can do that in the microwave.  Personally I make the whole thing on the stove, but I've been doing it a while.  The key is not to scorch the chocolate or the cream or  you will ruin the truffles, so you need a very heavy pan and keep taking it off the heat.  Best is a double boiler.  You don't even need to keep the thing boiling once the chocolate is melted.  We used to make it using fifty pounds of chocolate at a time.

Stir it and it will become a nice shiny chocolate soup.  let it cool in the fridge and you can scoop out little pieces - use a melon baller or something like that because the heat from your hands will melt the stuff.  Dump them into some powdered cocoa, coconut, nuts, or whatever you want. 

To vary the recipe, you can use crème fraiche, which makes the ganache a little more interesting.  To make the crème fraiche, take your cream, slightly warm, and add maybe a small spoonful of good plain yogurt or some other cultured milk product.  Don't use something that's got all kinds of starch and gums in it.  Let the cream sit in a warm place for a few hours - it will develop a slightly sour quality that works really well with the chocolate.

Use heavy cream - it's usually sold as whipping cream.  And use good chocolate - don't buy chocolate chips or Nestle's or Hershey's or Godiva or Ghirardelli or Cadbury something crappy like that. The truffles are only as good as the chocolate you use.  Use real chocolate.  Try to find Callebaut or Valrhona or  Scharffen Berger.  You can even use Lindt - it's better than those first ones. In fact, Nestle makes most of the chocolate used by the industry, and they have some good stuff, but you're not likely to find it in a retail shop - you need to get it from someplace that supplies chocolatiers.  Best just to avoid it. 

And even tho you shouldn't use milk chocolate for this recipe, don't be one of those people who says they only like "dark" chocolate and not "milk" chocolate.  I don't think most of those people know what they're talking about. It's the quality of the chocolate that matters, not whether or not it's got some milk powder added. The reason not to use milk chocolate or white chocolate is because they will react differently - they're not going to melt and emulsify the same way and you're screwed.

If you want to, you can add a touch of liquor - Scotch, Grand Marnier, or something good like that.  Don't use wine - it's a horrible match with chocolate.  Add the liquor to the cream, NOT to the chocolate.

And don't forget - it's cooking after all.  You don't need recipes with precise measurements!!!  If you want your truffles to be a little stiffer, throw in a little more chocolate.  You won't go wrong.  If you use too much cream, you may find them too thin to form into balls. 

TIPS - do NOT use corn syrup or nonesense like that.  Just chocolate and cream, with a bit of a flavoring if you want.  Also, do NOT get any water into the chocolate when you're melting it.  One single drop will screw up the batch.

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Reply by dmcker, Apr 10, 2011.

Damn, Greg, you really know your stuff here. ;-)

And I'm one of those who avoids milk chocolate like the plague. Probably because all I've ever had has been from crappy chocolate you might say.--but actually I can take you to the best chocolate shops in any town I've ever lived in, or even visited for any kind of extended stay. It's not just the chocolate for me, but also the balance of sugar (and quality of same). Your corn syrup comment is dittoed.

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Reply by napagirl68, Apr 11, 2011.

Greg.... yowza... what can I say???  You rule.. great recipe... when and where do we meet???  LOL!!  :-):-)

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Reply by gregt, Apr 11, 2011.

Here's the thing - you can whip it too.  It has to be just the right temp and then it seizes up fast, but if you whip it until it's really light, you can spread it. Or if you want a totally different texture in your truffles, you can form those into balls.  They're lightweight and you don't eat as many but you still get the chocolate intensity. 

You can spread the ganache too, but it's better to pour that on your cake. Do a very thin coating first, spread w a spatula, and when it's hardened, pour the final coating. You get a much nicer and smoother coating. 

I still have to figure out how to do white chocolate.  It never really works properly.  But now you guys have me thinking about chocolate and I have a birthday coming up so it's time to make a cake . . .

Way before I had any real interest in wine, I had an interest in chocolate.  So I took my girlfriend, or she took me, to France. We were about 22.  We spent some time in Lyon with her friends and they gave me some tips on chocolate and then we spent a few weeks travelling thru France, Belgium and Germany looking for the best truffle.  We'd go to the little chocolate shops and talk to the people and buy one for each of us.

Also gathered up a whole lot of chocolate to take back.  I ended up in East Germany visiting my grandparents and they gave me a leather carrying case.  I put all the chocolate in that case and carted it back to the US.  A few weeks later I tried one of the chocolates.

Ruined.  The leather flavoring and aromas had completely permeated the chocolate.  Totally unsalvageable.  Much like my relationship with that girl turned out to be a few years later.   But it did teach me that chocolate picks up flavors very quickly.  So you have to be careful where you buy it - if it's from a store where they sell smoked meats and things, you get all that in your chocolate! 

Napagirl - it's overdue.  When D shows up in the states, we need to have a gathering!

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Reply by napagirl68, Apr 12, 2011.

Sounds great, Greg!  But you MUST bring the truffles!  We can munch on them before the wine as not to ruin two good things....

I have made truffles before- usually for holiday parties, but have used only one recipe.  I am no expert, but here is the recipe I used:

Ganache:

8oz scharffenberger semi sweet chocolate (62%), 3/4 cup heavy cream, 1-1/2 Tbs. Frangelico  (I stirred in the Frangelico to choco/cream mix, but only AFTER it had cooled to room temp).

~16oz of the same choco (scharff semi sweet) for dipping.  I also cool and melon ball my ganache, but then I put the balls on parchment in the freezer for 5 MINUTES only.... no longer.  I find they hold up and set better when dipping into the chocolate. That freezer burst allows me to have the chocolate a bit warmer to yield a thinner shell like I prefer.  I temper the dipping chocolate to ensure proper setting as well, as I learned through trial and error....  a candy thermometer is needed for this, and I typically go to ~115 F for semisweet. I have used a fork to dip, but there are professional dipping tools.   Back onto parchment, then you can roll these, when almost set, in roasted, crushed hazelnuts if desired. If the room is cool, and the dipping chocolate tempered, you can leave them out to set, otherwise refrigerate.  The one thing I don't like is the "foot" at the bottom after dipping.  You can trim it, but I'm sure there are tools galore out there to make the perfect truffle. 

I have always used a double boiler for this, and never a problem.

What I want to ask, is what problems are you having with white chocolate?   I want to try that with some Amaretto...  would like to know what issues you have encountered...

 

 

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Reply by Stephen Harvey, Apr 12, 2011.

I thought truffles were mushrooms?

A truffle (pronounced /ˈtrʌfəl/) is the fruiting body of an underground mushroom; spore dispersal is accomplished through fungivores, animals that eat fungi. Almost all truffles are ectomycorrhizal and are therefore usually found in close association with trees.

There are hundreds of species of truffles that are big, but the fruiting body of some (mostly in the genus 'Tuber') are highly prized as a food. The 18th-century French gastronome Brillat-Savarin called these truffles "the diamond of the kitchen". Edible truffles are held in high esteem in French, Spanish, northern Italian and Greek cooking, as well as in international haute cuisine.

The genome sequence of the Périgord black truffle was published in March 2010.

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Reply by dmcker, Apr 12, 2011.

Well at least you're coming from the right direction, Stephen. Most of the insular innocents I encounter only know the chocolate, and not the funghi. Obviously they haven't seen the farmers in France or Italy turn hairtriggered when something threatens their most sensitive dogs.

Greg, sounds great! But no white chocolate, please. Never have learned what that's all about....

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Reply by Stephen Harvey, Apr 12, 2011.

D - its funny what something with two meanings trigger in different individuals.  I guess I am not a chocoholic, but a keen devourer of most funghi so my instinct was to think funghi not chocolate

By the way wiki had three other Truffle definitions

  • The wife of Mung Daal on the cartoon series Chowder
  • Truffles, a minor character in the Peanuts comic strip
  • The loser of the "Vote or Die" competition of Happy Tree Friends
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    Reply by napagirl68, Apr 13, 2011.

    Well, even tho Dmcker is anti white chocolate for truffles, I am still curious as to why GregT has had problems with it... I am assuming the added milk solids/cocoa butter breaking down?  I would think the problem is setting up?  perhaps a rendering may help... I don't know... just guessing.

    I like white chocolate :-)

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    Reply by Stephen Harvey, Apr 13, 2011.

    I like white chocolate too but never tried it with truffles

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    Reply by gregt, Apr 13, 2011.

    Indeed truffles are a kind of fungi but the OP, who appears defunct, talked about some kind of make-up thing so chocolate comes to mind. 

    NG - to avoid the "feet" you can use a screen, which is still not quite perfect, or use a hot knife to smooth out the feet once your truffles are cool.  I like them dipped the way you do them, just didn't mention it because I didn't want to get into the whole idea of conching or tempering the chocolate. However, I guess you don't need to do that if you're dipping them in cocoa powder or something anyhow.

    THe problem w white chocolate is that try as I might, I've never been able to get it to set up properly as a ganache.  I don't really know why.  It's just cocoa butter, sugar, and milk powder and maybe it needs the solids from the cocoa?  I've tried any number of different brands of chocolate and it's always the same result - soup. 

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    Reply by dmcker, Apr 13, 2011.

    Hey, soup's fine with me if that means it never makes its way into the finished product!  ;-)

    Even though I've personally avoided them like the plague I have seen a few white truffles out on chocolatiers shelves, so next time I'm walking by one, and remember, I'll stop in and ask. Perhaps they'll even tell me if I query nicely, though if it's as tough as you say, Greg, maybe it'll fall under the topic of trade secrets...

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    Reply by gregt, Apr 13, 2011.

    A lot of them just cheat!  They add other stuff like butter or worst of all, confectioner's sugar! 

    And if you use a cheap version of the white chocolate it works too but that's because they've got some kind of shortening or other oil that hardens at room temp. 

    I think that you can probably do them properly but need to vary the proportions - you use a lot less cream than you would with the dark chocolate.  In any event, that's what I concluded last time I tried but I haven't gotten around to experimenting recently.

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    Reply by Malka Lev Adom, Apr 25, 2011.

    ...another suggestion, you can freeze the white chocolate centers, then dip them in a milk or dark chocolate coating, sending them to freeze once more, transfering them to the fridge once set. The centers will still be kinda liquid. I tried that, and it worked rather well.


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