Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Housewife has deadline to meet too!

Eventhough I really don't like to be called a housewife. Because I don't exactly do a lot of house work. And certainly not working and staying at home doesn't make me a "housewife" or "housefly" as one of my friends accidentally blurted out.

But if you must insist on calling me a housewife, then I guess there's nothing I can do to stop you. Just don't say that I am a boring housefly, and nobody gets hurt.

In case you think only people who are working or studying have deadlines to meet, then you are wrong. Housefly like myself have deadlines to meet too. It comes in the form of expiring dates of all kinds of dairy products. Like today. My buttermilk and heavy cream are expiring. My mission is to use up as much as I could, and keep wastage to the minimum.

Because of this, I have been baking frantically for the past two days. So far, I made a lemon cream cake, 1 batch of chocolate ganache for a birthday cake, some truffles and chocolate tarts. Despite of all the stuff that keep streaming out from my oven, I still have to throw away half a cup of heavy cream and one cup of buttermilk. Unless I stop typing now and get up to make a batch of scones, then maybe I can use up the buttermilk. But maybe not. I am too tired now.

Here's just some pictures of the truffles and chocolate tarts I made. It's my first time making truffles, and I believe this will not be the last time. Eventhough it isn't a complicated process, the end products are deeply and sinfully satisfying. I added 2 tablespoons of Caramel Bailey in mine but the flavor was too mild that it went undetectable. Guess I will have to add more next time. With some basic knowledge of truffle making, hopefully I can try some bold flavours in the future.

Actually truffles are nothing more than cream and chocolate. But the way a handmade truffle glides down the throat is unbelievably satisfying. No wonder they are alway associated with exobitant price tags.

The filling of the chocolate tarts used more or less the same ingredient as the truffles. Except that the percentage of chocolate used was different and it's alcohol free. I used the sweet tart dough recipe from the same book, the recipe is here.In fact after making 3 batches of chocolate ganache, I am a bit mixed up on what alterations I have made on different batches. I should have been more organized and recorded down all the alterations in different batches. Maybe next time.....

Truffles/ Chocolate ganache filling for chocolate tarts ( made 3 times in a day!)
adapted from Pierre Herme's Chocolate Desserts

9 ounces (260g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp liquor (rum / bailey etc) optional
3.5 tbsp (50g)unsalted butter, at room temperature,cut into 4 pieces
Dutch processed cocoa powder, for dusting

Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl that can hold all the ingredients. Bring the cream (and liquor if you are using any) to a full boil in a saucepan to a full boil, then pour the hot cream into the center of the chocolate. Working with a spatula, gently stir the cream into the chocolate in ever widening concentric circle until the ganache is homogenous and smooth. Allow the ganache to rest on the counter for about a minute before adding the butter.

Add the butter 2 pieces at a time, stirring gently to blend. When all the butter is blended into the mixture, pour the ganache into a baking pan or bowl. Put the pan in the refrigerator and when the ganache is cool, cover it with plastic wrap and chill for at least 3 hours. (or overnight)

note: you can use the soft ganache at this point to frost cake. Or put it in the fridge for later use. Just leave it out in the counter for it to soften before use.
Because I needed to use up my heavy cream, I made 3 batches, and kept one batch, covered in plastic wrap in the freezer.

When you are ready to shape the truffles, spoon a generous amount of cocoa powder into a bowl, and set out a baking sheet lined with parchment or waxed paper. Remove the truffle mixture from the fridge and scoop up a scant tablespoonful of ganache for each truffle; put the dollops of ganache on the paper-lined pan. dust the palms of your hands with cocoa powder and, one by one, roll the mounds of ganache between your palms to form rounds. As you shape each truffle, drop it into the bowl of cocoa powder or whatever topping you want to use (I used some chopped pistachio).

The truffles can be served as soon as they are coated or they can be stored in the refrigerator for a day or two, cover and away from foods with strong odors.

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