Yes I know, I know, Christmas is not here just yet... but... I am starting to feel it's spirit in the kitchen already! And with this approaching feeling of pine trees and festive tables comes the traditional mood of making chocolate truffles, which of course is a staple item to share and enjoy anytime between Christmas and New Years (and any other time of the year too actually). But anyway, my point is that I particularly enjoy making truffles most towards the end of the year, and this time I made jasmine & chocolate truffles. This flavour combination came up after having seen it at famous Belgian chocolatier Pierre Marcolini who includes jasmine & chocolate ganaches amongst his many other incredibly tempting flavours. And by lovely coincidence, I happened to come accross a bottle of jasmine essence while exploring some Asian food shops the other day (because finding jasmine flowers this time of the year and in this geographic part of the world is quite mission impossible). I must say however, that the essence I used was VERY very very strong, that a drop or two is enough to flavour and add a wonderful scent. Really, a drop too much and you can say goodbye to your truffles. You know how I know? Because during a first small batch trial, I did a jasmine overdose and although the kitchen smelt lovely, but taste wise it was too overpowering. So the key here is tasting with each drop you add- literally. The jasmine should complement the chocolate in a discreet and elegant manner. Finally, I rolled half of the truffles in cocoa, and the remaining half in coconut...but I personally felt that the coconut made a better combination with the jasmine. In my opinion, it just added more exoticism without masking the base flavours.
So I sense that this is just the beginning of my seasonal truffle experimentation, and I will certainly be exploring other combinations in the coming weeks & months. One thing I love about truffles is that there is so much versatility to it's core recipe, and even better, everyone loves truffles (I have personally never met anyone who has said "no" to a truffle before!). Before you scroll down to the recipe, I would just like to say that my recipe does not include butter, although many truffle recipes do. The reason I excluded butter was for health reasons and also that it tastes just as good without it!
Recipe for jasmine & chocolate truffles:
350gr dark chocolate, broken into pieces
170gr creme fraiche
300gr dark chocolate for coating, 70%, melted in a bain-marie
100gr bitter cocoa or coconut
Boil the creme fraiche and add a drop of jasmine essence (you will have to control the quantity of essence to add by tasting). Pour the hot creme fraiche onto the dark chocolate pieces. Leave it to melt for about 5 mins. Then stir to obtain a shiny ganache with a consistent texture. Place in fridge for 2 hours. Form balls with the cooled ganache mixture, and pass twice into the melted dark chocolate (the one melted in a bain marie). Place balls in fridge for about 30 mins, then roll in cocoa or/and coconut.