Making our own chocolates brings chocolate experience to a whole new level. And this is so because I can mix all flavours I like and control how much is going in and what exactly is going in and I found out that starting the whole process from the beginning is a nicer experience for me than just eat a ready-bought selection of chocolates. Saying that I don't mean I don't like selections of artisan chocolates, on the contrary, some of them are truly inspiring!
Just spending more time with your chocolates, designing them, decide which flavours, textures and colours to mix, preparing the ganache, making the truffles, temper chocolate and coating the truffles - which by the way takes a day or two, creates a bond between me and the chocolates and then I enjoy them more :)
This time I used Green&Black's organic chocolate for the ganache and Valrhona for the coating. What can I say? There is one word to describe chocolate perfection and it is Valrhona.
I am not at all as good as Judith from Mostly about Choc in describing the refined taste of chocolate, so I'm not going to talk about it. But the truth is it's on her blog where I read about Valrhona's fine qualities and rushed to the store to buy some.
Another inspiration I found out completely by chance while looking for Wardour street was the chocolaterie of Paul A. Young. I was amazed by all the totally unexpected varieties of chocolates. It is rare for me to be interested in more than 3 varieties of chocolates when I'm in a chocolate shop but in this small shop in Soho, I would try almost everything!
And on top of that Paul A. Young has published a book to share his amazing findings on how exactly to enjoy chocolate in a new and original ways.
Like for example the non-diary ganache or the water-based ganache - I was happy to find out that double cream is not the only alternative I've got if I want to make a ganache, and to me this sounded like a revolution!
I found out water gives more clear and distinctive taste of everything that is put in the ganache.
I chose to make Honey and Tahini Ganache from Adventures with Chocolates, changing the recipe a bit, and let me tell you, this recipe s genius! I chose the fragrant Greek Thyme honey and to complement the flavours used a few drops of orange blossom water. The earthy taste of the tahini combined with the distinctive smell of the Greek thyme honey was very interesting. All this combined with 72% dark chocolate of Green&Black's - a winner. New, intriguing and unexpected but also earthy and strong.
The the slightly roasted sesame as topping finished the whole truffles perfectly.
For the other truffles I used Amarulla liquor as base for the ganache - a bit too strong probably but still amazingly clear taste. Combined the truffle centre with pine nuts and dried cranberries and then coated in tempered Valrhona chocolate - heavenly!
The rectangular ones are Valrhona cases filled with ganache infused with loose Green peach tea from Whittard. To make the ganache lighter, I used single cream instead of double.
And what coulbe be better than sharing chocolates with friends?
Honey and tahini truffles:
adapted from Adventures with Chocolate by Paul A. Young
(yields around 40 truffles)
100 ml water
3 tbsp fragrant Greek thyme honey
3 tbsp sesame tahini
1 tsp orange blossom water
200 gr 72% dark chocolate
100 gr roasted sesame seeds
In a clean bowl break the chocolate to pieces.
Heat the water and dissolve the honey completely. Add the tahini and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add the orange blossom water. Pour over the chocolate pieces and mix with spatula until the ganache is smooth. Set aside to cool and store in the fridge for at least 2 hours until set.
Roast the sesame seeds and set aside.
Make balls from the ganache and roll in the sesame seeds. Store in airtight container in a cool place.