Today is National Truffle Day, and although these delightful delicate chocolates are part of our chocolate heritage, have you ever wondered where the term comes from?
The actual origin of the word truffle comes from the Latin term “tuber” which means plant with a tuberous root, bump or protuberance. This became the known term for an irregular shaped edible fungus grown in the soil of Southern Europe, Black Truffle, where pigs would be used to hunt for them.
There is no definite answer to who invented truffles as there are several claims to this popular chocolate, but we’re going to talk about one in particular (which is one of our favourites).
The story goes that during the 1920’s, the well known chef Escoffier, came upon his apprentice attempting to make a pastry cream. Whether nerves got the better of the poor young man, we’ll never know; but he accidentally poured hot cream into his bowl of chocolate instead of the sugared egg he was intending to use. Escoffier, enraged by his error, shouted at him: “ganache” – which in French meant “fool”. However, after tasting the chocolate and cream combination he realised it could be useful within his pastries, and the ganache we know and love was born.
After rolling the chocolate ganache balls in cocoa, Escoffier noticed the resemblance to the fungus truffles, and gave the same name to his delicious chocolate version.
MAKES 24-30 // MODERATE
Rhubarb & Strawberry Chocolate Truffles Ingredients:
For the fruit pulp:
- 225g Fresh Strawberries
- 150g Fresh Rhubarb
- 135g Granulated Sugar
For the Truffle Filling:
- 300g Classic White Chocolate
- 85g Whipping Cream
- 85g of the pre-made fruit pulp
For the covering:
- 200g of Rhubarb Milk Chocolate
Rhubarb & Strawberry Chocolate Truffles Method:
- Roughly chop the strawberries and rhubarb and pop into a pan. Stir the sugar into the fruit and leave for about 20 minutes, so the juice starts to extract from the fruit. Bring to the boil (stirring all the time), then reduce the heat and simmer gently with the pan uncovered. You need to stir this every so often until the fruit has reduced to a very thick pulp. The smell throughout the cooking stage is just delicious, with the fruity flavours combining incredibly well, to create a real summery infusion.
- Transfer the pulp into a bowl or dish to allow the fruit mixture to cool completely before proceeding (I popped mine into the fridge to hurry this stage along).
- Finely chop the white chocolate into a bowl and set aside. Now – with the cream, I should be telling you to using a heat proof bowl over a pan of boiling water… but this is something I rarely do (as life always seems a little too hectic & I’m looking for ways to save time); so, into a bowl the cream goes, and then into the microwave, where I heat it with very short bursts of 15 -20 seconds at a time, bringing it to a short boil. As soon as it boils (so keep a close eye), pour it over the finely chopped chocolate and stir until the chocolate is completely melted. Stir in the cooled fruit pulp, cover and chill in the fridge until firm which will take at least 4-6 hours.
- Once the filling has cooled, use a melon baller to form the mix into balls, and place on a piece of greaseproof paper (pop back into the fridge to cool again for a further hour or so). It is amazing how quickly this starts to melt as you work it into the truffle balls, and you need it as firm as possible before dipping.
- Meanwhile, chop the rhubarb chocolate into a bowl, and when ready to start dipping, place the bowl in a microwave and start to melt the chocolate (taking it out of the microwave every 15 to 20 seconds). Stir well to make sure that the heat is distributed evenly throughout, and to keep the chocolate from burning. Keep repeating this until the chocolate has almost entirely melted. Some small pieces of chocolate should still be visible in the bowl. Take the bowl out of the microwave and stir the chocolate well until all the pieces of Chocolate have disappeared. You’ll notice that your chocolate is now smooth and slightly thicker which means it is properly tempered and ready to use.
- Now dip or roll the truffle balls into the melted rhubarb chocolate, knocking off the excess, and place onto greaseproof paper. Allow to set and drizzle over white chocolate as you like for decoration. Enjoy!