It’s Chocolate Week! A whole week dedicated to all things chocolate so I could not let this wonderful experience with master chocolatier Paul A Young slip by without sharing his words of wisdom and recipe for simple Chocolate Truffles.
First a quick bio..
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Paul, here’s a quick bio. He was so matter of fact and modest talking us through this which makes him even more likeable! He studied hotel catering and management at Durham and Leeds University, and then went off to work in restaurant kitchens. He was Head Pastry Chef for Marco Pierre White for a while. You’d think he’d stop there or go on and open his own restaurant but he wanted to go and explore the commercial world and worked at Marks and Spencer around the same time that sushi was becoming popular and funnily enough when my hubby was supplying their Japanese ingredients. Am sure their paths must have crossed but anyway….. He left there and began to specialise in chocolate working at various food and chocolate festivals and building up connections with other chocolatiers. He opened his first shop in 2006 and has been creating unusual, delicious and inspiring chocolates ever since.
Perfectly tempered chocolate
Paul started with a huge bowl of melted chocolate which he then poured on to the lovely marble work surface. It was really mesmerising to watch as he tempered the wonderfully smooth chocolate. He spread it out and scooped it up to basically cool it down to a very precise temperature of 31C.
I’m not going to go into the ins and outs of tempering – instead see very fabulous Guardian article you can read all about this below.
Once the chocolate was ready he scooped it back into the various bowls we would use to make our truffles and shared two key tips for a successful ganache filling.
- Buy great quality chocolate. Even supermarkets are now stocking ‘proper chocolate’.
- Ganache is usually made with hot cream poured over chocolate but you can use hot water to make the flavour of the chocolate more intense or even champagne, red wine, port etc or heated fruit juice. The basic measure is two parts chocolate to one part liquid.
Time to roll truffles
Paul showed us how to roll the chocolates into the familiar truffle ball shape. He used his fingertips only for this rather than the palms of his hands. They were left for a minute or two and then dunked into the tempered chocolate and completely covered. It’s important that the whole surface is covered in the tempered chocolate so no air can get in and they last longer. Then they were rolled in good quality cocoa powder. Again buy the best cocoa powder you can afford. The final stage was to plop them into a lovely Paul A. Young bag for a professional finish.
So simple and I can tell you that they tasted absolutely fabulous! The chocolate coating before the cocoa powder dusting gave a little needed crunch which broke through the rich ganache filling.
Paul’s Textbook Truffles Recipe
I’m going to be making these for Christmas presents this year and would gladly welcome a few boxes in return. I have some homemade Blackberry Vodka which is just about ready.
Paul’s ganache recipe is simply 250g dark chocolate, 250g double cream and 100g light muscavado sugar. Just heat the sugar and cream together and bring to the boil. Simmer for a minute and then turn the heat off. Do not pour it over the chocolate at this stage or the cocoa butter in the chocolate will separate and your ganache will split. Leave it to rest of a minute and then pour over mixing til smooth and glossy. Cool it at room temperature and then pop it in the fridge for a couple of hours to set completely. The mixture is enough for 50 truffles. You can find this recipe in his book Adventures with Chocolate.
Paul has a few shops in London (Soho, Islington and Bank) now so if you are popping to the capital, you should definitely stop in. I was in Soho the other day and met the lovely @JamesDaisy who recommended this Tom Yum Truffle.
Paul also has a pop up shop until the 31st October at The Folly in Gracechurch Street. He’ll be running tastings and masterclasses there so keep an eye on his Twitter feed @paul_a_young or events page.
Thank you to Paul and his lovely PR ladies for inviting me and for the wonderful truffles I got to take away