Bitter Chocolate Truffles
Almonds and bread crumbs form a crisp golden shell around truffle balls. Chef Hanner serves them with Vanilla Ice Cream. Vanilla sugar is sugar in which a vanilla bean has been stored; you may substitute by using unflavored sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract. Serve 3 per person on individual plates, or all together on one large platter. You may choose to purchase vanilla ice cream rather than making your own.
- Vanilla Ice Cream
- Milk - 1 cup
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 1 cup
- Vanilla bean - 1 split
- Egg Yolk - 1
- Vanilla Sugar - 1 teaspoon
- Sugar - 1/4 cup
- Bittersweet Chocolate - 10 ounces, chopped
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 1/4 cup ounces
- Unsalted Butter - 5 tablespoons, soft
- Cognac - 1 tablespoon
- Eggs - 2
- Cool Water - 1 tablespoon
- Flour - 1/2 cup, finely ground
- White Bread Crumbs - 1/2 cup, toasted and finely ground
- Almonds - 3/4 cup, sliced, roasted (see Basics) and finely chopped
- Canola oil for deep-frying
- Chocolate Sauce - 1 cup
- White Chocolate Sauce - 1 cup
To make the sorbet: Mix the milk and cream together. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean with the tip of a knife and put both the seeds and the pods into the milk mixture. Whisk in the egg and sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Strain through a fine-meshed sieve into a bowl. Let the mixture cool to room temperature, then freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions. Store in a sealed container in the freezer.
To make the truffles: Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler over barely simmering water. Bring the cream just to a boil in a small saucepan. Pour the cream into the chocolate, whisking constantly, until blended. Add the butter and whisk gently until blended. Stir in the cognac with the whisk. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
When the chocolate mixture (called ganache) is cold and firm, form into balls with a small, 1-1/2-inch to 2-inch ice cream scoop: make two scoops of ganache, smoothing the tops, then press the two half domes together with your hands, smoothing and forming a ball. Form all of the ganache into balls; chill the balls in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
To finish the truffles: Lightly beat the egg and water with a fork to create an egg wash. Put the flour in a shallow bowl. Combine the almonds and bread crumbs and put in another shallow bowl. Roll the chilled ganache balls in the flour to lightly cover. Dip into the egg wash, then roll them in the bread crumb mixture until coated.
Heat the oil to 350 F in a deep fryer or heavy saucepan. Lower the ganache balls into the hot oil and fry just until golden. Lift out with a slotted spoon and drain on a towel.
To serve: Put the chocolate sauces in separate squeeze bottles. Squeeze thin circles of each sauce around the outside edge of each desert plate. Put three truffles on each plate, slicing one open. Serve with a quenelle of vanilla ice cream.