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Saturday, December 29, 2012

My Berry Merry Christmas Tree & Chocolate Truffles

So, if you follow me on Facebook (or Twitter since I have them linked) you would have seen my posts for what I was working on for Christmas. I only made a few things this time but since both things were so much work I didn't miss the work.

I did a huge pork loin and a decorative mixed berry tree with truffles.

Serving platter
Freezer paper
Styrofoam cone
Double Boiler

Chocolate- I used a 3.5lb bag from Costco
3 containers of Strawberries
1 Costco size container of Blackberries
1 container of Raspberries

I started with the tree. I made a base out of freezer paper. The problem that I had with this was the paper was not heavy enough to carry the weight of the strawberries and since the chocolate took forever to solidify it started off really messy.

I ended up making a base out of chocolate clay.
To make this you just need to melt your chocolate and put in a little corn syrup.

I molded this into a circle and put the paper cone back on top. Then, I started back adding the strawberries. This time it worked out fine. After the first few rows I let the chocolate set before moving on.

It would probably be better if I would have had a styrofoam cone as the base covered in freezer paper or wax paper.

To put the tree together I used fresh berries with the stems cut off and dries with a paper towel. I dipped them into the chocolate cut side down and stacked them on top of each other arranging them in a circle around the base.

I continued alternating between the strawberries and blackberries until I go to the very top. I then went in and filled any gaps with raspberries and blackberries until it was pretty.

Next I started on the Truffles.

Double Boiler
Melon Baller -or- Clean Hands

Heavy Cream
Flavoring - Citrus rind of your choice( I used Tangeriene), Rum Extract, Almond Extract, Spices of your choice(I used cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves), & Liquor of your choice, ect...
Coating - You can use whatever you like. Almonds, Coconut, Chocolate, Cocoa powder, Powdered sugar, Cinnamon sugar, ect...

To make the truffles:

  • I start off with Heavy cream and Butter in a saucepan and bring to a boil. 
  • Turn off the heat and add the chocolate.
  • Wait a few minutes for the chocolate to melt, it will become glossy.
  • Then with a spatula fold the cream and chocolate together.
  • Next add any flavoring of your choice. If you are using spices it is good to infuse the spices into the cream first, rather then adding them at this stage.
  • If I am doing multiple flavors, I like to separate them into their own plastic pouches.
  • Refrigerate.
Now its time to form the truffles.
  • Use melon baller or you hands to make even round pieces. 
  • You can either refrigerate again so they are easy to handle if you are dipping into melted chocolate or just go ahead and roll them in the coating of your choice.
  • When they are all coated refrigerate one last time until you are ready to serve.
Its simple enough! Just time consuming. :)

I use a ratio or 1:4 cream to chocolate and a T of butter for every 1/4c of cream. This ratio gives me a consistency that I like and does not melt down at room temperature.

I sprinkled powdered sugar on top to make it prettier. :)

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