There are so many lovely ways to use fresh herbs in the spring and summer months. Yesterday’s post was a simple chop and mix into salad option. This infused recipe is for the dessert end of the meal or maybe treat time.
Mint can be found growing wild in one form or another on all continents except South & Central America. There are at least 13 varieties, many more if the sub varieties are also included. They are an aromatic, mostly perennial, herb that is known to repel pesky insects while attracting beneficial ones, which can make them good companion planters. They are fast growing (some would even be considered invasive) and will also take over your garden so keep them in check by restraining the plants in bottomless pots sunk into the ground. Mint plants love to live near pools of water, lakes, rivers, and cool moist spots in partial shade.
They became connected in Greek mythology to Hades when Minthe, a river nymph was transformed into a plant as a way to separate her from Hades. In some versions it was Persephone who transforms her out of jealousy. In others the tranforming remains unclaimed.
Mint is associated with money and prosperity, success and, joy, fertility and love as well as purification. Try an infusion of the leaves in water to help ease most headaches, stimulate the appetite and aid in digestion, one of the reasons you might today receive a mint along with the bill at a restaurant.
You will need:
1/3 cup packed fresh mint leaves
1 cup whipping cream
8 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 Tbsp. butter (at room temperature)
“In my kitchen filled with care, I welcome, Earth, Fire, Water, Air” is always a good start to remembering that the kitchen is a wonderful place of transformation and that your attention and intention are important contributions. Under warm water, wash your hands while distractions drop off your fingertips. Thank the plants for their contributions and begin.
As there are so many different varieties of mint, it is advisable to test the available options and choose the one you like best. Snip and gather enough stocks to fill a 1/3 cup measure with leaves. Wash if needed then strip the leaves off the stock and add them to a small pot containing the whipping cream. I also tore some of the leaves in order to release the moisture inside.
Bring to a scald over medium heat, that is just below a simmer. Put the lid on, take off the heat and allow to sit for 15 minutes, longer if you like a stronger favour. Too long can make the mixture bitter.
Additionally the heat is useful in melting the chopped chocolate so don’t let the infusion sit too long.
Pour the heated cream through the sieve to collect all the mint leaves. Set the sieve aside and stir until the heat from the cream melts all the chocolate.
The finer the chocolate is chopped to quicker the mixture will come together. Large sized pieces will become an issue if the cream is too cool. It is also possible to melt the chocolate entirely first and then add the scalded, infused cream. I should also note here that if you prefer milk chocolate, it is fine to substitute but reduce the whipping cream by 2 Tbsp. as milk is a softer chocolate.
Stir until everything is combined. Transfer the truffle mix to a small bowl/container and put it in the fridge until cold and thickened up.
To serve, use 1-2 teaspoons of truffle and roll in cocoa. This can be easily done if you have cocoa already on your hands. As this is untempered chocolate, it is important to work quickly as the heat from your hands will begin the melting process. Serve immediately or keep cool to the fridge. The balls can also be dipped in chocolate but during the summer, when the kitchen is warm, is not the best time to be tempering couverture.
This mixture can also be used between the layers of a cake and can be turned into an icing by the addition of icing sugar.
Mint maybe the first herb that one would think of when infusing truffles but there are other options. Consider your intentions and enjoy the exploration.
Fresh Mint Truffles from My Kitchen Wand