Years ago, I’d gone round to a friend’s house for coffee, and at the kitchen table was some sort of incrediable confection made with chestnuts and chocolate. I don’t remember the details, and infact, nor does she – she can’t remember ever having made it. I’ve never tasted anything similar since, but the memory lingers, and I wanted to try to recreate something of it. Chestnuts, with their natural sweetness and subtle nuttiness, work so well with a bit of rich chocolate. These truffles were inspired by Poppy’s creation found here http://bunnykitchen.com/2013/12/22/from-snowballs-to-chestnut-truffles-to-peanut-butter-fudge-the-final-pieces-of-the-diy-christmas-puzzle/, but I improvised the recipe with what I had in the kitchen. The resulting truffles were rich and melt in the mouth… If anything, perhaps ever so slightly too melt in the mouth… I did keep some texture by coarsely grinding my chestnuts rather than turning them into a paste, but think these chocolates might be improved if they were enrobed in a thick coating of dark chocolate – all the better to contrast with the smooth filling. The other thing I can imagine working would be a teaspoon of ground cinnamon whisked in to the melted chocolate (and perhaps a little alcohol…)
Ingredients (makes about 25 truffles)
About 100g roasted, shelled and peeled chestnuts
1 vanilla pod, or a dash of good quality extract
1 tbsp. caster sugar
About 120g chocolate (I used 50% as that was all I had, but think these would be great with anything darker, too)
1 tbsp. good quality, unsweetened cocoa powder (not necessary if you’re using a darker chocolate), plus extra, for rolling the truffles
Dash of single cream
Place a heatproof bowl over a pan with a little water, making sure the water doesn’t touch the base of the bowl. Bring the water to a simmer, and slowly melt the chocolate and butter together.
In a small saucepan, bring 200ml water, the sugar and vanilla, along with the chestnuts, to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until the liquid is reduced by about half. Remove from the heat, and let cool a little before blitzing to a coarse paste (or to a smooth puree, if you prefer.)
Sift the cocoa powder into the melted chocolate, and add the cream and chestnut paste. Mix well, then transfer to a container. Let the truffle mixture cool at room temperature before transferring to the fridge overnight, or if you’re impatient (like I was) then pop it in the freezer for an hour.
Now for the messy bit: put a couple of tablespoons of cocoa powder onto a small plate. Using a spoon, dig out small amounts of the chilled truffle mix, roll ever so quickly in the palms of your hand, then transfer to the plate and roll swiftly until coated in the cocoa powder. Once you’re all done, I’d recommend chilling the truffles for another hour or so before serving.