Sometimes, my love of cooking gets in the way of life. I get an idea in my head, that simply must happen, and if it doesn’t work out the first time, I go to great lengths. This might involve my husband going to the grocery store at 6:30am before work, to re-buy the ingredients (I swear, this was his idea, not mine) so that I could get right to work later in the evening, after work and after my run. And then I re-make, and adjust, and re-adjust. And then I decide, it’s still not going to work, and make a trip somewhere out-of-the-way during my lunch break to get back-up supplies. Finally, it seems to be working. Only, I run out of those back-up supplies. And at 9:00pm, after dinner is done and I’m back at work, he runs out, again, to get more. Yes, my darling husband goes into AC Moore all by himself to buy candy molds and chocolate melts. All by his own idea – he must either really love me, or really really love the idea of eating dark-chocolate-candies-with-creamy-white-chocolate-pumpkin-filling. I hope it’s a little bit of both.
I found this recipe for pumpkin truffles, and of course, I had to make them. This would be my first time making real truffles, whoo hoo! Well, I’ve done things like Oreo truffles and cookie dough truffles and cake balls, but never real truffles involving a true ganache center. I was excited for the challenge, and thought it would be simple enough considering there are about a zillion recipes out there. The only change I decided to make to this recipe – which I thought was a small change, but may have had quite a large effect – was to substitute white chocolate for the dark chocolate in the ganache.
So, I went ahead and made the ganache. For good measure, I let it chill longer than indicated – overnight, in fact. To my dismay, I found not a firm, scoopable ganache, but more of a pudding. Sure, it would be tasty to eat by the spoonful, but it was not going to work at all. Sadly, I dumped it and that’s when my husband went out for the second round of ingredients.
I did a little reading online and discovered something. There is no way the recipe, as written, was correct. This recipe called for 2 cups of cream to 1lb of chocolate; most recipes call for something closer to a 1 cup of cream to 1 lb of chocolate ratio. That could certainly be why these didn’t work! So with the second round, I used just 1 cup of cream. I put it together before work and let it set all day.
When I got home, I still had truffle pudding. I was getting pretty frustrated at this point. Since I had purchased two 12-oz packages of white chocolate chips and had only used 16oz, I still had an additional 8 oz. I gently reheated my ganache on the stove, heated my chocolate in a double boiler, and stirred the additional chocolate into the ganache, and let it set again – overnight.
The next morning, I was doing a bit better – we had something around the consistency of peanut butter. Still not something I could scoop and shape into a ball. But I really didn’t want to waste it. So my solution? I needed to invest in some molds, and I’d use my pumpkin mixture as the filling for chocolate candies.
I still don’t know where I went wrong with these – I’m thinking it’s got to have something to do with the white chocolate. Either white chocolate simply doesn’t work for truffle ganache, or, white chocolate chips are simply not a good enough quality for this application. However, in the end, my candies were totally awesome. And plentiful! I made at least 200, and that doesn’t include the filling that made it onto a spoon and into my mouth, instead of inside chocolate shells. My husband and I both took these to work and got rave reviews. Making the candies was not difficult at all, just tedious, but I would look forward to it again – it’s a fun and rewarding project.
Here’s the recipe for the filling I ended up with, after modifying the amounts of chocolate and cream.
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground gloves
1 cup cream
24 oz white chocolate morsels
1 ounce butter, room temperature
In a medium saucepan over low heat, combine pumpkin, brown sugar and spices. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, or until mixture reduces by half and pumpkin looks dry. Set aside. In a medium saucepan over high heat, add cream. When cream boils, take off heat. In a heatproof medium bowl, add chocolate and hot cream. Let the mixture sit for a minute, then slowly begin to stir, starting in the center of the bowl and working outwards. Once the chocolate and cream are evenly mixed, add pumpkin mixture and whisk to combine. Add the butter. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled.
To make the candies, you’ll need chocolate wafers for candy-making, molds of your choice, a paint brush and a squeeze bottle. A piping bag and tip are useful too, for the filling. You’ll melt the chocolate, and transfer it to the squeeze bottle. Then, squeeze a small amount into each well in the candy mold. Use your paint brush to move the chocolate up the sides of the mold, creating a shell. Chill for a few minutes. Pipe a bit of filling into each mold, and then squeeze more chocolate on top. Tap the mold on the counter to let the chocolate settle in, remove air bumps, and create a smooth bottom. Chill for about 10 minutes, the pop the candies out of the molds.