Friday, 22 December 2017

Chocolate Rum Truffles

These are perfect for last-minute presents - after all, who could resist a hand-made fresh cream truffle???  This recipe is from a book that is over 30 years old, clearly loved and used many times, judging by the chocolate and sugar residue on almost every page!  Thank you Sainsbury's - your Chocolate Cooking book has brought me much pleasure, and lots of presents for grandparents, parents and friends.

Here, I have made double quantity: the rum ones are silver/icing sugar dusted, and the golden ones are Cointreau with orange.   You can just see a little of the orange zest.   I then wrapped the bottom part of the box in cellophane, before putting on the lid and sealing it with some pretty ribbon.   Make sure you include a note of what is in the chocolates.   

Chocolate Rum Truffles 
Chocolate Rum Truffles

6oz/175g dark or milk chocolate (dark gives a better taste)
2 tablespoons double cream (single will do)
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon rum (or other alcohol, eg Cointreau)
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
Lime zest (optional)
Gold powder or icing sugar with a bit of silver powder

Slowly melt together the chocolate and cream, then add the egg yolk and rum.  Mix this thoroughly, then chill/leave to cool until it is relatively firm.  If you want to be a purist, measure the truffles into 10g amounts before rolling into small balls.  Otherwise do this by eye!

Put the cocoa into a plastic bag or a small bowl.  If using, add a little lime zest.   Shake each truffle until it is evenly coated with the cocoa.   Put it into a small confectioner’s case and give each a little dusting of gold or silver powder.    

This quantity will make about 20.  Try to keep cool or refrigerated before use.   I vary the recipe by using Cointreau with a couple of drops of orange essence.   In the cocoa mix I use tiny pieces of orange zest.    

You could use milk chocolate and chopped nuts, or vermicelli.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Fig and Mascarpone Ice Cream in Chocolate Shells

On holiday in Croatia, I discovered the delights of Trogir's ice cream shops.  There are many, and they are incredible!   My favourites were in what we dubbed "Ice Cream Square", and my ice-cream-loving husband and I set ourselves to the task of testing as many as possible, which was quite a challenge!   I don't know about you, but blue and bubblegum pink ice cream just doesn't appeal, but Fig and Mascarpone ice cream did.   This is my take on it, and my original one was made using figs brought back from Croatia.  I've made it easier by suggesting you get yours from Waitrose, or anywhere that sells the soft dried ones. 

Fig and Mascarpone Ice Cream in Chocolate Shells
Fig and Mascarpone Ice Cream in Chocolate Shells  

8oz/220g soft/dried figs
2oz/50g sugar

3 egg yolks
1 pint/600ml double or single cream and milk mixed (more cream = richer ice cream)
4oz/120g caster sugar
1 tub Mascarpone cheese

First, stew the figs in enough water to cover plus the sugar.   Obviously, the time taken will depend on how dried out they are, but you are aiming for a warm, brown, thickish paste when it is mashed or semi-puréed with a stick blender (it is better to have identifiable pieces rather than a slurry!).   Leave to cool. 

Warm the milk/cream in a pan until blood temperature.  Beat the eggs, sugar and mascarpone together in a bowl, add the milk and cream and then pour it all back into the pan.  Stir it gently until it thickens slightly, then allow it to cool.  Pour into an ice cream maker and churn until thick. 

Just before serving/putting into the chocolate shells, add the fig paste and mix in roughly, so that you get a lovely swirl of colour and the figs don’t entirely disappear.   You might not use all the paste - own judgement needed here!  Makes approx. 1.5 litres. 

Chocolate Shells
I use silicone moulds, 5 large or 6 smaller ones (available online) per tray.   Brush the insides with vegetable oil and spray a little gold powder into each.  Melt 8oz/200g dark chocolate and paint it inside of the shells, not too thick, but thick enough to enable the shells to turn out without cracking.  Allow to cool before filling the shells with the ice cream and returning the mix to the freezer until needed.  

To serve:

Turn the moulds out and admire your handiwork!  The gold powder should shimmer on the glossy chocolate, and, accompanied by a hot chocolate sauce ( it all disappears very, very quickly….