I owe the groundwork of this column to Jamie Oliver and his Christmas truffle recipe. After watching him make a simple truffle ganache (the meltingly rich truffle filling) and then lay it out for his friends to roll into their own confections, including crushed nuts and cocoa, I could think of only three things. First, I thought of how perfect this would be for Valentine’s Day – another artificial reason to gorge on chocolate, but this time without the tacky wrapping. Second, my mind went crazy with all of the different flavour combinations. Lastly, I thought of how messy these could get if you ate them in bed. Darn.
Exploring the decadent ways of making truffles
Ganache: Heat 250ml (one small container) of heavy cream (35 per cent fat) on medium heat until steaming slightly, but not bubbling. Meanwhile, chop about 250g of decent chocolate – about seventy per cent cocoa solid, and not chocolate chips or baking chocolate. Put the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl. Before the cream boils, add a tablespoon of butter and a pinch of salt, let it melt, and then add to the chocolate. Stir the chocolate with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, adding the liquor or flavourings of your choice until smooth and shiny. Pour into a bowl and cool in the fridge for at least three hours. When ready to make the truffles, take about one tablespoon of the ganache either with a spoon, or you can roll it into a ball with your hands. Dip and roll in the coatings of your choice and eat straight away. You can also coat them all ahead of time and store in the fridge, taking them out ten minutes before you want to eat them.Liquors (add two tablespoons): dark rum, Grand Marnier, whisky, Bailey’s, Kahlua, Tia Maria, Frangelico, brandy, kirsch, crème de menthe, crème de cacao, red wine.