Thursday, December 17, 2009


Those are Raspberry...

I was late getting into truffle production this year. Other, better paying gigs kept popping up. I was all set to start work on Sunday, but got summoned to San Diego to play a "Messiah" gig on an emergency basis by a friend. I simply could not force her to try the "Pastoral Symphony" section of that magnificent work without a harp. Getting paid union scale was a big influence on that too, but, I prefer to think of it in terms of friendship and art.

I put two dozen into the Netroots auction and thought that it might be fun to chronicle the making of them as it happens. That way the folks who bid and won will be able to see what's coming their way.

So, without further digression or ado, here's how it happens.

This is Day One. On Day One I make the ganache, which will be the center of the truffle.

The first task is to assemble the flavorings. I have

That's two pints of fresh raspberries, washed gently and allowed to air dry for as long as it takes them to be completely dry. Water is the enemy of chocolate, so, allow them to sit in a strainer, turning them gently to allow all surfaces to dry completely. Remember to do this for as long as it takes. I washed these on Tuesday night. They are perfectly clean, and perfectly dry.

Then, two cups of finely chopped Crystallized Ginger (for you ambitious types who want to make your own, it's much more flavorful)

Then I got out a bottle of Frangelico. Later I decided to go with some Starbuck's Coffee Liqueur® too. It's more of a coffee flavor than Kahlua. That bottle will make its appearance soon.

Chop up ten bars of Trader Joe's Pound Plus® 72% cocoa mass bars. This is the best value for fine chocolate that I've found. I've tried all kinds. For the money, this is what I use. Any fine, high cocoa mass chocolate will do. You need ten pounds.

A gallon of heavy cream (this is manufacturing cream, which is a 40% butterfat cream, it is the absolute bomb) and a pound and a half of sweet (unsalted) butter.
The butter is chopped into smaller chunks to facilitate the melting. It goes on the stove over a medium flame.

This is watched closely. There are folks who, when they make ganache, boil the cream. I don't. I wait until the butter is completely melted and the cream is at the ragged edge of a boil. The lower temperature makes for a creamier ganache. It's a little harder to handle, but I think that it's well worth it.

The hot cream and butter is dumped over the chopped chocolate and allowed to sit for five minutes.

Gently stir it until dark, smooth, and glossy.

Divide into four plastic wrap lined pans.

Add the flavorings.

For the ganache that's flavored with a liqueur I use 1/3 of a cup. This will make about four dozen truffles. This means someone would have to eat two dozen truffles to get an ounce of liqueur. It's about flavoring, not about alcohol.

Cover the ganache closely with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least overnight.

Now I got to get busy with the white chocolate ganaches. I'll post that when I'm done. Expect delays and stuff with that. I broke down and gave the beautiful April her Christmas present of diamond earrings early. She's parading around the house wearing them, and nothing else...

Bye for now.