This is an unusual combination of sweet flavors with spicy, hot sensations. Traditionally, cuisines from temperate regions of the world, as such as Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa and the Mediterranean have always combined these ingredients. This time we are celebrating these aphrodisiac flavors in the form of truffles. Be sure to allow yourself two days to craft this recipe, as the truffles need to sit overnight in the refrigerator.
Makes 50 truffles
For the spicy, semi-solid ganache:
1 lb ( 16 oz ) semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon Thai Curry Paste for Desserts (recipe follows), or to taste
1-1/2 cups heavy cream
Cocoa powder for dusting (optional)
Toasted coconut flakes (optional)
Place chopped chocolate in food processor and pulse until pea-size. Bring heavy cream to boiling point and mix in the curry paste for desserts. Stir to combine. Remove from heat, cover and infuse no more than 3 hours. Strain through a very fine sieve and re-heat to a boiling point.
Pour the chocolate mix into the tube of a running food processor. Process until mixture becomes smooth. Transfer into a clean bowl and let set overnight, covered, in the refrigerator.
Pipe onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and freeze overnight.
Pre-coat truffles with thin layer of tempered chocolate (see Chef’s Note below) and dust with cocoa powder, or toss in toasted coconut flakes.
[Chef’s Note: Chocolate is tempered when its temperature is between 84° and 88° F (29° and 31° C). One of the easiest ways to achieve this point is to place the chocolate in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time until the chocolate is melted; but be especially careful not to over do it. You may see lumps, but they will be dissolved with the residual heat of the chocolate. To speed this process up, you can use an immersion blender or a whisk. When the chocolate begins to set, scrape the sides of the bowl and mix in. It is very important to have your food thermometer on hand to verify when the mixture reaches ideal temperature.]
Thai curry paste recipe follows.
Thai Curry Paste for Desserts
Makes ½ cup
1 stalk lemongrass, finely sliced (use only the bottom 6” of the stalk)
1 teaspoon lime zest, preferably kaffir lime
1-2 dried Thai bird chiles, seeds removed
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cardamom pods, husked
1-1/4 teaspoons turmeric
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1-1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 tablespoon fresh galangal or ginger root, minced (see Chef’s Note)
1 tablespoon coconut milk (optional)
Toast cumin, coriander, cardamom and cinnamon in a skillet over medium heat for 3-4 minutes. Do not leave unattended, and shake the pan often to prevent burning. Remove from heat, cool.
If making in a mortar and pestle, pound all the ingredients into a smooth paste. If making in a blender or food processor, blend everything into a smooth paste. Transfer to a small container and keep refrigerated or frozen.
[Chef’s Note: This paste will keep for up to two weeks refrigerated and can be frozen in one-teaspoon quantities in an ice cube tray. To grind the ingredients use either a mortar and pestle, a blender, coffee grinder, or spice mill. Remember that the number of chiles is up to you; if you findthe paste too hot, simply reduce the number of chiles used.
Galanga, sometimes called “galangal,” is known as “kah” in Thailand and is used even more widely than fresh ginger. Use whole pieces of dried galangal and reconstitute them by soaking them in water. Powdered “kah” has very little flavor. Fresh ginger can be used as a substitute for kah.]
Recipe and photo by Melissa De Leon Douglass
Originally Posted January 2006