Cooking, Sweet

Honey-Saffron Truffles

My Valentine’s gift for Sarah was actually sort of a Valentine’s gift for me. I don’t really like white chocolate. But for a long time now, I’ve had it in my head that truffles, filled with honey-saffron white chocolate ganache, with a dark chocolate shell on the outside, would be lovely. Sarah was luke warm on the whole deal. She actually suggested that I find something else to do for her. But I pushed forward anyway. And I was right. And after having one today, Sarah was converted.

So … Here’s how to do it:

10 oz. White chocolate
8 oz. Semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
3 oz. Unsalted butter
1/2 cup Heavy cream
2 tbsp. Honey (I used butter bean honey, but you can use what you like)
12-15 grains of Saffron

Chop the white chocolate, and add it to a bowl with the honey. In a small saucepan, crush and sprinkle the saffron over the cream. Cover and allow to steep for 20 minutes. Then gently heat to a simmer, remove from the heat, and allow to steep for another 20 minutes. Add the butter to the cream and reheat to a simmer, making sure that the butter is completely melted. Then pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer (to remove the saffron) over the white chocolate and the honey. Allow it to sit for five minutes, then stir vigorously until the white chocolate melts and all the ingredients come together. Pour it into a 9″ pie plate (or other similar flat-bottomed dish), cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least three hours to allow the ganache to set.

Once the ganache has set, line a jelly roll pan with parchment. Remove the ganache from the refrigerator, and one tsp. at a time, roll the it between your palms into little spheres. You should be able to make somewhere between 24 and 30. This is messy. Though there are a couple of ways to make it easier: 1) work quickly — the warmer the ganache gets, the harder this will be; 2) wash your hands every two to three balls — the more residual ganache you have on your hands, the harder this will be; and 3) wash your hands in ice cold water — the colder your hands are, the less the ganache will melt, and the less messy it will be.

Once you’ve made your spheres, refrigerate them again. Then melt and temper the dark chocolate. To do this, you chop the chocolate and melt it in a double boiler. Bring the temperature of the chocolate up to 120F. Then take it off the heat and bring the temperature down to 80F. Then put it back on the heat for just a minute, bring the temperature up to 88-90F, and hold it there. Once the chocolate is in temper, I would suggest placing your bowl on top of a heating pad set to medium to keep it at the right temperature. For more info on this process — for a better explanation than I could provide — have a look at this page from Ghirardelli.

With your melted chocolate at the ready, remove the spheres from the refrigerator. One at a time, plop them into the chocolate, then roll them around with a fork to cover them, then use the fork to lift them out of the chocolate, and allow the excess chocolate to drip off of them before returning them to your baking sheet. Allow the coating to set thoroughly — at least an hour — before you transfer them to a storage container and put them back in the refrigerator. If you do this too soon, the coating will shrink and crack from the shock of the cold.

These are yummy but very rich. You might want to prepare to share them with friends and neighbors.