in the world of confectionary truffles are cherry sized balls of soft chocolate paste. sometimes they are encased in a shell of harder chocolate or dusted in a bittersweet cacao. my date and espresso truffles only partly fit this description as they aren’t crafted from soft chocolate paste. they are made from a paste of dried fruit and nuts (dates and almonds) hydrated in espresso and kahlúa. i rolled the paste into cherry sized balls and then dusted them with an extra fine and dark cocoa courtesy of la maison du chocolat. —mehrunnisa
dried stone dates
espresso (or an equivalent of filter or instant coffee)
a good quality cacao powder for dusting
cut the dried stones dates into smaller pieces. don’t be tempted to skip this part as it will make the later task of processing the dates much harder. place the chopped dates in a lidded saucepan with the espressos and gently heat. you want the dates to plump up with the espresso. leave the dates to cool before you process them to a relatively smooth paste.
place the almonds in a loaf tin and toast in a pre-heated oven at a hundred and eighty degrees celsius for 10 to 15 minutes. stir them once at the midway point. i did use ready ground almonds in the first trial of this recipe and found that they don’t firm the paste in the same way as coarsely ground almonds do. once the almonds are toasted let them cool before blitzing them in a food processor until they are like fine breadcrumbs.
in a bowl combine the date paste, ground almonds and kahlúa. mix the paste until the ingredients are well combined. i know that this isn’t easy but eating the truffles will make this labour worthwhile. refrigerate the paste (preferably overnight). it will still be quite sticky and on the soft side but will be easier to roll into balls once cool.
before you start rolling the paste into balls take a shallow tupperware. place a couple of tablespoons of cacao in it. take cherry sized amounts of the paste and roll into a ball. place the ball in the cacao powder and shake the tupperware gently so that the ball is coated evenly. these will keep in the fridge for at least a fortnight.
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