Thursday, 19 April 2012

My Easy Rum-and-Raisin Chocolate Truffles

Photograph by Nina Timm
One of the unexpected pleasures of writing a food blog is that you get to meet all sorts of interesting, like-minded people from all over the world: food bloggers, chefs, cooks, gardeners, farmers, restaurateurs, hoteliers and food producers. Some of them you meet in a virtual way, via Twitter, Facebook and similar social- media platforms, and others you befriend in real life. One such person is Nina Timm, the cook, stylist and photographer behind the award-winning blog My Easy Cooking.

Nina is one of the grande dames of South African food blogging, and she's made her mark over the years by posting accessible, well-tested recipes accompanied by excellent photographs. Nina's weekly cooking slot on the Afrikaans radio channel Radio Sonder Grense (RSG) is bringing her fame in South Africa, and recently I accepted her invitation to join a small group of bloggers for a morning's cook-along.  The theme of the recipes was South African dried fruit, and I prepared two dishes, one using juicy dark raisins, and the other dried apricots. Click here to read Nina's post about my truffles.

Photograph by Nina Timm
I had the pleasure of cooking alongside fellow bloggers Ishay Govender of Food And The Fabulous (here's her post about the event) and Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox (her post here). While we cooked, we were interviewed by the effervescent Marthelize Brink, an RSG presenter and professional motivational speaker. We had plenty to taste once we'd finished cooking all our dishes, but the winner for me was Ilse's sublime malva pudding with dates and pecan nuts - a sticky, deeply comforting take on one of South Africa's favourite desserts.

I made two dishes with dried fruit for this cooking challenge: one, my Moroccan-Spiced Chicken Pie, to which I added dried apricots, and the other sweet chocolate truffles filled with rum-soaked raisins.  These are not true chocolate truffles of the sort you will find in a chocolate shop, but a quick, homely version so easy to make that even a child could manage this recipe. If you're not a fan of rum, try another version of this recipe: my Whisky and Orange Dark-Chocolate Truffles.

Rum and Raisin Chocolate Truffles

1/2 cup (125 ml) raisins or currants
4 Tbsp (60 ml) dark rum
350 g dark chocolate (70 per cent cocoa solids)
1/2 cup (125 ml) cream
3/4 cup (180 ml) icing sugar
1/4 cup (60 ml) cocoa powder, sifted, for coating

Put the raisins in a bowl, pour over the rum and set aside to soak for at least an hour, preferably two. Place the chocolate, broken into pieces, in a glass bowl and melt in a microwave oven or over a pan of simmering water. Stir until smooth, then beat in the cream, the soaked raisins and any rum left in the bowl. Sift the icing sugar into the chocolate and mix until smooth. Press a piece of clingfilm onto the surface of the mixture and place it in the fridge for about an hour, or until firm enough to handle.

Tip the cocoa powder onto a plate. Dig out spoonsful (each about the sized of a large marble) of chocolate paste and roll quickly between your palms to form rough balls resembling real truffles. Place the balls on the plate of cocoa powder and roll them about so that they are well coated. When you've made all the balls, place them in a sieve or colander and shake gently to remove any excess cocoa powder. Cover and place in the fridge for two hours, or until firm. These freeze very well.

Makes about 35 truffles. 

Note: The basic truffle recipe is adapted from Phillippa Cheifitz's The Cosmopolitan Cookbook (1986)
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1 comment:

Kit said...

They look extremely tempting!
I have a hard time buying good chocolate to melt down as an ingredient in something else, it's always begging to be eaten just as it is... but these might just make it worth maintaining some self-control for as long as it takes them to set!