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After dinner truffles
January 22, 2008
11:31 am
Marcellus
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January 16, 2006
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I’ve been asked by a friend who runs a restaurant to make some after-dinner truffles on a regular basis. About four different types.Can anyone suggest what might be a good “set” to make (say for a table of four) and which to avoid as an after-dinner truffle. E.g. after a three course meal, wine and coffee should I avoid a strong dark ganache – should I avoid a white chocolate ganache- hard or soft – strong or mild flavours or maybe I should restrict to just two different truffles instead of four? I rarely eat chocolate myself after a meal; in fact, I rarely dine out at all so I’m not in a good position to use my own judgement here. The restaurant describes its food as “English Cuisine”.
Any suggestions will be welcome!

January 22, 2008
11:41 pm
Alex Rast
Manchester, United Kingdom
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October 13, 2009
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quote:


Originally posted by Marcellus

I’ve been asked by a friend who runs a restaurant to make some after-dinner truffles on a regular basis. About four different types.Can anyone suggest what might be a good “set” to make (say for a table of four) and which to avoid as an after-dinner truffle.


There’s really no types you should absolutely avoid – truffles are classic after-dinner items virtually no matter what. However, the mainstay should always be the plain dark truffle, just chocolate and cream, no other flavourings involved. That’s the classic that people will be familiar with if they’ve eaten in France.

Once you get beyond that, experimentation is the key. Part of it, though, depends a lot on what kind of position in English cuisine the restaurant has – really avant-garde, simply modern and interesting, classical, or genuinely traditional. In the really avant-garde category, select unusual, exotic flavours that people haven’t necessarily seen before in a truffle, e.g. cardamom, chile, marjoram, or something else like that (and I’ve not even gotten really adventurous here). In the modern and interesting, select flavours that will be familiar to some degree but still excite interest, e.g. lavender, ginger, or anise. In the classical, select basic and well-established flavours such as currant, coffee, or cinnamon. And in the traditional, select flavours that are time-honoured such as mint, caramel, or hazelnut.

Having a white truffle isn’t necessarily a bad idea, but it’s important that guests aren’t trapped into that option (or for that matter, any other) when all the diners are big chocoholics. Otherwise somebody’s going to be disappointed, so that for a table of 4 there needs to be enough selection that no one will feel left with the reject – thus for 4 people I might have 8 total truffles. It’s critical that the coatings (assuming these are the rolled kind rather than the dipped kind) convey what the flavour is. For some, that’s obvious – for instance, for all the spices you can roll them in the spice itself (or it mixed with cocoa, because spices are strong) and for coffee you can roll in finely ground coffee. But for other flavours creativity may be necessary – e.g. mint truffles might be speared with a mint leaf, or caramel might have a thin rolling in demerara.

Later on, if this is successful, you can try more advanced ideas like rotating flavours with the seasons, using combination flavours, pairing truffles against meals had, etc. etc. Good luck!

Alex Rast
Alex_Rast_Alternate@hushmail.com

Alex Rast Alex_Rast_Alternate@hushmail.com
January 23, 2008
5:47 pm
Marcellus
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Alex
Thanks for your reply and suggestions – an interesting range. The plain dark truffle was No 1 on my own list.
I notice you didn’t mention spirit or liqueur flavoured truffles. Is that because you don’t think the combination of alcohol with cream & chocolate is a good mix for a truffle? I’ve made truffles flavoured with whisky, Irish cream, Cointreau and other spirits/liqueurs and I’ve rarely found them giving much alcoholic flavour let alone anything distinctive of the spirit concerned and I’ve often used twice the recommended quantities. That also goes for chocolates I’ve bought. I wonder whether you are of the same opinion.
As I’ve usually made for myself and family I rarely add to the mix by adding invert sugar and I shan’t do so for these. I think there is quite enough sweetness in the chocolate I use (bog standard Callebaut range) as it is. Is invert sugar just used to extend shelf-life or is it supposed to give any textural benefit to the truffle as well?
Many thanks

January 26, 2008
12:34 am
Alex Rast
Manchester, United Kingdom
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quote:


Originally posted by Marcellus

Alex
Thanks for your reply and suggestions – an interesting range. The plain dark truffle was No 1 on my own list.
I notice you didn’t mention spirit or liqueur flavoured truffles. Is that because you don’t think the combination of alcohol with cream & chocolate is a good mix for a truffle?…


Not necessarily, it’s more that I want to avoid giving the perception that liqueur of some sort should or indeed must be added to *every* truffle, or even most of them, something that I notice recipe books frequently tend to imply. Why they often do so isn’t clear but may have something to do with the fact that alcohol does extend shelf life, so that if the books are taking recipes from professionals, and if that group of professionals occupies a market segment for which shelf life is important, they might routinely add alcohol, lending the perception to the recipe-writers that it must necessarily be so.

That being said, it’s also true to say that in many cases adding liqueur doesn’t add much. You have to choose something distinctive in its own right, as opposed e.g. to flavoured liqueurs that take their flavouring from an ingredient you’d be just as well to use directly, (e.g. Frangelico). And it needs to be powerful to come across as such. Remember, though, that spirit-flavoured truffles shouldn’t be “boozy” in the sense of “giving much alcoholic flavour” (unless you have a very specific type of audience) – it should be more about whatever the base flavour is.

Alex Rast
Alex_Rast_Alternate@hushmail.com

Alex Rast Alex_Rast_Alternate@hushmail.com
April 7, 2008
3:21 pm
miss coco
coleraine, United Kingdom
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March 3, 2008
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as a person who needs chocolate to finish any meal (i sometimes even have it as a meal – oops!), i would stick to good plain chocolate truffles.

i think a dark ganache delicately flavoured with rose would be perfect in keeping with an english theme.

personally, even though it is one of my favourite flavours, i would stay away from ginger as it tends to repeat long after it has been eaten, which can be very unpleasant.

peppermint is always a favourite, it has something very cleansing about it and (maybe not in truffle form) helps prevent indigestion.

i like something not too sweet after dinner but if you are going to use white chocolate at all, i would definately put something sharp and citrus with it to balance the sweetness.

an espresso truffle would also work well as there is something about coffee that ends a meal well. or if being served with coffee amaretto would be nice.

ok, i’d better stop rambling now

miss coco