07 August 2015

Wine Truffles

Ever since I posted that recipe for Amaretto Truffles back around Valentine's Day (which are really good), I've been making truffles quite regularly. IMHO, it's one of the most simple sophistications you can have sitting around your kitchen, one that doesn't require much effort at all. Something you can take out of your back pocket like...oh, there's truffles... Eating them requires nary a napkin. Each bite is so strong, you only need a few, and when you announce these ones are made from booze, not cream, you'll get even more interest. I even brought them to a family gathering when I couldn't get it together to make another dessert. Once rolled, they'll last a few good days in a container. The only trick is setting aside the nice size bar of chocolate you'll need, but once you have, you'll be saving the last trickles of the bottle of red aside just so another batch can happen soon.

You'll start like you would any other truffle: dark chocolate, of the 70%-77% cacao variety, gets chopped and set in a bowl. Liquid is heated to just boil and poured over to soften. Now this is where things get different; the mixture doesn't step foot in the fridge. A little butter is then melted in the same pot and added and then the whole thing is stirred. It sits out and cools off, between stirs for up to an hour. You'll have to babysit it for a bit at room temperature, giving it stirs, but once it's scoopable, you'll roll your truffles into a little cocoa, store them and call it a day.

A note on the wine: Any red works here, and it doesn't have to be just opened! Use wine that has been opened already. While I don't recommend using deliberately staled and forgotten wine, something that you neglected for a few days will work just fine. I happened to recently visit a meadery in New Jersey and just as we were tasting the sweet honey wine, I knew I had to try some of it in these wine truffles, so I bought a bottle of the berry flavored mead (called Berry Chic) and swapped in some for the usual red wine. I didn't go all mead, because I think that could be too strong, but the hint of berry tang the mead delivered here was a welcome dimension. Feel free to use all red wine, or try some mead if you can get your hands on it--both ways are great.

Wine Truffles
Inspired from Pastry Affair

30 ml/ 2 Tbsp red wine
30 ml/ 2 Tbsp Mead** (or use all red wine--I do both)
pinch sea salt
drop vanilla or almond extract (optional)
15 grams/ ~1 Tbsp butter
4 oz dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces
~2 Tbsp cocoa powder for dusting

Method: Place chocolate in a bowl. Heat wine and mead in a saucepan until just giving off boiling bubbles. Immediately pour over chocolate and let sit a minute. Swirl butter into same pan to just melt, heating again if necessary, then pour into chocolate bowl. Add pinch of salt and drop extract if using, and stir until completely smooth. Set aside in a cool place in the room and stir every 5-10 minutes. The process of tempering will depend upon how hot it is in the room. Allow for an hour. Once it's thickened and resists a spoon slightly when stirred, it's good to roll. Spread cocoa into a bowl, scoop balls and shake around in the bowl of cocoa. Tap off excess and set on a piece of parchment to set for a few minutes. Store airtight in a dark cool place (if it is very hot they keep in the fridge-bring to room temp to serve)

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