So, since I have plans to give up sugar for Lent – I know, crazy, right? – I must find a way to use up the store of couverture chocolate currently lurking in my kitchen. Now, I’ll willingly admit that I probably eat far more chocolate than can really be good for me, but it’s just so tasty and so much fun to use in creating goodies: truffles, cakes, brownies, filled chocolates.
I’ve always loved chocolate, particularly those wonderful white chocolate bars which you used to be able to buy which contained dried berries. Or the ones which had sprinklings of Smarties throughout. The best cake I’ve ever eaten was made by an old lady my family knew. Sylvia made the most decadent, chocolate fudge covered, sticky, moist, dark Death by Chocolate cake. It was a two or three layer cake; she spread marmalade between the cake and fudge icing, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to learn that there was brandy in the recipe. I have never been able to recreate that cake, but that hasn’t stopped me trying!
I started making truffles some years ago as Christmas presents and somehow never stopped. There is something so wonderful about melting chocolate and mixing cream and flavourings and creating a treat which so few people reject and even fewer dislike.
Now, I’ve never been very good at following recipes exactly, for measurements or the order of doing things, and when I first began making truffles my way of measuring the 2 or 3 tablespoons of brandy/whiskey/whatever required was by opening the bottle and splashing some in. My measurement of the chocolate was just as slapdash: 150g became a bar, which was usually about 200g. Anyway, it didn’t really matter: people ate the truffles which didn’t quite set just as happily as those which did.
So the experiment today comes about because my friend found a really rather delicious ginger jam. I’ve made ginger truffles before (Ninja Ginger White chocolate truffles, so-called because the ginger taste only hit you after you’d eaten it) and dark chocolate ginger creams. I’ve also made ginger and rhubarb chocolates in white and dark. So I know that it works well. The experiment involved using the jam.
I began by coating moulds with dark chocolate. This is the easy bit. All you have to do is melt your chocolate in a glass bowl set over boiled water and, taking a dry, clean brush (I find dainty art brushes useful), paint the sides of the mould with the chocolate. Allow to dry and then go over the thinner patches again. Once this is done, put the mould to one side and work on the filling.
I decided that the best way of using this jam, rather than just dolloping it into the moulds, would be by melting it into a butter and double cream mix. Basically, I poured a sploosh of cream into a saucepan, added a chunk of unsalted butter and a spoon or two of the jam and heated it gently until it was all melted. I was using up the end of a pint of cream that I had in the fridge. When it was all melted, I added a handful of white chocolate drops and about a tablespoon of rhubarb white chocolate drinking powder. All this was stirred together and then dripped into the chocolate ‘cups’ until they were mostly full. These then went into the fridge while I melted a tad more chocolate to seal them. Back to the fridge they go…tum-te-tum…Just as well I can lick out the bowl and saucepan! So tempting to test them now! Especially as the mixture tastes good…
*some hours later* Oooo, goodness! These are quite tasty, if I do say so myself. These probably ought to be kept in a fridge, if they last long enough that is!