The chocolate truffle is probably one of the most popular and classic of all confections and its origins are steeped in a rich and fascinating history.
The word truffle has several meanings in the world of chocolate because of their different countries of origin.
The origin of the word truffle comes from the Latin term tuber, meaning "lump", which became tufer and eventually the term truffle. originally associated with the edible fungus that grows in southern Europe. Black Truffles (Tuber Melanosporum)
A French invention, the original chocolate truffle was a ball of ganache, chocolate and cream, often flavoured and hand rolled in cocoa powder.
It was named after the prised black truffle because it looks like one when it’s covered in cocoa powder to resemble the soil from the forest floor.
Its origins are unclear; some say it was invented in Paris at the Patisserie Siravdin around 1850, some think it originated in Switzerland, but my favourite story is this one. According to kitchen legend, the chocolate truffle was created in the kitchen of French celebrity chef Georges Auguste Escoffier during the 1920s.
One day, one of his stagiaire (apprentice) was making pastry cream, and accidentally poured hot cream into a bowl of chocolate rather than the bowl of eggs.
Escoffier shouted across the kitchen Ganache which in French is a derogatory term that mean fool or idiot.
He took the bowl and started stir Escoffier noticed he had had started to create an emulsion, bonding the liquid and chocolate together which meant he could use it to make dishes like Pear Belle Helene or pour into a baked pastry case for tart au chocolate or use as a sauce or glaze.
As the chocolate and cream mixture cooled and hardened, he found he could work the chocolate with his hands to form a bumpy, walnut size ball.
After rolling his new creation in cocoa powder, he thought they resembled the expensive truffles from the Périgord region of France and the Piedmont area of Italy. Where they would hunt for with pigs (they now use dogs because the pigs don’t give them back). As the concept developed, different truffle textures were created by cutting into squares or rolling the ganache filled centre in different finishes. icing sugar became popular as did finely chopped nuts, more modern toppings can include chili, popping candy and different spices. Champagne, liqueurs.
Ganache is simple to make, it’s basically just three ingredients: chocolate, softened butter, and hot cream.
To make Ganache, hot double cream is poured over chopped chocolate, and the mixture is stirred until smooth add in the soften butter, but the secret is knowing the ratio of cream to chocolate and what they make. I have three versions here that perform in three different ways but once you know the ratios you can produce lots of different dishes
How to Make a Basic Ganache
Place the chopped 100g chocolate in a medium sized heatproof bowl.
Heat 100ml cream in a small saucepan over medium heat.
Heat to the scorch point.
Immediately pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and allow to stand, without stirring, for a few minutes.
Stir gently (as you do not want to incorporate air into the ganache) with a spatula and stir in 10gm softened butter until smooth.
Place the mix into the fridge to chill for two hours.
Remove from the fridge and scoop out using a teaspoon into walnut shaped pieces.
Dust your hands with cocoa powder and roll in rounds.
Finish by rolling in cocoa powder to represent the soil they were discovered in.
If you would like to try making theses at home as a party activity on zoom or teams click here