Sometimes, the things that seem to be the most expensive and rare, turn out to be the simplest and easiest to make at home. Good quality ricotta, pickled and spiced cherries, artisan breads and truffles. Now, when I'm talking about truffles here, I'm not talking about those things that highly trained dogs and pigs unearth in the Perigord region of France, the hills of Tuscany, and the forests of Oregon. No, I'm talking about those chocolaty delights that can easily rock your wallet at 25 bucks for a half dozen.
Good quality truffles no longer have to be a pricey extravagance as I recently discovered. In fact, making delicious truffles is probably one of the easiest things I've ever tried. If you've ever made a simple ganache frosting you're halfway there. All one needs for high class truffles is some good quality bittersweet chocolate, cream, and imagination. Also, a recently discovered secret weapon a digital scale.
I'm known among my friends for going as old school as possible most of the time. I cook in clay, I hand grind spices when I can, and if something can possibly be done the hard way, that's usually the way I choose. For years I've heard people sing the praises of having a kitchen scale. My friends who do molecular gastronomy swear by them. However, I am of the "handful and pinch" tradition. This, I discovered doesn't always work well.
For instance, when Paula Wolfert included on of my recipes in her book Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking just saying a fistful of something didn't fly. I had to be precise. I bought a scale. But not a very good scale as it turned out. I was scale challenged. Then one day I received a 5 lb digital scale from the people at OXO. They also sent me an extra scale to share with someone. Game on. I had to find something to make that needed some precise measurements. It was just the excuse I needed to try my hand at making truffles.
Here's What You Need:
1 cup of organic cream
4 oz of good quality semisweet or bittersweet chocolate. I use either Valrhona or Callebaut
8 green cardamom pods
1 pinch of cardamom
1 cup of good quality unsweetened cocoa powder
Here's What To Do:
Pour 1 cup of cream into a pot.
Crush the cardamom pods.
Remove the seeds and put them into the cream.
Turn up the heat to medium and bring the cream to a boil. When it starts to boil put a lid on the pot, take it off the heat and let the cream steep for 30 minutes so that the cardamom becomes infused in it.
Weigh the chocolate. You need 4 ozs. Then chop the chocolate into pieces. Set it aside.
After the cream has steeped for a half hour, strain the cardamom seeds out of it and put it back into the pot. Reheat it slowly.
Do NOT let it boil.
Meanwhile in a double boiler, melt the chocolate.
When the cream is hot but not boiling, pour the melted chocolate into it.
Take it off the heat, and mix everything together well.
Set it aside.
After it cools a bit, place the mixture in the refrigerator to firm up for a while. Chill it for at least 2 hours, or until you can easily roll teaspoons of it into a ball.
Place a piece of waxed paper on a cookie sheet.
Scoop teaspoons of firmed-up chocolate ganache out of the pot and roll it into balls.
Dip the balls into 1 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder.
Roll the cocoa coated bits into balls
Set the balls down on the waxed paper.
Place the cookie sheet with the fresh truffles into the fridge to chill further.
When they're well chilled, put them into an airtight container until you wish to serve them.
They're damn delicious and this recipe makes about 3 dozen truffles. Of course if you make them larger, you'll have fewer truffles.
When I mentioned that one can use one's imagination in truffle-making, besides making cardamom truffles I made a second batch of Kaffir lime truffles. This involved adding 3 Kaffir lime leaves and the zest of 1 lime to the cream instead of adding cardamom, then straining it out after steeping.
If you'd like to try your hand at truffles, or anything else requiring accurate measuring, the folks at OXO have given me one of these great digital scales to share. They're easy to operate, measure in ozs or kgs and have a pull-out display feature for easy reading. They've totally changed my mind about the whole scale thing.
If you'd like a shot getting this great OXO scale here's what to do.
Leave me a comment about what you'll do with this great digital scale from OXO
For extra chances:
Follow me on Twitter @kathygori
Follow OXO on Twitter @OXO
Like The Colors Of Indian Cooking on Facebook
Let me know in comments if you do any of these things.
The winner will be drawn by Random.org on Saturday May, 5th
Because of shipping issues unfortunately only residents of the USA are eligible for this contest.
I want to thank the people at OXO for giving me the opportunity to try out this great product. Over the years I've purchased a lot of their products , but it's always a trip to discover that something you never thought you needed, could turn out to be a kitchen necessity!
Coming up next meet Jessica Rabbits even sexier cousin, Bunny Brulee! Follow along on Twitter @kathygori