Its that time of year again, a time to enjoy yourself a little more than normal perhaps and therefore definitely a time for making, sharing and most importantly eating really nice chocolates. In fact more specifically, the combination of good quality booze and nice, pure dark chocolate is pretty much one of the nicest, richest and most decadent food combinations (that is best saved for special occasions) that exists. I have tried quite a few combos over the years, usually always good but on this occasion I have to say that these are INCREDIBLE, a real treat and well worth the effort.
Sloe Gin & black cherry chocolate truffles
(makes about 40-45)
For the filling:
100g – pitted weight – tinned black cherries in light syrup – drained & fine chopped
30ml sloe gin
150g good quality dark chocolate
100g coconut butter or margerine
1tsp vanilla extract
3 drops black cherry medicine flower extract (optional but it really is worth using)
For the coating:
a bowl of (preferably tempered) melted chocolate
unsalted pistachios: gently roasted and fine chopped to crumb size – to coat
freeze dried raspberry powder – to dust (optional)
Soak the cherries in the sloe gin for about an hour or so.
Melt the chocolate for the filling in a double boiler but take care not to over heat, then combine all the other filling ingredients thoroughly and pour into a suitable container, lined with greaseproof paper, to set as a slab that is about 1cm deep. Whilst this is setting temper or melt the chocolate for the coating in a double boiler, for ‘dipping’ always make enough to easily dip the fillings you are working with – any excess that is left over just pour into a bowl/container that is lined with greaseproof paper, once this has reset it can be easily removed from the bowl and returned to your cupboards without having to frustratingly ‘prise’ it out of the bowl! Once your centres have solidified then cut into the desired size or shape, this is best done with the filling being still slightly soft or it can snap (if it does don’t worry just start again or use the shapes created!). Now begin dipping by placing 4 or 5 centres into the melted coating and then quickly turning one at a time with a fork to ensure a full coat then lift out of the coating mixture, remove any excess coating (especially on the bottom of the fork) on the side of the bowl and place on a sheet of greaseproof paper. Do about 10 and then sprinkle over some of the pistachio crumbs and dust with a little freeze dried raspberry powder if using. Then complete the process until all the truffle centres are coated with chocolate and dusted with pistachio and raspberry powder.
Leave to set in the fridge and then seal in an airtight container. These will theoretically last about 3 weeks in the fridge or a suitably cool place but realistically might not make it that long!