Its Easter next week! (English that is, Greek Easter is the week after. I get two this year = 2 x chocolate eggs. Winner). Not quite sure how it’s crept up on me but it’s almost here and there is a lot of cooking to be done. I adore Easter, for Greeks it’s an even bigger celebration than Christmas. Growing up in my Grandparents restaurant meant days, even weeks of cooking (and fasting). Resulting in days of church services, midnight mass, flower garlands and massive feasts. We’d close the restaurant on Easter Sunday and have all the family and all our friends round for an enormous meal. Definitely some of my happiest memories.
Needless to say my Yiayia will have a list as long as her arm of the things we need to cook over the next few weeks, but to kick start the Easter preparations I’m posting a foolproof recipe for heavenly chocolate truffles. Laced with honey, orange blossom and citrus, they are so simple to make and are a gorgeous Easter gift. Make them instead of buying chocolate eggs, or have them at the end of Easter lunch. Or just eat them on a Friday night in with your friends, watching Gogglebox and drinking wine. That’s what happened to these bad boys. Perfection.
ORANGE AND HONEY TRUFFLES
Makes around 35 (or 40 smaller truffles)
- 250ml double cream
- 2 small oranges, or bergamots, if possible
- 200g good quality dark chocolate, at least 70% cocoa solids
- 25 unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into small pieces
- 3 tablespoons Greek honey, or other good quality runny honey
- A good pinch of fine sea salt
- 1 tablespoon orange blossom water
- Good quality cocoa powder, to coat
Pour the double cream into a small non-stick saucepan and finely grate in the zest of the citrus you are using. Give it a stir and then very gently bring up to a simmer; you want the cream to be hot but remove from the heat just before it starts to bubble. Leave the pan to one side for 15 minutes, for the cream to infuse.
Whilst the cream is cooling, chop the chocolate into small pieces and place in a medium sized bowl. Dot in the cubes of butter.
When the cream has had time to infuse, strain through a fine sieve to remove the zest and pour the cream back into the pan. Pop onto a low heat and stir in the honey, salt and orange blossom and heat the cream as before, so that it is steaming hot but doesn’t come to the boil. As soon as it is ready, evenly pour the cream over the chopped chocolate, making sure it is completely submerged and then leave to one side for exactly 1 minute (use a timer to be sure!). As soon as the minute is up gently start to stir the ganache; start in the middle in small circular movements, and then work outwards, incorporating all the chocolate and cream, until you have a smooth and glossy mixture. Leave the ganache to cool, and then pop in the fridge for a few hours to firm up. When it is completely firm, set up a truffle making station. I like to pour around 5 tablespoons of cocoa into a shallow bowl, and use a teaspoon to scoop up my truffle mixture. You often see people using miniature ice cream scoops, but thats just another gadget for my already small kitchen, and a teaspoon works fine! I use a heaped teaspoon of ganache, roll it lightly in my hands, to vaguely resemble a ball, and then roll it in the cocoa. (Make sure you have super clean hands! No one wants garlicky truffles. I’ve done that before). Keep going until you have used up all the ganache – I usually have to wash my hands a few times in between, its gets a little messy. Then pop the truffles in the fridge to firm up for a few hours and serve. Absolutely delicious.