Chocolate Rum Truffles
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If you look up chocolate truffle on line or in cook books the recipe normally given is for a Ganache based product, which is basically boiled fresh cream and melted chocolate. Whilst obviously a very luxurious and very enjoyable item, because of the fresh cream it has to be kept cool and has a short shelf life.
The recipe given below does not contain any fresh cream and so will have a considerably longer shelf life and therefore is an ideal item for the home baker to make as gifts. It is also a good way to use up cake trimmings/cuttings from previous jobs.
360g (12oz) Cake crumbs
3 Tablespoons Apricot jam.
60g (2oz) Plain Chocolate.
1 Teaspoon Cocoa powder.
1 Tablespoon (at least) Rum.
Grate or chop the chocolate and place in a bowl and stand over gently simmering water. Do not allow the hot water to touch the bottom of the bowl and make sure that no water gets into the chocolate. Stirring gently, the chocolate should soon melt. The chocolate should not be allowed to go above 37C (body temp).
Alternatively the chocolate can be melted in a microwave but great care must be taken to ensure that the temp of 37C is not exceeded..
Mix the cake crumbs and cocoa together.
Add the apricot jam, melted chocolate and rum and mix to a stiff paste.
If using a food processor, place all ingredients into the machine and blend together.
Rum Truffle Decoration.
60g (2oz) dark chocolate
4 Tablespoons chocolate vermicelli (sugar strands)
18 Petit four cases.
Melt the chocolate as for the mixture above.
Divide the mixture into approx 18 pieces . This is is best done by first dividing in half . Then take a small piece of each half and put the two bits to one side. Divide the two large pieces into half, giving you four pieces . Divide each of these into half again giving you 8 pieces and then divide each in half again giving you 16 equal portions .Compare the size of these to the two piece you first took off and adjust by either pinching small amounts from the 16 or from the 2 .This should give you 18 portions.
Take each portion and make into smooth round balls.
Place the vermicelli in to a suitable container such as a cereal bowl.
Set out the 18 paper cases.
Using your hands, Lightly coat a ball in melted chocolate and immediately roll it through the vermicelli before the chocolate sets. The art is to make sure there is sufficient melted chocolate on the ball to enable the vermicelli to stick but not so much that it starts to form clumps on it.
If doing this on your own it is best to use one hand to coat the ball with chocolate and the "clean" hand to roll in the vermicelli. Better still have some one to help you, one to chocolate and the other to roll in the vermicelli. This is a great project for children to help with (but dont blame us for any mess).
Immediately each one is fully coated place into a paper case and before the chocolate has set gently press down with the flat of the hand . This will slightly flatten the base and stop the truffle rolling around.
Store in a cool dry container and they will keep for up to 4 weeks at least. The spirit acts as a preservative.
They can of course be made without any spirit and using rum essence and flavouring instead but they will not be as nice and will certainly not be able to be kept for as long.
These Truffles, appropriately packed make great gifts at any time but especially at Christmas
Truffle Christmas Puds and Yule Logs
A novel variation of these truffles can be made at Christmas in the form of Christmas Puddings and Yule Logs. These are great fun for the children to help make and usually prove to be very popular. They are very easy to make and delightful to eat and they do not cost a fortune.
Start by making the basic Truffle mix above. When mixed, wrap in film or pop into a freezer bag and set aside for at least and 1 hour in a cool place (if the kitchen is very warm use the fridge but do not leave for any longer as it will make it harder to manipulate. The recipe given above is for 18 truffles, because these are going to be finished in a different way they will need to be smaller. We would suggest that you divide into 24 = lumps.
Round the 24 pieces into ball shape, place onto a greaseproof or cling film lined tray and gently press each ball down. This will give the bottom of the ball a slightly flatten base, this will make the product more stable an less likely to roll around. Set aside for at least 1 hour (they can be left overnight if required).
The next stage is to coat each truffle completely with melted chocolate. Unlike the Truffles above these need to be completely covered in a thin layer of chocolate. You will need at least 280g (10oz) dark chocolate. Melt as in the method above taking care not to overheat or let any water get in the chocolate.
Have ready a clean piece of greaseproof or cling film set on the right hand side, to the left hand side you place your tray with the rounded bases and in the middle the bowl of melted chocolate. (if you are left handed it can be the other way round!). This method of coating is known as dipping see thumb-nails below.
Dipping can be carried out by carefully placing the truffle on the ends of your fingers and then emersing it in the melted chocolate, carefully withdraw from the chocolate and allow as much surplus to run back into the melted chocolate, then with great care place the coated piece onto the right hand paper in the top left hand corner, continue to coat all the pieces making sure that each piece is not touching and working in rows left to right. If any appear to be not completely coated ,dip a finger in the melted chocolate and carefully touch the spot that is bare.
An alternative to using your hands is to use a dipping fork, these are quite cheap to buy but it is also very easy to make yourself. These can be made with coat hanger type wire but easier still is to use an old fork, preferably cheap one as they bend easier and bend the prongs at right angles to the body. The unit is placed on these bent prongs and then lowered into the melted chocolate, lift out of the chocolate and allow the surplus to drain before removing to the prepared paper tray .
You can of course ENROBE the chocolate but this requires a lot more melted chocolate in the pot, all the truffles are placed on a small meshed wire tray and the chocolate poured over. The chocolate will coat the truffle and the excess will drain through the wire and can then be used again. For the home baker making small amounts we recommend the dipping process.
The chocolate needs to fully set before handling .
Thumb nails below : Click to enlarge.
Domestic fork with prongs bent to form a dipping tool,
Working from left to right,
Lifting and draining surplus chocolate before placing onto greaseproof paper.
You will now need to make 485g(1lb) of icing sugar into Royal Icing.
95g (3oz) Egg Whites. (3 med eggs)
Note: Take care when separating the eggs, do not allow any yolk whatsoever to get into the whites.
485g (1lb) Icing Sugar (sieved)
(1) Beat (not whisk) together the egg whites and half of the sieved icing sugar and beat thoroughly for at least 6 minutes. As this is a small amount it can be beaten by hand using the back of a large spoon (wooden is best). If using a machine (beater attachment) you may need to increase the recipe by 10% to allow for wastage.
(2) Add half of the remaining icing sugar and carefuly blend together until clear and then beat for another 2 minutes.
(3) Add the remaining icing sugar, blend in carefully and then beat for at least 2 minutes.
(4) Royal Icing must be kept covered with a damp cloth when using and stored in an airtight container in a cool place ( it can be stored in a fridge). It will need re-beating before using.
If Royal Icing is to be used for cake coating and decoration and is required to set hard, a level Tsp of Acetic Acid (lemon juice) can be added, conversely if you require it to set softer, a Tsp of Glycerine For the decoration of these truffle puds it will not be necessary to add either.
Tip: When separating the white from the yolk, it is best to do one egg at a time into a cup and then when you are sure that it is yolk free add to the rest of the whites/bowl.If there is any sign or suspicion that it may contain yolk do not use. This way you are able to avoid a bowl of egg whites being contaminated with yolk as you separate the very last egg and ruining your already separated whites.
Note: Whitworths sell a Royal Icing sugar ( icing sugar and dried egg whites) in 500g pkts, all you need to do is add water and mix, no need to measure and separate egg whites, important to follow instructions on the box.
(1) Lay out the required number of chosen Petits-four cases on to a tray or board, this will enable you to handle them easier and move them around as required. Lay them out in rows and so as to avoid dripping /knocking any all ready completed. As a right handed person I always start in the top left hand corner working along the row L to R
(2) Carefully remove the set, chocolate coated truffles and trim any excess chocolate from the base with scissors. Take care to handle as least as possible to avoid finger prints on the surface. Food standard gloves can be worn but if you hold the truffle between your thumb and fore finger (top and bottom, not sides) any marks will be hidden by the decoration or be on the base.
(3) Using the prepared Royal Icing, take approx half of it and place in a suitable container and cover with cling film and set aside.
(4) To the remaining Royal Icing carefully start to add small amounts of yellow colour, stirring well after each addition- remember the golden rule.... You can always add more but once in you can not take away. If your colour container does not have a drop/drip top, pour a small amount of colour in the lid and then into the icing, it is less likely to accidentally add too much. You are aiming to produce a "custard yellow"- not too bright/vivid but not too anaemic. Cover with cling film or a damp cloth and set aside.
(5) Next prepare the Holly Leaves. Roll out the Green sugar paste/marzipan on a lightly dusted surface, of sieved icing sugar, thinly, approx: 2mm ( 1/16 in) . From this you cut your Holy leaves. There are available leaf cutters ideal for this job but it is possible to create a "leaf" with just a small plain round cutter, if you do not have a cutter you could simply cut them out with a small sharp pointed knife. Set aside and allow to set.
(6) Taking the prepared yellow Royal Icing you now need to "soften: it using a little cold water. ( it may be better to only soften half at a time to ensure you do not spoil all at once, if you do make it too soft you can add more sieved icing sugar. Only add a few drops, if you have used liquid colour it will not require very much, you do not want it to be too soft, just soft enough to "flow slowly". This is the "custard" that is going to be poured over the pud so you need a consistency that will move down the sides rather than run down. It is better to be on the firm side rather than the runny side.
(7) A small amount of the yellow Royal Icing needs to be placed onto the top of each pudding base. The best way to add this icing is by using a pipping bag with a small plain tube, If you do not have a bag or cannot make one from greaseproof , put the icing in a small freezer bag and cut one corner off to form a small hole. It is also possible to just use a Tea spoon. Pipe a bulb on the very top and using the tip of the bag encourage the icing to flow a little down the sides . The aim is to give a natural effect of poured custard. If the consistency of the icing is too soft it will run right down the sides and will expose the chocolate through it.( click thumbnail below)
(8) Pipe all the bases, starting from the top left hand corner and work in order L to R. By the time you have finished piping the first base will already be starting to form a skin , you now need to start placing on the pre formed Holy leaves and gently press into the icing. If you have to leave some time between the piping and placing on of the leaves you may need to attach them with a small amount of the icing.
(9) All that remains now is to create and place on the berries. These can be made from red coloured marzipan/coating paste or, taking some of the remaining white Royal Icing that you had put aside, coloured red and piped on in appropriate sized bulbs.
For the logs, proceed as for the puddings but instead of forming into round balls, carefully roll out into a short log shape approx 50mm (2in) long. (weigh 100g, roll out to 100mm then divide into 4)
Dip these in the melted chocolate ensuring they are completely covered and then placed onto greaseproof paper to start setting.
When nearly dry ,take a clean dry wash brush and "paint" on thinly, additional melted chocolate ,this will give you a "log bark" effect. (thumbnail 1below)
Allow to set/dry completely. Taking some of the yellow Royal Icing coat/spread the ends of the logs.
Place a small amount of melted chocolate into a small bag and pipe a spot of chocolate in the middle of this yellow end and then carefully pipe a thin ring just in from the edge.
Using a cocktail stick or a thin pointed knife draw the melted chocolate from the centre out all around the end, (feathering) this will give you the end of log effect. (thumbnail1 below)
Place into a paper case, taking care not to damage the wet icing.
Using some white royal icing, roughly spread small amounts on the log, this helps to hide the joint between the log ends and the chocolate surface and gives the appearance of snow. (thumbnail 2)
Place on the prepared holly leaves and finish with a red berry . (thumbnail 3)