RARE FIND: Phyne Dyning’s “just desserts”…chocolate truffle

In Recipies on January 28, 2013 at 2:35 pm

It’s not that I dislike desserts. It’s just that I usually find myself wanting a larger portion of a savory entrée than I find myself wanting something sweet with which to finish off my meal. I also prefer to spend more kitchen time on mains, sides, and appetizers than on a dessert offering. NOTE: My proof-reading eyes are exhausted because my auto spell-check substituted ‘desert’ for dessert’ and ‘dessert’ for ‘desert’ on its own whim. I know the difference. But, my eyes are struggling with finding all of the incorrect substitutions. Thanks, Mr. Spell-Check.

Mrs. Phyne Dyner vigorously disagrees with my culinary preference and I occasionally oblige her preferences by occasionally abandoning fruit and cheese as closing features to special meals.

A recent case in point was my preparation of rich, chocolate truffle to finish off a hearty meal of roast beef.

It was a good choice.

There are few things that delight my Woman of Valor more than those little, round bundles of creamy chocolate-ness. It is impossible for her to eat one without closing her eyes, giving a Mona Lisa smile, and murmuring in pure content.

And even though I tend to avoid candies, I also deeply enjoy the rich and smooth creaminess that erupts when I bite into a barely warm truffle.

Ah, to capture that in a dessert.

I wanted something that fell between a ganache and a mousse. Not too ‘hard’. Not too ‘airy’.

I wanted to create a bowl of ‘truffle guts’.


The secret to my success was to slightly under-whip the heavy cream and not to overheat the melted chocolate. I also used chocolate with a cocoa content of about sixty percent.

At first glance, this appears to be a simple recipe. The devil is in the details. This is not a recipe for novices because you cannot read fast enough to cook it properly at the same time.

Consequently, some preliminary instructions:

Buy, or create, a double boiler with at least two upper pans. You have to move a bit fast when making this dessert and there’s no time to clean up and begin the next step. You can melt the chocolate and then move it off heat while you whisk the egg yolks and sugar together. In a pinch, you can always use two stainless steel mixing bowls and an appropriately sized pot of water.

While you are getting your ingredients together and separating the eggs, put your mixer bowl and a whisk in the refrigerator. Doing so will ensure that your whipped cream turns out perfect. In this recipe, we’re going for soft peaks rather than stiff ones. Be careful not to over whip. A stand mixer with a whisk is very helpful here.

Let’s get started. You’ll need:

1/3 C granulated sugar, minus 2 TBS reserved

4 large egg yolks

10oz (TEN!) bittersweet chocolate (60%)

2 C heavy cream

2 TBS cognac

small amount of butter

Place 4-10 dessert cups or dishes (serving size varies) in the refrigerator.

Heat the water for you double boiler over LOW heat. There should be steam rising from the water surface, but no bubbles or boiling. Place a large stainless steel mixing bowl on top and break the chocolate into the bowl. Allow the chocolate to melt very slowly.

In the chilled mixing bowl, pour in the heavy cream and the 1/3 C sugar (less the 2TBS reserve). Whisk by hand or at medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Set aside in the refrigerator.

Place the egg yolks and the 2 TBS of reserved sugar into the second stainless steel bowl. Then place the bowl on the double boiler and whisk the contents briskly, until the mixture doubles in volume. Be careful not to allow the eggs to get too hot, as they will curdle (‘seize’). If your eggs begin to seize, IMMEDIATELY remove from the heat and stir in a tablespoonful or so of the whipped cream. (NOTE: I always have the whipped cream nearby at this stage. Once the eggs fully curdle, there is no going back and you must start over.) Also, if ANY seizing or breakdown occurs, you will have to start over OR strain the mixture through a sieve so there are no bits of egg in the final result.

Whisk the cognac into the egg and sugar mixture and then whisk the egg mixture into the melted chocolate. (NOTE: The chocolate should be thoroughly melted, but not too hot. As long as it is about the same temperature as the egg mixture…cheers! Too hot and you risk seizing again.)

Now, GENTLY fold in the whipped cream, reserving about a cup for decoration (if desired). Fold it in from the outside of the bowl to the center, turn the bowl ninety degrees, and repeat. Keep folding and turning until the whipped cream is fully incorporated. The final result should be quite firm. If it is not, place the bowl in the refrigerator, covered with plastic wrap, for about thirty minutes or until service. Don’t forget to keep the reserved whipped cream cold too.

At service:

Apply a small amount of butter (not margarine) to the large scoop of a melon baller. Re-whip the whipped cream with a hand whisk if it softened. Place a small dollop of whipped cream in the bottom of the dessert cup or dish. Gently scoop out a ball of the chocolate truffle mixture and place it on top of the whipped cream. A toothpick is sometimes useful to coax the chocolate into the dish. Place 4-8 balls in each dish. The dessert is extremely rich and eating eight balls of it should induce a diabetic coma in your guests. I suggest accompanying this with STRONG coffee or espresso.








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