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Alice Medrich is a legend in sweet circles, particularly when it comes to chocolate. In her latest book, Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts, she offers the recipe for the French chocolate truffles that made her instantly famous nearly 40 years ago. Those truffles became the benchmark for fine chocolate in North America and though she no longer owns the San Francisco shop where they were launched, Medrich continues to tinker with her delectable dessert recipes, including those legendary truffles. You'll want to make every recipe in the book, they all sound so fabulous. Start with this one, and you'll know what we mean.
By Alice Medrich
Alice Medrich | Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts | Artisan/Workman, 2012
“I started my career making bite-sized, hand-rolled, cocoa-dusted truffles in Berkeley in the early 1970s. The original recipe, from my French landlady, remains a treasure. I have updated it over the years to meet the challenges of food safety (the original recipe was made with raw egg yolks), new and better chocolates, and our changing taste buds. If you've followed me, you may think you already have this recipe once and for all, but I promise that you don't. Today my house truffles have a touch of salt, a vastly easier method of heating the yolks, and a new, ultrasmooth texture. You cannot buy truffles like these. And if you love the idea of chocolate truffles with red wine, these are the most wine-friendly truffles you will ever find.” – Alice Medrich
Yield: 64 truffles
2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
1 lb. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (no more than 62% cacao), coarsely chopped
10 tbsps. (5 oz.) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/8 tsp. salt, preferably fine sea salt
1/3 cup (1 oz.) unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably natural, or as needed
8-inch square baking pan, lined on the bottom and all sides with foil
Put the egg yolks in a small heatproof bowl, preferably stainless steel, and set the bowl in a large container of very hot water to heat the egg yolks until barely lukewarm. Set aside.
Meanwhile, put the choclate, butter, and salt in a medium heatproof bowl, peferably stainless steel, set it in a wide skillet of barely simmering water and stir frequently until the butter and chocolate are melted and the mixture is smooth and quite warm. (If you have an instant-read thermometer, the temperature should be between 120° and 130°F.) Scrape the mixture into the food processor and set the strainer over the processor bowl.
Bring 1/2 cup water to a boil in a very small saucepan or in a glass measure in the microwave. Remove the egg yolk bowl from the large container and immediately pour the boiling water steadily into the egg yolk, stirring constantly with a silicone spatula. (When the yolks and water are blended, the temperature should be at least 160°F.) Pour the mixture through the strainer into the food processor. Tap the strainer against the bowl to encourage all of the liquid to flow through, but don't press on or mess with any bits of cooked egg in the strainer. Process the mixture for a few seconds, then scrape the bowl and process again for 20 or 30 seconds, or as long as it takes for the mixture to thicken and resemble sanity-smooth chocolate pudding. Scrape the mixture into the lined pan and spread it evenly. Let cool, then cover and refrigerate until firm, at least a few hours.
TO SHAPE THE TRUFFLES Put half of the cocoa in a small bowl. Remove the baking pan from the refrigerator and use the liner to remove the truffle sheet. Invert it on a cutting board and peel off the liner. Cut the truffles into 1-inch squares (or smaller, if you prefer) and toss them in the cocoa powder, adding more cocoa as necessary. You can leave the truffles square or dust your hands with cocoa and roll them into balls. Shake the truffles gently in a coarse strainer to remove excess cocoa. Store the truffles tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to two weeks or in the freezer for up to three months.
Remove the truffles from the refrigerator about 15 minutes before serving. Sift a little extra cocoa over them as necessary.
Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts © 2012 Alice Medrich. Photo © Artisan Press. All rights reserved.