Technically a truffle is a soft chocolate and cream mixture otherwise known as ganache. This is a half and half mixture of marzipan and chestnut puree with infused fruits that can be easily rolled into balls and coated with cocoa, icing sugar or almonds.
Option number two is to get out the chocolate and finish them off with a dip in some smooth dark deliciousness.
Southern Europe, Turkey and parts of Asia all consider chestnuts a food staple. The taste is both nutty and sweet with a texture much like a baked potato. Chestnuts, can take the place grains and potatoes in a diet or once dried, be ground into flour.
They ripen late in the year, store well over cold winter months, making them a good and easily available addition to winter solstice and Christmas festivities in some parts of the world. Here in North America, fresh ones are available in specialty stores which can be roasted and pureed at home.
I am working on finishing off my big open tin of canned chestnut puree.
You will need:
3/4 cup chestnut puree, room temperature
3/4 cup marzipan, room temperature
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. finely diced dried cranberries
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. finely diced dried apricots
2 Tbsp. brandy or rum
2 1/2 Tbsp. cacao or cocoa powder
2 1/2 Tbsp. ground almonds
Coating of your choice, powdered sugar, roasted chopped nuts, cocoa, almond flour, cacao
While washing your hands to get started, feel the “nigglies” being moved out as warm water drips off your fingertips. In your minds eyes and heart let go of what is keeping you from being in the present moment. Put on an apron. Think of it as a vestment to separate you from the everyday. Come into your time and place, invite in the compassionate spirits and begin.
Begin by finely chopping the dried cranberries and apricots, adding the alcohol and setting the mixture aside for at least overnight. If you have or prefer, pineapple, cherries or another variety of dried fruit, please feel free to mix up a combination that is appealing to you. If you prefer not to add the alcohol a little juice can be substituted to help soften the dried fruit. Toss a couple of times to keep the moisture moving around.
Combine the chestnut puree and marzipan. Mix to form a smooth, sticky mixture. Add in all the remaining ingredients and mix well. The cocoa and almond flour will help reduce the stickiness a bit as will refrigerating the mixture for at least 30 minutes.
On a plate or in a bowl place the coating you would like to be using. The picture at the bottom shows, cocoa, almond flour and icing sugar as three simple options. Cacao powder and crushed roasted nuts are additional options as is a full roll in melted tempered chocolate.
The quickest way to roll balls is between your freshly washed coldish hands. As your hands and the mixture warm up, it will become sticker.
Simply put the mixture back in the fridge for a few minutes. Re wash your hands and continue rolling. Roll balls, drop them in your coating of choice and with clean fingertips roll until covered. Store in the fridge until ready to serve. This mixture soft and moist and may require a quick rerolling before serving.
If you like the idea of dipping this filling in chocolate, it is best to temper your couverture so the finished chocolates can sit at room temperature. They are the two rows in the middle of the picture to the right. Instructions for tempering chocolate are here.
Untempered couverture will need to stay in the fridge until serving and fingertips will give off enough heat to melt the chocolate.
Confectionary coating works as well, that is the melt and pour option which in many cases contains palm oil.
Note: These are pretty close to being vegan. The issue will be the marzipan. If making from scratch, use an egg white substitute. When purchasing, check the ingredients.