Thursday, 7 March 2013

Recipe -- Strawberry, Black Pepper and Balsamic Vinegar Truffles

Strawberry Flakes
500 grams strawberries
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
300 grams white chocolate, finely chopped
150 grams dark chocolate (60-70 percent cocoa solids), finely chopped
4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons strawberry puree
1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
500 grams tempered white chocolate

Strawberry Flakes
1- Preheat the oven to 225 F/110 C.  Blitz the strawberries to a puree in a blender until very smooth.  Do not sieve the puree.  Set aside two tablespoons for the truffles.
2- Line two baking trays with silicon baking mats and spread the puree out as thinly and evenly as possible, using an offset palette knife.  
3- Place the trays in the oven and leave the puree to dry and crisp, about 1 1/2 hours.  As the puree dries it will change from light red to a darker shade.  Be careful that it does not brown.  If you observe this happening, lower the temperature slightly.
4- When the puree is done, remove the trays and let cool completely.  Once it is cold it should be very firm and crisp.  Remove from baking sheets and flake.
1- Place the finely chopped white and dark chocolate in a bowl with the balsamic vinegar and reserved strawberry puree.  Heat the cream until it is just about to boil and pour it over the chocolate.  
2- Wait a moment and whisk gently with a hand whisk into a smooth, shiny ganache.  Mix in the cracked black pepper.  
3- Cover the bowl with cling wrap and let is cool completely at room temperature.
4- Lining a baking tray with parchment paper and fit a piping bag with a 1 cm plain nozzle.  When the ganache is cold, whisk it by hand for a moment until it thickens slightly, then transfer quickly to the piping bag and pipe straight lines about 2 cms apart down the length of the baking tray.
5- Place the tray in the fridge to chill for 2 hours, until the ganache is firm to the touch.
6- Spread the strawberry flakes and the teaspoon to cracked black pepper onto a parchment lined tray so it forms and thin, even layer.
7- Take the piped ganache from the fridge and cut using a bread knife into 4 cm sticks.  Warm the knife in a jug of hot water and dry it well before making each cut.
8- Take ten pieces of ganache at a time, keeping the remaining ganache cool and dip them one at time into the tempered white chocolate, using a dipping fork, then drop them on to the tray of strawberry flakes.  Before the chocolate sets, sprinkle a little of the strawberry flakes on top.
9- Repeat the process with all the ganache.  Once the truffles have set, you can lift them off of the tray and store in the fridge in an airtight container.

(The recipe is modified from a truffle recipe by Claire Clark.)

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