Dark, Rich & Subtle
Experiments in my Test Kitchen
Judging by the speed with which the correct answer to part of yesterday's challenge was left on a comment by Teri, it would appear that I am the only person in the world who had never heard of chocolate-mint. Fatemeh kindly pointed out this unexpected herb to me at the San Francisco Farmer's Market on Saturday imploring "you have to smell this". Crikey! It really does smell exactly like the best chocolate chip ice cream you could imagine. I am not one for making ice cream since I don't have the luxury of a fancy gadget to help me do so, but I didn't let that stop me from trying my hand at some ice cream-inspired Mint-Choc-Chip (with no chip) truffles instead...
1 cup chocolate mint leaves (stems removed)
1/2 cup whipping cream.
5oz 62% Semisweet Chocolate, cut into small pieces with a sharp knife
4 tbsp butter, diced and at room temperature.
2 heaped tsp unsweetened cocoa powder, for rolling.
-Bring a pan of water to a rolling boil.
-Prepare a bath of cold water and ice.
-Blanch the mint leaves for 20 seconds in the boiling water. Immediately transfer them to the ice bath to cool, using a slotted spoon.
-Remove the mint leaves from the ice bath and thoroughly dry them with a paper towel.
-In a small food mixer process the leaves until they are finely minced. (Or mince with a chef's knife or mezza luna if you don't have an electronic processor.)
-Add the cream and process together with the mint until the two ingredients are blended. (Be wary not to go to far at this stage, else your cream might turn to butter, if it starts to thicken, stop processing immediately).
-Transfer the cream/mint mixture to a small pan. Bring to the boil and then take off the heat. Allow to the herbs to seep in the cream for a further ten minutes.
- In the meantime transfer the chocolate to a double saucepan or a glass bowl set over a slowly simmering pan of water.
-Using a sieve, strain the mint cream so that you are left with a smooth, green liquid cream.
-Pour half of the cream liquid over the chocolate, and stir over the heat, until the chocolat and cream are melted and blended together. Repeat with the remaining mint-infused cream.
-Remove from the heat and start to beat in the butter, a few cubes at a time. Repeat and continue until all the butter is blended and the mixture is smooth. If at any point the mixture cools down too much so that the butter won't melt, just pop the bowl back over the pan of water again just until it heats up enough to melt the remainder of the butter.
-Once your ganache is thick, glossy and blended, pop it into the fridge to cool down for 30 minutes.
-Line baking tray with parchement or wax paper.
-Remove ganache from fridge, stir thoroughly and then transfer to a piping bag with a large plain nozzle.
-Pipe little rounds of the ganache into ball shapes on the lined baking sheet. From the photographs above, you will see that I am hopeless at this part of the equation. No worries, really, if they look like turds, because once they are rolled in cocoa, they will be just fine. If you are really worried, just claim that they are meant to be rustic! Chill for two hours.
-Remove the truffles from the fridge and then roll them gently in cocoa powder using a fork, shaking them to remove any excess powder.
-Store in the fridge in an airtight container. Most truffle recipes call for you to bring them up to room temperature before serving. Not these - since they are ice cream-inspired truffles, I think they taste better straight from the fridge.
Fred doesn't like these truffles, I do. I tried a version with some of the mint leaf pulp in the ganache too. Believe me, there is a reason Thomas Keller abuses his chinois so much. The smoother truffle, without the greens, was far superior. It had all the taste of real, fresh mint without the annoyance of little fibrous bitsies on the tongue. No pulp is definitely the way to go!
PS On second try, Fred likes the truffles. I tested them out on the luckiest of my work colleagues and they all declared them to be a hit!
Links, Resources and Further Reading
Bay Area Resources:
Chocolate and Cocoa Powder | via Scharffenburger
Chocolate-Mint | from Heirloom Organics
Cream and Butter | from Straus Dairy
The Ferry Building | Market Place
Saturday Morning | Farmers Market
|Archive Alert! On this day in 2005: Chowhound's Guide, I don't think I have looked in it since!|
|And on this day in 2004: The Case of the Margaux|
Food | Eat Local | Chocolate | San Francisco | Bay Area | Sweet | Ferry Building Chocolate-Mint Truffle