A few years ago, I spent a couple of weeks working in Davis, California. I loved Davis. I stayed in a bed and breakfast near the university, right near Davis’ cute little downtown. There were all kinds of great restaurants nearby, including Ciocolat, a dessert café. I made a point to stop by there almost every day. And with minimal guilt, because I spent several hours every day walking around UC-Davis’s beautiful arboretum.
Ciocolat seems to specialize in truffles, which aren’t really my thing. I’d much rather eat chocolate once it’s mixed with eggs and butter and some flour and then baked. But I did love their lemon truffles. Smooth, creamy, not too sweet, and intensely lemony, I’ve been wanting to re-create them since, but I haven’t been able to find a recipe that seemed similar.
The only recipes I’ve found for lemon truffles include white chocolate, which I don’t remember the Ciocolat’s lemon truffle having. It recently occurred to me to look at their menu online, where I saw that it did include white chocolate. Perhaps a white chocolate lemon truffle recipe was exactly what I needed then.
The one I tried wasn’t difficult or too time-consuming. The only challenge is working with the white chocolate. I always seem to have problems with it, even when I follow the basic white chocolate rules of using a good brand (Callebaut in this case) and not overheating it. I took the white chocolate off of the heat when it was about half melted and stirred until the rest melted, and it still showed signs of breaking.
It seemed to work out in the end though. The only problem is that they’re not near as lemony as I’d like. The dominant flavor is definitely white chocolate. I’m not sure how to get more lemon flavor in them. Steep the zest in the cream longer? Use more zest? I considered adding more lemon juice, but I’m worried that would affect the texture too much. Substitute butter for some of the white chocolate? I’m thinking there might be some relevant tricks in Dorie Greenspan’s Lemon Cream Tart recipe, but I don’t have any specific ideas.
One year ago: Risotto with Peas
White Chocolate Lemon Truffles (adapted from Global Gourmet)
Makes 2-3 dozen
⅓ cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream
grated zest of 1 lemon
9 ounces best-quality white chocolate, very finely chopped
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, cut into ¼-inch cubes
2 teaspoons lemon juice
½ cup granulated sugar
1. In a small, heavy, nonaluminum saucepan, combine heavy cream and lemon zest. Heat on medium heat until cream comes to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Cover tightly and allow to stand 20 minutes at room temperature.
2. Meanwhile, combine white chocolate, salt, and butter in a medium heatproof bowl. When cream has stood 20 minutes, remove cover. Reheat the cream mixture over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it reaches a simmer again. Strain cream through a fine-meshed strainer into the white chocolate mixture. Press down on the lemon zest left in the strainer to extract all of the liquid from it.
3. Melt the chocolate mixture in a large heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of almost-simmering water, stirring frequently, until just it’s just over half melted. Remove it from the heat and the hot water. Continue stirring until the mixture is completely melted and smooth. (Note: White chocolate, even of excellent quality, can be stubborn about melting. If there are small lumps of white chocolate in your truffle base, transfer the truffle base to a food processor fitted with a steel blade; process at high speed just until smooth.) Stir in lemon juice. Chill at least 4 hours.
4. Using a small cookie scoop or a spoon, form balls of about 1 inch diameter from the cold truffle base. Roll in granulated sugar until well-coated. Continue until all base is used.
5. Store truffles airtight in refrigerator for up to one week; freeze for longer storage. To serve, remove from refrigerator 15 to 20 minutes prior to serving time.