Pink Champagne Truffles

For an after-dinner treat, or a very special gift for a chocolate lover, you can't beat Claire Clark's heavenly truffles
By Claire Clark
Pink Champagne Truffles
  • Rating:
  • Serves: Makes 40-50 truffles
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes plus cooling and setting time
  • Effort: medium

Ingredients

For the truffles

  • 250 g dark chocolate, (70% cocoa solids), finely chopped
  • 200 g milk chocolate, (40% cocoa solids), finely chopped
  • 100 ml double cream
  • 65 g unsalted butter
  • 100 ml pink champagne
  • 4 tsp brandy
  • 500 g icing sugar
  • 10 g red berry powder, (see Cook's note below)

For the tempered dark chocolate

  • 750 g dark chocolate, (70% cocoa solids), finely chopped
  • chocolate thermometer

Tips and Suggestions

If you can't find red berry powder, use a spice grinder to grind some freeze-dried berries. If you don't have a dipping fork, dip the truffles with your hand. Dip them one at a time and keep the truffle at the side of the bowl, rolling it in the chocolate at the top. This helps remove the excess chocolate. Do not immerse the truffle in the middle of the pot where it will be difficult to retrieve.

Method

1. For the tempered dark chocolate: put a little more than two-thirds of the chocolate into a clean metal bowl.

2. Put the bowl over a pan of simmering water, making sure the water doesn't touch the bowl. There should be no steam or water coming up around the sides of the bowl - this could drop into the chocolate, making it 'seize' and become unworkable.

3. Melt the chocolate to the specified temperatures using a chocolate thermometer to test it. Stir continuously with a spatula until the chocolate melts. Do not leave it unattended.

4. When the chocolate is two-thirds melted, remove the bowl from the pan of water and place it on a folded dry kitchen cloth. (This prevents the chocolate from cooling too quickly.) Continue to stir gently.

5. Add a tablespoon of the remaining chopped chocolate and stir until it has melted (this process is called 'seeding'). Keep adding 1 tablespoon of chopped chocolate at a time, as long as it is still melting. When it stops melting, stop adding the remaining chocolate.

6. The pre-crystallising stage has now begun - the crystals are starting to form a stable structure. The chocolate now needs to cool to 27-28C. This should take 10-15 minutes.

7. Once the chocolate is at 27-28C, it is stable and fully tempered, but not at the best temperature for working with, so place the bowl back on the pan of simmering water and bring the temperature up to 31-32C. Do not heat past this temperature: take the bowl off the water every 5 second to test the temperature.

8. Keep the bowl on the dry kitchen cloth while you work with the chocolate, to maintain the temperature.

9. For the truffles: line a tray with baking parchment.

10. Put the chopped dark and milk chocolate in a bowl.

11. Put the cream and butter in a pan and bring to the boil, then pour the mixture over the chopped chocolate. Leave for 30 seconds, then add the champagne and brandy. Mix gently with a fine whisk, whisking only enough to combine the ingredients into a smooth ganache.

12. Pour the mixture on to a plastic tray or into a large, wide bowl. The ganache needs to cool quickly and evenly, so a large surface area is best. Leave it to cool at room temperature until it is firm enough to pipe.

13. Using a piping bag fitted with a 1cm plain nozzle, pipe 2.5cm-diameter blobs onto the prepared tray. Put the truffles in the fridge until they are set firm.

14. Remove the truffles from the fridge and, with your hands dipped and coated in a little of the icing sugar, roll them into even balls. Return them to the fridge to firm up again.

15. Sift the remaining icing sugar on to a tray with the red berry powder.

16. Put the tempered chocolate in a bowl. With a dipping fork, dip the truffles in the tempered chocolate then roll them in the icing sugar mixture. Leave them in the tray of icing sugar until they are set: this will help them retain a good shape.

17. Store in a sealed container in the fridge until ready to serve.

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