Frippery – such a lovely English word. My dictionary describes it as a showy or unnecessary ornament in architecture or dress, a tawdry or frivolous thing. Well, these cherry and almond truffles are all that and more!
Shop-bought truffles are ridiculously expensive. I absolutely refuse to pay someone else outrageous amounts for doing something I can so easily do myself. At their simplest, truffles are just a sturdy chocolate and cream ganache, shaped into balls and rolled in cocoa, icing sugar, nuts or even coconut.
Because the festive season most definitely justifies it, I decided to go to town with these truffles. The inspiration behind them is those boozy cherry-filled chocolates you find in any halfway decent box of chocolates. I adore them, and wanted to replicate the magic that is cherry and chocolate. So I buried maraschino cherries in rich chocolate ganache that got a splash of kirsch. Then, because cherries and almonds are friends (and more is more), I rolled each truffle ball in toasted almond bits. Finally I enrobed them in melted chocolate. (Enrobed… Such a sexy food word and finally I get to use it!) To serve, I dusted my truffles with edible glitter and gold stars for a bit of Christmas frippery on a plate.
All you need is…
250ml heavy whipping cream (the higher the fat content, the better)
200g 70% cocoa chocolate and 200g milk chocolate, chopped
1-2 tbs cherry kirsch (optional)
20 maraschino cherries
cup of chopped almonds, toasted golden brown in a dry pan (the Almond Sprinkles packet stocked in the baking section at Woolies is perfect for this)
large slab of milk chocolate
edible glitter or gold leaf, for decoration
Pour the cream in a bowl and heat in the microwave until very hot, but do not allow it to come to the boil. Add the 200g dark and 200g milk chocolate to the hot cream and stir until melted. Add the kirsch if using and mix well. Cover and place in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight to firm up.
Drain the maraschino cherries on kitchen towel and leave for at least 30 minutes so the outside of the cherries dry out. Use a tablespoon measure to scoop ganache. Form a little ball, make an indentation and place the cherry in the middle. Push closed and roll to reshape into a ball. If things get a bit sticky-tricky, simply use a bit of cocoa powder on your hands and working surface. Next roll the truffles in the toasted almond bits. Place in the freezer for 20-30 minutes to firm up.
Melt the large slab of chocolate and dip the truffle balls into the melted chocolate. Remove with a fork and allow excess to drip off. Place on a plate lined with cling film or wax paper and keep in the fridge until serving. (Cook’s tip. Using a fork and placing the truffles on a sheet to harden will of course lead to a slightly flat bottom for your truffles. If this bothers you and you want them shop-perfect, there is a way to achieve it. See TIPS, TRICKS & TRIVIA lower down for how.)