I have always enjoyed making truffles at home – they are simple and quick to make (especially if you skip the step of coating your truffles in tempered chocolate) and just make the perfect present, and not just for Valentine’s Day. I mean, who does not like to receive a box of chocolates to eat all by themselves?
Besides, chocolate goes well with most things so truffles are a perfect way of playing around with your favourite flavour combinations. I love the combination of chocolate and orange – the bitterness of dark chocolate contrasts nicely with the bright citrus flavour. Being naturally zesty and lemony in flavour, Sichuan pepper pairs equally well with all things citrus. A sichuan pepper, orange and chocolate truffle was thus the logical next step. And while Sichuan pepper is most famous for that tingling feeling it can leave on your lips and tongue, in terms of heat, it is actually quite mild.
The recipe for these truffles itself relies on a little less cream than what is typically used for making truffles to give them a firmer set (so they keep their shape better even when kept at room temperature). And while the recipe calls for 2-3 tablespoons of Sichuan pepper, this gives the finished truffles a very subtle kick that lingers just long enough for you to unwrap your next truffle.
This is another recipe I have developed for the Peppermongers and that also published in the Telegraph.
Sichuan Pepper and Orange Chocolate Truffles
Note: Although Sichuan pepper is most famous for the tingling feeling you get on your lips and tongue when you eat it, as spicy foods go the heat it provides is actually quite mild. Naturally zesty in flavour, Sichuan pepper pairs well with all citrus fruits, making it a perfect addition to orange-flavoured dark chocolate truffles. For these truffles, start with two tablespoons of peppercorns – once strained, taste the infusion and if the flavour of the pepper seems too subtle, add a third tablespoon and infuse for an additional 10 minutes.
Makes around. 40 small truffles
2-3 tbsp Sichuan peppercorns
200g whipping cream
100g light muscovado sugar
Zest of 1/2 orange
Pinch of salt
250g dark chocolate (70% cacao), chopped finely
Cocoa (for dusting)
Optional: ground cacao nibs, powdered sugar
In a dry pan roast the Sichuan peppercorns on medium heat for ca. 3 minutes (almost to the point of smoking, being careful not to burn any of the peppercorns). Crush in a pestle and mortar and set aside.
In a small saucepan combine the cream and the sugar. Bring the cream to a simmer over a low flame. Once the sugar is dissolved, turn off the heat. Add the crushed Sichuan pepper, orange zest and salt and leave to infuse for 10 minutes before straining the infused cream.
Gently re-heat the strained cream on a low flame until the cream feels hot to the touch. Pour the cream over the chopped chocolate and whisk until all the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Cover the mixture with clingfilm and place in the fridge for 4 hours to set.
Prepare a bowl with cocoa powder. Roll teaspoon-sized chunks of the cooled mixture into small marbles and roll each in the cocoa (you can shake off excess cocoa by adding a handful of truffles to a fine sieve and gently shaking the sieve over a sink). Alternatively, you can roll the truffles in ground cacao nibs if you like your truffles extra bitter or in powdered sugar for a sweeter alternative.
Stored in the fridge, the truffles will keep for 1 week.