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Thursday, 19 April 2012

A Cautionary Tale...

...About Molding Your Truffles

Over the recent Easter Bank Holiday, I decided to make some more truffles, intending to take a stock to my parents' home to share them out. There were a couple of things I did differently this time, though. Some by choice, and some out of necessity and/or pig-headedness.

To take the latter points first, my original recipe calls for runny honey to sweeten the chocolate. Sometime since then, however, I've used my runny honey for other things, didn't restock my cupboards, and so I no longer had sufficient for the mixture as specified, and in any case wanted to increase the honey content to better counter the extreme bitterness of the 100% Javan Cacao chocolate I'd picked up for this batch. I didn't want to resort to sugar, because that would introduce the risk of graininess, should the crystals not dissolve thoroughly. Sure, there's plenty of icing sugar, but I wasn't sure how that would affect the consistency, and I didn't want to be too experimental with this batch. My eyes alighted next on a tin of Lyle's Golden Syrup. Problem solved. On this occasion, I added something more than 100ml.

Other than the different origin of the cacao, the only deliberate change was the use of ice-cube molds to create a batch of neatly shaped and consistent truffles, to go along with my gloriously cock-eyed, hand-molded blobs... and therein, the problems began...

Initially, I was looking for either soft plastic or rubber confectionary molds, and preferably as shallow as possible. Sadly, my local shops had nothing suitable, and I didn't fancy traipsing off to one of the bigger shopping centres because I'd left everything to the last minute (which, facing facts, is the only way to do truffles of this recipe, since it involves raw egg yolk), so I grabbed a set of three ice-cube molds from a local pound shop.

The increased liquid content of the mixture led to a rather runnier final product, which made it all the easier to pour it into the molds, but it had struck me that getting them out again might well be a problem. With a more viscous mixture, oil or cocoa power could have been applied to the mold. As it stood, either would just have been absorbed and become useless.

And, as it turned out, I was right to worry. When I pulled the trays out of the fridge later on, the truffles were very much stuck inside the molds, and the rigidity of the plastic meant that they weren't easily displaced. The obvious next step was to stick them in the freezer, and use the old 'warm water' trick to get them out once they were rather more solid.

Only they didn't become more solid. Something about the truffle mixture resists proper freezing and just stops at the 'properly set' state. Thus, even after leaving the three trays in the freezer for a few days and then running warm water over the backs, the truffles still didn't want to come out.

In the end, I figured I might as well give in and just use a spoon to extract them...
Very much a work in progress. Two trays to go...
Oh my, the hardship...

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