This weekend for Mother's Day, we're giving away a free ballotin (small box) of chocolate truffles to moms at my restaurant, . Chef Arie has been making them in advance this week, so we won't run out. This is not the same recipe we use at the restaurant, though, since my chef doesn't like giving out his recipes to the public.
The inspiration actually came from "chocolate sommelier" Roxanne Browning's website, Exotic Chocolate Tasting. Roxanne has done numerous wine and chocolate pairings with several Long Island wineries. I was talking with her about an event that focuses on the terroir of chocolate (see ).
On her website, Roxanne posted a recipe for Champagne truffles, created by her friend, chocolatier Oliver Kita, which calls for Champagne cognac. Although they look like the ones at my restaurant, I personally don't like liqueurs in my chocolate, so I would omit the cognac.
And, I remember, years ago, my Japanese tutor's husband — a French-trained executive chef at a big private club in New York City — said the secret of a good ganache is lots and lots of butter. It makes it shiny, smooth, and creamy. So my recipe has extra butter and no liqueur.
There's a little controversy about the origin of the chocolate truffle. According to Exotic Chocolate Tasting, it was invented in the nineteenth century by Maitre Dufour, a confectioner in Chambery, France. However, my research indicates the truffle was created by the famed Auguste Escoffier during the early twentieth century, after his stagiaire (apprentice) accidentally poured hot cream into a bowl of chocolate chunks. As the chocolate and cream mixture hardened, the resulting chocolate paste was easy to work with into rough-looking balls, named "truffles" because they resembled the famous underground mushrooms of France and Italy.
Truffes de Chocolat (about 1.5 pounds):
- 14 oz. dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa, or unsweetened baking chocolate)
- 8 oz. heavy cream
- 4 tbsp. butter
Break the chocolate into small pieces and put in a large bowl. Bring the cream slowly to a light boil, then pour it over the chocolate, stirring until all the chocolate has melted. Cut the butter into chunks and stir that in as well, until all incorporated.
Refrigerate until slightly hardened, so it is easy to form into balls.
Using a sturdy tablespoon, scoop out enough chocolate to form a small ball, smaller than a golf ball. Shape with the hands as necessary, then place the balls on waxed paper. Put the cocoa powder in a bowl and roll the balls around until they are coated.