Baked Sunday Mornings: Chocolate Raspberry Truffles

Chocolate tempering has always been a problem for me. But I decided I had to suck it up and give it a try for this week's Baked Sunday Mornings recipe -- truffles. The gentlemen bakers offer three truffle variations in Baked: New Frontiers and I decided to try two of them: milk chocolate-almond and dark chocolate-raspberry.

In theory, these recipes are really simple. You make ganache, chill it until firm, scoop out the ganache to form the truffle centers, freeze them briefly, and coat them in tempered chocolate. I had no trouble making the centers. The milk chocolate-almond version was simply ganache made with milk chocolate and toasted almond-infused cream, with a little almond extract added. The dark chocolate-raspberry version was dark chocolate, cream, raspberry puree (the sieved juice from defrosted frozen raspberries), honey, and a little butter. I put both ganaches in the fridge for 24 hours to firm up.

The next day, I decided to start with the raspberry truffles. I used a #60 scoop (one tablespoon) to form the centers and I got 45 truffles. Since the recipe says it should yield 15 truffles, I have to assume that the suggested serving size is enormous. I stuck the shaped centers in the freezer and then tempered a pound of dark chocolate. I had used Callebaut 70% for the centers and decided to use Callebaut 60% for the coating. I've only tried tempering chocolate a handful of times and have never been successful before. The cookbook provides directions for the seed method, where you add already tempered chocolate to melted chocolate. I melted about 12 ounces of the chocolate in a double boiler until it reached 120 degrees. Then I took it off the heat, added another 4 ounces of tempered chocolate, and stirred and stirred and stirred. While the recipe says to keep stirring vigorously and constantly until the temperature comes down to 80 degrees, it was taking freaking forever and finally my arm got too tired to stir any more. Eventually the temperature came down to 80 degrees and I reheated it over the double boiler to get it back up to about 89 degrees. Then I started dipping.
I didn't use couverture chocolate (I don't keep any on hand) and my tempered chocolate was very thick. As you can see in the photo above, the truffles ended up with a substantial chocolate outer shell and the finish wasn't completely smooth. I rolled a few truffles in red sanding sugar and didn't like the way they looked, so I just left the remaining truffles plain. If I had had some freeze dried raspberries, I would have sprinkled some crumbled raspberry bits on top. I ran low on chocolate partway through the dipping process and had to stop and temper more chocolate -- which was pretty aggravating, given how much more time this required. In the end, I ended up using a total of a pound and a half of chocolate -- but this includes quite a bit of waste that was stuck to the sides of the bowl and smeared all over my hands and arms. After I finally coated all of the raspberry truffles I was so tired of working with chocolate that I just pitched my bowl of ganache for the milk chocolate-almond truffles. I just couldn't bear the thought of spending any more time tempering milk chocolate and coating more truffles.

After the chocolate had time to set, it was the moment of truth. I picked up a truffle, took a bite through the coating, and was met with a strong and audible snap. It was an incredibly satisfying experience to have finally successfully tempered chocolate. The perfectly smooth centers were rich with a lovely raspberry flavor and I thought the small size of the truffles was perfect. My tasters were super impressed with these truffles and raved about them. They loved them so much that it's tempting to make more truffles in the future -- but I think I can resist the temptation.

I remember back when I was in college and law school and subscribed to the now-defunct Chocolatier Magazine, there were always ads in the back of each issue for expensive chocolate tempering machines. I always wondered why someone would pay so much for a single-purpose machine. Now I know. If I had to temper chocolate on any sort of regular basis, it would absolutely be worth it to have a machine handle this task for me. Even though I'm not in a rush to temper chocolate again any time soon, I'm still patting myself on the back for being able to pull it off and make something delicious at least this one time.

Recipe: "Chocolate Raspberry Truffles" from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, recipe available here at Baked Sunday Mornings.

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I’m sure I didn’t temper my chocolate correctly but they were good. Yours look gorgeous and perfect!☺️
Louise said…
These look and sound great. I bet that sometime in the future you will have a moment of weakness and dive into the tempering challenge again.