Friday, November 24, 2006

Truffle Me with Cognac

Intense smooth dark chocolate combined with aromatic cognac and chewy bits of prunes.
Time for SHF#25 and the theme is truffles…the chocolate kind. This time it’s being kindly hosted by Johanna at The Passionate Cook. Great theme choice. Wonderful time of year to make candy. And chocolate is wonderful any time of year in my opinion.

Originally I was going to go with Rum Raisin Truffles because it sounded like a wonderful set of flavors to go with chocolate. But I changed my mind. I was inspired by Dorie Greenspan’s tale of her first dessert chef’s job where she grew bored with baking raisin whiskey cake day after day and decided one day to make it prunes with Armagnac instead. It’s a great story in her new book, Baking: From My Home to Yours.

So these truffles are a combination of silky chocolate ganache flavored with Cognac and tiny bits of Cognac soaked prunes. They are intense and the little bumps of prune add to the rustic truffle…the mushroom…look of the candies. The Cognac sort of blooms in the warmth of your mouth when you savor each bite. It takes a lot for any food to impress the day after Thanksgiving and all of the feasting that goes with it. These truffles meet the challenge. If they last that long, keep them refrigerated. Don’t worry if you don’t like prunes. Once they have bathed in the Cognac for a while, the prunes take on a whole new sophisticated personality.

Cognac Prune Truffles

2/3 cup finely minced dried prune plums – about 4 or 5 – I used Newman’s Own organic prunes because they have a dried texture which allows the prunes to soak up even more of the Cognac
Cognac to cover the prunes – about ¾ cup
14 oz. best quality semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped – I like Scharfen Berger
¾ cup heavy cream
cocoa – Dutch process is best

Put the finely minced prunes in a custard cup or other small bowl. Add Cognac to cover. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate at room temperature at least 24 hours and up to 3 days.
Drain prunes, catching the marinade liquid in a bowl and reserving it.
In a microwave safe bowl stir together the chocolate, heavy cream and 2 tablespoons of the marinade liquid. Microwave 1 minute at half power. Remove from microwave and whisk to mix. Return to microwave and heat another minute at half power. Remove from microwave and whisk again. Continue at one half minute intervals until chocolate ganache is smooth. Stir in drained prunes until well mixed. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.

Put cocoa in a shallow bowl. Using a melon ball tool or teaspoon, scoop walnut sized or smaller rounds (about 1”) of the firm truffle mixture and drop into the cocoa. Roll around in the cocoa to coat, remove with a slotted spoon and tap off excess cocoa. Place on cookie sheet that holds a sheet of waxed paper. Chill truffles until you are ready to eat them. Enjoy.

Another option:
Don’t coat truffles with cocoa. Drop uncoated truffle rounds onto the cookie sheet with the waxed paper on it. Place cookie sheet with truffles in freezer and freeze for one hour.
Place a cup of chocolate chips or chopped semi-sweet chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of butter. Microwave one minute at a time at half power, stirring after each minute, until chocolate is smooth. While chocolate coating is still warm, place one frozen truffle at a time in the chocolate. Remove with a fork, shaking off drops of extra chocolate. Either keep the truffle as chocolate coated as I did, or, while chocolate coating is still warm, drop coated truffle into cocoa and roll as above. Place finished truffle on fresh waxed paper and allow to cool, then chill in refrigerator until you are ready to eat them.

This is a variation of a truffle recipe that I’ve had since 1980.


  1. A Dorie recipe AND they're truffles? You can't possibly go wrong.

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  3. My goodness Elle, truffles with Cognac. That is way above my level of expertise. Seems delicious... I was happy to see your post and wanted to post back! That pizza you asked about was from a local all organic pizza chain here in Portland called Hot Lips, it was Winter Squash and Brie and it was delicious. It had both brie and mozzarella on it I do believe. Blog soon.

  4. Anonymous9:39 AM

    Sounds divine. And i love the presentation. :)

  5. Prunes. Cognac. Truffles. What's not to like? I think prunes have suffered from a lot of bad press but are really rather wonderful, and I imagine even more so when soaked in cognac! Thanks for sharing such a great recipe!