Like March, these truffles come in like a lion and go out like a lamb. It's the first touch of tongue against powdery unsweetened cocoa flecked with sugar and lime zest that creates a pucker and paves the way for a ganache that's as smooth as Jamie Foxx's come-on.
Bittersweet Chocolate Truffles with Lime and Honey
Courtesy of Pierre Hermé in The Cook's Book
Makes approx. 50
I cut the recipe in half myself, but it made for odd measurements (3/8 of a cup, anyone?) and they keep so well that there's no need to. You might want to make a few practice ganache balls if you're new to the pastry bag thing; most of mine came out looking like misshapen Hershey's kisses. (I didn't smack Mr. Food Musings when he laughed at them, but I wanted to.) One hint: smooth down the rough tips with your fingers. Note that the lime sugar has to be made at least a day ahead.
zest from 1/2 lime
1/2 c. + 2 TBSP sugar
1 1/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 lb. Scharffen Berger or best quality bittersweet chocolate (60-70% cocoa solids), chopped into small pieces
7 TBSP unsalted butter, cut into walnut-sized pieces
3/4 c. creme fraiche
3 1/2 TBSP fresh lime juice (about 3-4 limes)
2 1/2 TBSP best quality honey
Mix the lime zest and sugar and rub between the palms of your hands. Spread in a thin layer on a baking sheet and allow to dry overnight. Make sure it is completely dry, then combine it with the cocoa powder and set aside.
Put the chocolate pieces in a large heatproof bowl. Place the butter in a separate, smaller bowl and bring to room temperature. Meanwhile, set the creme fraiche in a pan over med-high heat and bring it to a boil. Grate in the zest from one lime, remove the pan from the heat, cover and let infuse for 10 minutes. Return the pan to the heat and bring just to a boil again. Remove from the heat.
While the creme fraiche is boiling, warm the lime juice and honey in a separate pan but do not boil.
Pour half of the creme fraiche over the chocolate and stir in small circles, moving outward from the center. Add the rest of the creme fraiche and the lime and honey mixture, and continue to stir until the chocolate melts. Once it is smooth, add the butter a piece or two at a time, stirring gently.
Thicken the ganache by chilling it for at least 30 minutes. Stir, then pour the ganache into a pastry bag fitted with a round #9 tip (or improvise by pouring into a small Ziplog bag and cutting off a bottom corner at a diagonal). Pipe balls of ganache onto a parchment lined baking sheet and chill for 2 hours.
Spread the cocoa mixture onto a rimmed baking sheet or pan and, with a fork, roll the balls of ganache in it to cover. Remove carefully with a slotted spoon to an airtight container. Store in the fridge, and bring them almost up to room temperature before serving.