When Dom announced that this month’s Random Recipes was to choose something from a book gifted at Christmas last year, I thought oh good. I was thrilled to have received Tea with Bea as a present last year and really haven’t used it much. Now was my chance, I thought. But something was drifting around in the back of my mind, trying to get break through to the surface. With a feeling of doom, the thought finally emerged: I received two books for Christmas last year. The second was the highly regarded Cooking with Chocolate by Frederic Bau from the Ecole du Grand Chocolat Valrhona – eek! Don’t get me wrong, this is a fantastic book and I love poring through its pages whilst having fantasies about reproducing the high art of patisserie found therein. But these are, I should stress, fantasies, not actuality. I mean to say, me? Actually make something from it?
I used a random generator hoping against hope that Tea with Bea would be chosen; after all I did have a 50% chance. But, it was not to be. With heavy heart, I used the random generator once again. Page 378 gave me a concoction so complicated I nearly fainted on the spot. A cake made up of seven, yes seven different recipes: chocolate sponge, ginduja pastry, gold-dusted chocolate shards, chocolate custard, cocoa syrup, chocolate mousse and a chocolate glaze. I could see Christmas would have to be cancelled as I locked myself in the kitchen for the next few days. No, sorry Dom. For the first time in all these months of entering Random Recipes I was going to cheat. I had a tentative look at the recipe on the previous page and then looked again. Yippee, Golden Palets (or truffles to you and me). I was wanting to make chocolates for Christmas and to enter Vanessa’s virtual Lets Make Christmas chocolate event having sadly missed the real live one at the Rococo Chocolate Factory in London, so these would be perfect. Even the thought of tempering chocolate and the three stars donating hardest level recipe, did not put me off. These seemed to be simplicity itself in comparison to the da Vinci Code of cakes.
On 12/12/12 it was my Great Uncle’s 100th birthday. There is a big family get together up in Kent this weekend to celebrate this momentous and unusual event. I wanted to make a particularly good job of these chocolates as some of them are destined for the birthday boy. No pressure then.
Inevitably, I changed the recipe, but like to think I stayed true to the spirit of the golden palets. I flavoured the ganache with rosemary rather than vanilla and upped some of the quantities as I wanted to make a goodly number.
This is how I made rosemary chocolate truffles:
- Placed a large sprig of rosemary from the garden into a pan.
- Poured in 250ml double cream and bought to a simmer.
- Turned the heat off and left it to infuse until cold.
- Removed the rosemary.
- Added 2 tbsp of set Cornish honey and warmed the mixture up again until it was just hot and the honey had melted.
- Gave it a good stir.
- Melted 240g dark chocolate (Green & Black’s Cook’s 72%) in a bowl over hot water.
- Stirred until smooth then removed from the heat.
- Poured one third of the cream into the chocolate and stirred in quick small circles until all incorporated.
- Poured in another third and repeated followed by the final third.
- Added 25g of diced unsalted butter and stirred until smooth.
- Spooned some into 24 chocolate moulds and left to set overnight along with the rest of the mixture.
- Turned out the ganache from the moulds onto a silicone mat and rolled teaspoonfuls of the remaining ganache into 30 balls.
- Melted 340g of dark chocolate (Green & Black’s 72% Cook’s) in a glass bowl over hot water, ensuring it didn’t go over 58C.
- Removed from the heat and let it cool down to 29C
- Placed it back on the heat and raised the temperature to 32C
- Dipped the ganache pieces into the chocolate with a fork and placed on a silicone mat to set. Decorated some with a sugar flower and some with a light dusting of edible gold glitter – 54 in total.
- Hunted around for hours, trying to find suitable boxes to put them in.
- Used the remaining melted chocolate for other items which will feature on the blog in due course.
My tempering didn’t give my the glossy chocolate I was hoping for, but I wasn’t really surprised. Apart from anything else, my kitchen was colder than the fridge, which doesn’t make for happy chocolate. However, after the three hours it took me to temper the chocolate and dip everything, I was determined to be pleased with the results. They certainly tasted fantastic, with the flavour of rosemary coming through nicely, but not too strongly. The texture was beautifully smooth and with a bit of dressing up, they looked fine.
Dom may have a lot to answer for, but Random Recipes spurred me into action and produced a huge number of chocolate gift boxes, so I will forgive him 😉
I was so sorry to have missed the fabulous Lets Make Christmas gift swap with Vanessa Kimbell and Chantel Coady, but am delighted to be able to submit this post to the virtual version and thus play some part in the great chocolate event of the year. Incidentally Vanessa is very excitingly now running a cookery school in Northampton called Juniper & Rose.
With the rosemary playing such an important part in these chocolates, I am also submitting this to Karen’s Herbs on Saturday.