As a kid, there was nothing I enjoyed more about Halloween than sitting down to my annual viewing of the “Charlie Brown Halloween” special. Linus was my hero for believing so passionately in the Great Pumpkin that he was willing to risk the scorn of his friends, and miss out on all the trick-or-treating fun, to stand vigil in his pumpkin patch, awaiting the Great One’s arrival.
Given that Linus and I were tykes together back in the early 60s, I imagine he is about my age today, and I’m also guessing that like me, he has outgrown his taste for Almond Joy, Milky Way and 100,000 Dollar Bars. That being the case, I thought I’d whip up a more sophisticated treat for the old duffer to enjoy as he sits in his patch this Halloween Eve, waiting for the arrival of the mystical Great Pumpkin.
Dude....if these truffles don’t attract the Great Pumpkin to your side, nothing will! - Oui, Chef
Test Kitchen Notes
These are everything I like in a truffle; rich, full of flavor and decidedly sophisticated in taste. The spice mix provides a fall touch and definitely creates the aura of a pumpkin dish. The ginger really sings. I used some high-end Dutch process cocoa as Oui, Chef recommends and it was well worth the cost for the deep russet color and less biting (almost sweet, actually) flavor. The truffles I completed, though a little less beautiful than Oui, Chef's are still quite lovely looking. I did have to leave them in the refrigerator well more than the 15 minutes though (I'm way too impatient to let them harden at room temperature for a couple of hours!). At 15 minutes they melted in my hands too quickly. I’d recommend leaving them refrigerated longer to harden or perhaps even refrigerating them in smaller batches on quarter sheet pans so that fewer are sitting out at room temperature at one time. I will definitely try these again! - healthierkitchen —The Editors
top quality 70% bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
light corn syrup
pumpkin spice blend* (or more to your taste)
salted butter, softened
dutch process cocoa powder (I use Valrhona)
toasted pecans, finely chopped in a mini-prep
In This Recipe
* In a small bowl make the pumpkin spice blend by sifting together 1 tablespoon cinnamon, 1 tablespoon ginger, 1/2 tablespoon nutmeg, and 1/2 teaspoon allspice. Set aside.
Put chocolate into a large heatproof bowl. Bring the cream, the corn syrup and the 7 teaspoons of the pumpkin spice mix to a light boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat; pour over the chocolate in bowl. Let stand 5 minutes, then gently stir until smooth. Add the softened butter and stir gently until it is fully incorporated. Let stand uncovered to cool, stirring occasionally to keep a skin from forming.
When the ganache has cooled to the consistency of toothpaste, scrape it into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain tip. Pipe 1-inch-diameter mounds spaced 1 inch apart on a parchment paper-covered baking sheet. To pipe the mounds, hold the pastry bag at a slight angle and allow the tip to touch the parchment as you begin to pipe. Once you have formed the mound, stop squeezing and lift the tip straight up, leaving a small tail on the top of each mound, like a hershey’s kiss. You can also use a spoon and drop small mounds of ganache onto the baking sheet. Let the truffles harden at room temperature for a couple of hours (or in the refrigerator for 15 minutes), until they are hard enough to roll with your hands.
Place the cocoa powder, and the chopped pecans in separate bowls.
Roll each cooled ball of ganache between the palms of your hands to form into a sphere and to soften the outside of the ball. Immediately drop them into the “topping” bowl of your choice, and roll them around with a fork or spoon to evenly coat the ganache with either the cocoa or nuts. Move to a parchment covered sheet tray, then to the fridge for about 15 minutes to set. Recover any extra cocoa and minced nuts for future use.
I am a father of five, who recently completed a two year professional hiatus during which I indulged my long held passion for cooking by moving to France to study the culinary arts and immerse myself in all things French. I earned “Le Grande Diplome” from Le Cordon Bleu, studied also at The Ritz Escoffier and Lenotre cooking schools, and completed the course offerings of the Bordeaux L’Ecole du Vin.
About six months ago started "Oui, Chef", which is a food blog that exists as an extension of my efforts to teach my children a few things about cooking, and how our food choices over time effect not only our own health, but that of our local food communities and our planet at large. By sharing some of our cooking experiences through the blog, I hope to inspire other families to start spending more time together in the kitchen, cooking healthy meals as a family, passing on established familial food traditions, and perhaps starting some new ones.