The health benefits, aphrodisiac qualities and incomparable taste of chocolate have been passionately championed for centuries. And if there’s one thing that all chocolate lovers agree on, it is the pure pleasure one gets from eating it in its myriad forms. Cocoa has been used by generations of cooks around the world to create a wealth of sweets, cakes and biscuits, truffles, drinks and glorious desserts, and I would like to begin your chocolate initiation with cakes. Why not try a grandfather’s cake (torta del nonno) to impress your dinner guests? These are not for the faint-hearted, neither are hot puddings, which are indulgently rich, and suitable for only the most hardened chocolate fiends. If there’s anything better than receiving chocolates from someone, it must surely be to know that they are homemade. Truffles and sweets are the ultimate sin, so allow yourself to have a go at some decadent Italian chocolate truffles – it’s up to you to decide whether you give them away…click here
This classic truffle recipe is very rich and dense, and reliant on the best-qualify chocolate that you can afford. For real truffle addicts, stir a little truffle honey or a drop of real truffle oil into the mixture – the combination is delicious. Break the chocolate into small pieces and place in a Pyrex/china basin. Fit the bowl into the rim of a saucepan so that it is suspended over simmering water. Stir gently until all is melted and remove from pan. Beat in the butter, egg yolk, liqueur and truffle honey, if using. Cover with cling film and refrigerate for 1 hour, or until set.
Sift some cocoa onto a plate. Using a teaspoon, scoop the chilled chocolate mixture into rough mounds, shape into a knobbly truffle shape in your hands, and then drop into the cocoa. Roll around until it is completely covered and put on the prepared baking sheet. Layer in an airtight container between sheets of greaseproof paper and refrigerate for up to five days, or freeze for up to a month.