Chilli and Lapsang Souchong Truffles
September 19, 2008
I first came across the chilli-meets-chocolate thing when I cooked for a group of Shamans-in-training. Their leader had studied under the same teacher as Carlos Castenada (you know, the cosmic anthropologist and best-selling writer from the sixties and seventies). She made her pupils a potion which, apparently, was drunk by Aztec kings, to increase their potency. Or maybe it was Inca kings. She mixed ginger, garlic, possibly onion, a fat handful of the hottest and tiniest red chillies, coffee and dark chocolate, along with a concoction of secret spices and whispered incantations, to make a brew so inconceivably vile it put hairs on your chest just to look at it.
While I have no wish to repeat that experience, it lodged itself in my memory. I felt sure there must be something in the chilli chocolate thing that I would enjoy. So when I came across this recipe I knew it was a must. After all, it also included Lapsang Souchong . Don’t be put off by its oddness; this recipe makes unbelievably delicious and very adult truffles.
Note: one level teaspoon of cayenne gives a nice little kick. You may want more, if you’re a heat aficionado or a Shaman, but I wouldn’t go much beyond a heaped teaspoon.
Lapsang Chilli Truffles
225ml double cream
225g dark chocolate (I used 75% cocoa)
250g coating chocolate or cake covering
1 level teaspoon ground cayenne
3 tsps or 2 teabags Lapsang Souchong tea
Heat the cream so it’s just beginning to bubble at the sides of the pan, then remove from the cooker and add in the tea. Leave to brew for ten to fifteen minutes.
Strain the mixture (or remove teabags if you were using). Break up the dark chocolate and add it in. Reheat using a heat diffuser (or else very gently). Once the chocolate is melted stir in the cayenne, spoon the mixture into a bowl and chill until set – about an hour.Using a warmed teaspoon and your palms form little balls of the truffle mixture. Chill once again, while you melt the coating chocolate – I did this over my heat diffuser, but officially you should do it in a heat proof bowl over water that is almost – but not quite! – at simmering point. Dip the balls into the melted chocolate. This hardens very quickly, so before it does you can also roll the balls in chocolate flakes, if you want yet more gluttony.