Truffle is a confectionery, which is traditionally prepared with chocolate. Truffles recipes generally have a chocolate ganache in the center, which is coated with either cocoa powder or chocolate itself. Truffle confectioneries are mostly created into conical or spherical shapes. Much often, these desserts also bear a curved shape. At times, the central filling or the ganache of the recipes may be replaced by another filling, which could be cream, caramel, melted chocolate, liqueur or berries. Alternately, the center filling of a truffle could also include toffee, marshmallow, chocolate chips, fudge, mint, assorted sweet fruits, nuts, almonds or nougat. These confections have been popularly named after the truffle mushrooms.
History of Truffles Recipes
The original confection is a French invention, which was a ganache ball. The earliest truffles recipes were basically shaped in balls filled with ganache, cream or chocolate and at times, used to be rolled and flavored in cocoa. Legend has it that this famous pastry was first created in the kitchen of the renowned French pastry chef of the 1920s - Auguste Escoffier and the creation was quite accidental. It is said that one of Escoffier’s stagiares in his attempt to make pastry cream, by mistake mixed hot cream with chocolate chunks instead of mixing it with sugared egg, as a result of which, the a bumpy chocolate ball was created with the paste. This ball was rolled in cocoa powder, which strongly resembled the popular truffle mushrooms and since then, a new set of pastries by the name of truffle was born and widely created, liked and the recipe shared and modified into newer textures with various fillings. In the modern times, especially in America, often the term “truffle” is used for describing any pastry with a chocolate filling.
Ingredients Used and Popular Methods of Preparation of Truffles Recipes
The basic components of truffle are chocolate and heavy cream. For the ganache center, generally bittersweet chocolate, heavy cream, corn syrup, softened butter and liqueur (commonly brandy, rum, cognac, champagne or cointreau) are used. This ganache filling is enrobed in a chocolate coating which is made of bittersweet chocolate and cocoa powder. The traditional way of making this recipe is to mix hot cream with chocolate pieces and corn syrup to a smooth paste, which is then combined with butter and liqueur. This ganache mixture is then set to harden slightly and enrobed in melted chocolate.
Serving and Eating Truffles
Truffle pastries are best enjoyed as rich desserts after a main course meal, as a part of a dinner or lunch.
Popular Truffle Recipe Variations
The modern truffles include coatings which are made of sweet curry, peppercorns and even paprika that can be sealed in couverture. However, all these truffle pastries have one commonality and these are easily identified by their shapes which are either balls or squares and ganache filling. Chocolate truffle is traditionally of three main types – European, Swiss and American.
The recipe of European truffle mainly concentrates on syrup and base that’s created with milk powder, fats, cocoa powder and other such ingredients to bring the base to an oil-in-water consistency. The Swiss truffles are generally made by mixing melted chocolate with hot cream and butter mixture, which is set in a mold and dusted with cocoa powder. These truffle pastries have a very less shelf life and the faster they are consumed after making, the better. The American truffle is usually shaped in the form of half-egg, which is achieved by combining milk chocolates or dark chocolates with butterfat and also, hardened coconut oil in some cases. Harvey truffle is the Canadian version of this American pastry, which also adds to the recipe, peanut butter and graham crackers. There are several American companies, which prefer to shape their truffle in the form of peanut butter cups.
Health and Nutrition Facts of Truffle Pastries
Generally, truffle pastries are considered high fat treats, which are recommended only for occasional indulgence. The caloric value of these desserts vary depending on the various truffles recipes, which can vary from 220 calories to 210 per serving and even more in some cases. However, the dark chocolate truffle pastry is said to be tad healthier than the milk chocolate versions as moderated consumption of dark chocolate can lower the risks of cardiovascular diseases and cholesterol levels. The dark chocolate truffle confections contain at least 60 % cocoa solids and comparatively lesser sugar than the regular chocolate truffle.
The American truffle was created in the mid-1980s by a chocolatier from San Francisco named Joseph Schmidt, who also founded the Joseph Schmidt Confections.