Miss Hope’s Devon Strawberry Truffles

This recipe comes from Miss Hope’s Chocolate Box recipe book.

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It takes as its inspiration that standard summer afternoon tea fare: the great and glorious Westcountry Cream Tea. A little history on the Cream Tea. First mentions of such a meal come from Tavistock Abbey (Devon), where the monks fed labourers with bread lavishly (at least I hope they were lavishly) spread with clotted cream and jam. The clotted cream is important. A true Cream Tea uses clotted cream, and the only sensible way to eat it is by spreading a vast quantity of cream on before a tiny splidge of preferably strawberry jam. Whatever Cornish people may tell you about the jam going on first. That’s just silly: you wouldn’t put the butter on second now, would you? (You can tell my priorities too – at least twice as much cream as jam is necessary!)

I made Cream Tea truffles last summer, carefully turning scones into crumbs in which to roll my white chocolate strawberry truffles. I had several attempts at drying strawberries in the Aga. I’m still not convinced by the crisps of strawberries that came out. I don’t like freeze-dried fruits and it seems almost impossible to find non-freeze-dried strawberries. Or at least it was last year. This year, my local Tesco appears to have come up little trumps.

My recipe was merely: Basic Truffle Mix of cream, butter and chocolate; strawberry chips; scone crumbs.DSCN1785

This recipe is slightly different. Scones are nowhere to be seen, for one thing, and I finally have a need for the strawberry lime vodka that I found at Christmas, for another. I somehow manage to follow the recipe to the letter, for once. It’s a good recipe, written in my kind of cooking style. I “whap” the chocolate and cream in a bowl over simmering water to melt. I pour in spoonfuls of the vodka; I like recipes which calls for tablespoons of cream or liquor. None of this precision measurement that so many use.DSCN1786DSCN1788

I melt and stir and splosh. Once it’s all smooth I set it aside and stick the kettle on. I might as well. I now must wait for it to set.

Then I take a melon baller. I scoop out balls of truffle mix. This one has actually set sufficiently for me to be able to make decent truffles. Because the kitchen’s cold I leave the balls on the side to set further overnight.DSCN1790

By morning, they are solid enough to be able to cope with being dipped in molten white chocolate. Usually I use cocktail sticks for this job, but for some reason, I have none, so I find two forks instead. While the chocolate’s melting, I chop up several of the dried strawberries, to decorate the coated truffles. Somehow I even managed to have just enough white chocolate. I’m never quite sure how much I need to coat truffles, so I guess. Apparently I had a lucky guess today. And, ta-dah! Devon Strawberry Truffles.

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Verdict: The vodka’s quite strong. These aren’t quite Cream Tea truffles, but they are tasty. Make a nice breakfast…

Easter!

Sorry, I’ve been in a sugar-induced daze for the last few days. It’s not that my break from sugar was difficult, but it was limiting. Now I can eat things again without worrying about the ingredients. Well, no more than I used to.

Having ended my fast on Friday with hot cross buns with honey, I made an Easter egg, from 85% cocoa chocolate on Saturday: DSCN1774

Eggs are nice and easy to make. You melt chocolate in a bowl over simmering water (don’t let any steam or water into the chocolate: it’s DSCN1771like a cat – doesn’t like getting wet!) and then paint it onto a mould and let it set. Obviously for a whole egg you need to make two halves, and then glue them together with a little of the left-over chocolate in the pan. Because there’s always some over. Which means you get to lick the bowl out when you’re done 🙂

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Now since I miss the eggs of my childhood which had the extra goodies hidden inside, I was going to make truffles, from a new-to-me recipe, to hide away. Unfortunately, the truffle recipe didn’t set enough to actually turn into truffles, so I just dolloped it in, like a truffle creme egg. And much tastier – I always find creme eggs a tad bit too sickly-sweet.