This recipe makes 45-65 truffles, so called because when dusted with cocoa powder they resemble those rare earthy little gems of fungus, and are similarly precious to all lovers of exciting food. ‘Plain’ indicates the nature of the chocolate here, because of course there is nothing ‘plain’ about the truffles.
1. Cover a large, heavy chopping board or a baking tray tightly and completely with clingfilm or waxed paper to place the truffles on to set.
2. Place the chocolate in a large mixing bowl at least 1.75 litres in capacity. In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a rolling boil and immediately pour over the broken chocolate. Blend thoroughly until all the chocolate is melted.
3. Allow the mixture, called a ganache, to cool, uncovered, completely for 1-1½ hours at room temperature until it is set. (You can speed up the process by placing the bowl in a sink filled with cold water – but don’t allow any of the water to come into contact with the ganache.)
4. When the mixture has set, use a teaspoon to spoon out bite-sized pieces. Dust your hands lightly with icing sugar to prevent them sticking and roll the pieces into balls in the palms of your hands.
5. Immediately roll the truffles in sifted cocoa powder, icing sugar or finely chopped nuts and place on the prepared tray to set.
The truffles can be kept, covered in an airtight container in the fridge, for at least a week. Sprinkle them with a little extra cocoa powder from a sieve or tea strainer at the last minute if they need freshening up.
When you become familiar with working with chocolate, you can very gently melt about 175g chocolate and dip the truffles in it before rolling in the cocoa powder or other coating. This helps the coating stick and gives the truffles a contrasting ‘crunch’ as you bite into them. A chocolate coating will also help them to keep longer.
For milk or white chocolate truffles, simply replace the 225g Waitrose Plain Chocolate with 300g Waitrose Organic White Chocolate or Waitrose Organic Milk Chocolate.
30 minutes, plus 2½ hours cooling and setting time
* 225g Waitrose Organic Plain Chocolate, broken into chocolate button-sized pieces
* 175ml double or whipping cream
* Icing sugar,cocoa powder or nuts for rolling
* Icing sugar for dusting
You can vary the truffles by adding numerous other flavourings of your choice:
For alcoholic truffles, add 75ml rum, brandy, Calvados (or any other alcohol you fancy) to the ganache before allowing to cool and set. Generally, the rougher the alcohol the better, as ‘fine’ alcohols tend to get lost in the depth of flavour of the chocolate.