Sunday, November 2, 2008

Chili/cayenne infused chocolate truffels

2/3 cup heavy cream
12 ounces best-quality dark chocolate, finely chopped or grated
Zest from one orange
One cinnamon stick
1/3 cup best-quality cocoa powder
1 tsp chili pepper
1. Place the chopped chocolate in a large bowl and set aside.

2. Place the orange rind and the cinnamon stick with the cream in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, simmer until the cream just starts to boil. Remove from heat.

3. At this point you need to strain the zest and cinnamon from the cream and pour it over the chocolate. You can either hold a strainer at the lip of the saucepan and pour the cream directly over the chocolate, or if you don’t have a handheld strainer, you can place a colander in a bowl, pour the cream in the colander, and then remove the colander and pour the cream from the bowl into the chocolate.

4. Allow the hot cream and chocolate to stand for a minute, then whisk the mixture steadily but not too vigorously--you want it to be well-combined but without air bubbles. Whisk until the mixture is entirely smooth. This is your ganache.

5. Cover the ganache with cling wrap, placing the cling wrap directly on top of the ganache so that it is not exposed to air. Allow the ganache to set at room temperature for at least 4 hours, and preferably overnight. The ganache should not be refrigerated, because it might harden too rapidly and the texture will be spoiled. An overnight rest is preferable, because it allows the flavors of the orange and cinnamon cream and the chocolate to mingle and fully ripen.

6. When your ganache is firm enough to shape, scoop teaspoonfuls of ganache and place them on a foil-lined baking sheet. Repeat until you have formed as many truffles as you desire. Place the truffles in the refrigerator to harden for at least an hour.

7. Combine the cocoa powder and the cayenne in a shallow bowl or pie tin. Once the truffles are firm, coat your hand in cocoa powder and roll a truffle between your hands to get it round. Roll the truffle in the cocoa-chili mixture and place back on the baking sheet.

8. Once all the truffles are done, they can be stored in a single layer in an airtight container for up to a week. They are best served at room temperature when their flavor and texture is the best. Don’t let them get too warm.

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