Monday, 13 December 2010

Dipped in Chocolate...

After making my own fruit mince this year, I had so much candied peel left over I wasn't quite sure what to do with it all. I am always looking for delicious gift ideas for Christmas and thought chocolate coated Candied peel were just the thing. The smell of the peel is just heavenly and it also makes the perfect ending to a any Christmas feast.

So I melted 150g Cooking chocolate, cut the candied peel into strips and dip them in, drying them on parchment paper. So now all I need to do is wrap them beautifully, perhaps even in a bowl or on a plate made by Fliff and give as gifts to friends and family.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Prune and Pedro Ximenez Truffles

I love Christmas cooking, the kitchen filling with the most wonderful fragrances of rich sweet spice mixes and chocolate. Last week the smell of delicious fruit mince filled the room, this week it is the rich smell of these decadent Prune and Pedro Ximenez Truffles.

The best gifts of all are those that tell as story, and even better if they're handmade. For gifts this year these are perfect, especially presented in a bowl, such as our own Wobbly Bowls, then wrapped in cellophane - something delicious to enjoy now, and something to keep and treasure.

I first discovered Pedro Ximenez at Fino restaurant in Charlotte Street about 5 years ago. I loved it so much I bought a case, and I'm still drinking my way through it. It is totally delicious, like liquid Christmas. So what better way to use up all the excess than transforming it into these delicious Christmas truffles.

For the Truffles:

10 Prunes, soaked in 3 Tablespoons Pedro Ximenez overnight (or if you can't find Pedro Ximinez delicious Armagnac will do the job nicely)
500 g Good Quality Dark Chocolate (I use Green and Blacks 72% Cooking Chocolate)
1 Cup Cream
Cocoa for dusting

First, blend the prunes and Pedro Ximenez in a food processor and set aside. Then warm a heat proof bowl in the oven until warm to the touch. Take out and break the chocolate into small cubes and place in the bowl. Heat the cream up in a saucepan until just boiling (do not boil though, the truffle mixture will split). Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and stir to combine. If there are still great lumps of chocolate, heat gently over a bane Marie, but for the shortest time possible and no more than 2 minutes. Stir in the prune and Pedro Ximenez mix then leave the mixture out for approx 6 hours or overnight.

Roll about a teaspoon of mixture into a ball then pop into a bowl of cocoa and coat. Place truffles on a tray and pop them in the fridge to set. Truffles are best eaten within 3 days of making.