I was taken aback yesterday when my daughter rang to ask whether the box of truffles she'd sent me had arrived. Having spent years in the Dordogne, I'd half-forgotten the existence of the chocolate variety and thought she'd bought a box of the Perigord's black diamonds.
Cue a few hours of fatherly concern as I tortured myself trying to work out where on earth she'd got the money to buy not one truffle, but an entire box! When the postman did arrive with a box of chocolate truffles, I was relieved, but also mildly disappointed.
At least, was disappointed before I realised that the chocolates were all handmade.
280g of your favourite chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids)
284ml double cream (this is the standard 'large pot' size)
50g unsalted butter
1. Chop or break the chocolate into small pieces and put aside in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
2. Combine the butter and double cream in a heatproof bowl. Put the bowl over a small saucepan with a small amount of water in it - making sure the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl - and melt the butter into the cream over a gentle heat, stirring regularly.
3. When the butter-cream mix is simmering gently, remove it from the heat and pour the mixture over the chopped chocolate, stirring until the chocolate has been melted by the heat of the mix.
4. Chill the mixture for at least 4 hours.
5. Using a standard teaspoon, scoop out the chocolate mix and roll it between your hands to create a ball. This gets quite messy - you can coat your hands with a flavourless oil to stop the chocolate from sticking to you. Pop each ball onto a plate or baking tray covered with a sheet of greaseproof paper and repeat until the mixture is finished.
6. Once shaped, you can cover the truffles in anything you like - desiccated coconut, chopped nuts, edible glitter, sprinkles, etc. - by rolling them in your choice of coating and returning to the sheet of greaseproof paper.
7. Keep the truffles refrigerated; they should keep for up to four days in a sealed container.
[Note]: If you want to flavour your truffles with liqueurs, fruit juices, or the like, add 2tbsps of the liquid of your choice (I recommend Chambord raspberry liqueur and Frangelico hazlenut liqueur, either together or separately) at the end of step 3.