Today’s entry is unofficially titled, “The Trouble with Truffles.” Groan all you want; I welcome your hatred.
It felt appropriate to do some chocolates for Valentine’s day, and it wasn’t long before I was dead set on them being Picard-themed. Guys, I really love Jean-Luc Picard. For me to explain HOW MUCH I love him, I think you need a photo.
Yep. That’s a life sized Picard cardboard cutout. He hangs out in the office mostly, but it felt appropriate to bring him into the kitchen with me to be my assistant for the day. All he needs is the proper attire.
In order to create a truly spectacular Picard truffle to present to my husband for Valentine’s day, I relied on the help of some lovely Earl Grey tea. As you may know, Earl Grey is already intensely citrus-y thanks to the bergamot orange involved. I figured a lemon curd would complement that quite nicely. The outside shell of the truffles is a dark chocolate, in large part because I found too much sweetness really drowned out the Earl Grey flavor.
Let’s get to it!
Lemon Earl Grey Truffles
Yields 12 large truffles, but it will depend very much on the size and shape of mold you choose.
Earl Grey Ganache
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp (150ml) heavy cream
8 oz (220g) dark chocolate, chopped or in chips
1 tbsp loose leaf Earl Grey tea
1. In a small saucepan, heat the heavy cream to a simmer. Reduce the heat and stir in the Earl Grey tea. Steep for 5-6 minutes, then immediately run the cream through a fine strainer to remove all the tea leaves. Pour the hot cream over your chocolate, allow it to sit for 5 minutes, and then stir until it forms a smooth cream. Allow to cool completely in the fridge. (You will have extra ganache at the end of this. You can use it to pipe on cupcakes, roll it into balls and dredge it in cocoa powder, eat it with a spoon at 2AM when no one can see you… there are lots of options.)
1/3 cup + 4 tsp (100ml) lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
2 egg yolks
4 tbsp (35g) sugar
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tbsp butter
1. Whisk together all your ingredients except the butter. Put them in a saucepan and heat on low heat, stirring constantly. Once the mixture thickens and begins to bubble, cook for an additional minute. Add the butter and stir it until well incorporated. Remove from the heat, transfer to a bowl and cover immediately in saran wrap. Be sure to touch the saran wrap to the surface of the curd. Chill in refrigerator until completely cool.
To make the truffles, you’ll need 8-10 oz. (225-285g) of high-quality tempered dark chocolate (candy melts can work if you don’t want to temper, but keep in mind they will be very sweet). Choose a chocolate on the bitter end; mine was 80%. I chose two kinds of molds… a classic heart shape and a Star Trek mold I was lucky enough to get as a gift from a friend. While the shape was cute, silicone molds don’t tend to produce a shiny finish on chocolates, so I had to paint them later.
Have your tempered chocolate ready. I keep a bowl of very warm (but not anywhere near boiling) water nearby that I set my bowl of chocolate into periodically to make sure it stayed fluid and in temper. If you don’t keep the chocolate warm, it will basically be entirely firmed up by the time your bottom layer of chocolate should be applied. If you let it get hot, however, it will go out of temper.
Fill your tempered chocolate into your molds, tapping them lightly to be sure the chocolate gets into every nook and cranny. Turn the molds upside down and allow the excess chocolate to drip away. Scrape the extra chocolate from the top of your mold with a knife, and then allow the shell to set.
Warm your ganache for 10-20 seconds in the microwave to make it soft enough to pipe. Fill the ganache into a piping bag and snip off the tip. Fill the lemon curd into a bag as well, and snip off the tip to be quite small.
First, pipe a thin layer of lemon curd on the bottom of each of your shells. You want them to be no more than 1/3 filled with the lemon curd. On top of that, pipe your earl grey ganache to just below the top, as shown above. Smooth it out of you need to, just make sure there’s enough space for a nice layer of chocolate to seal everything in.
Spread your remaining tempered chocolate over the tops of your mold, and scrape away the excess to make a clean bottom. Allow the bottom of the shell to set completely, and then unmold your chocolates by turning your mold upside down and either tapping it gently (in case of a hard plastic mold) or gently pushing the bottoms (in case of a flexible silicone mold).
If you like, you can mix some powdered food coloring (I chose gold!) with vodka or everclear and use it to paint your truffles. I also used a paint brush to splatter some gold food coloring on the hearts.
What say you, Picard?
Well, he was pretty silent. Whatever, I thought they were delicious.
Thanks for reading! As a thank you, please enjoy this photo of Eggs Benedict trying to figure out what Sir Stewart is doing in his kitchen.
I hope you all have a fabulous Valentine’s Day! (PS: Eating Chinese food and watching Netflix totally counts as a fabulous Valentine’s Day. I know because it’s how I usually spend mine.)