Happy halloween, everyone!
This year, the haunted all hallows eve falls on one of my recipe days and I’m bringing back an old favourite to celebrate. A little something with a lot of heat, once posted on my (now abandoned) Imgur account, several years ago.
So, now that my skills and understanding have both had time to improve, I’m going to right that wrong and bring you an update on my favourite recipe for working with the current world record holder. And, more specifically, for enjoying its flavour at a somewhat more manageable heat.
Even if it is impossible to tame the reaper completely.
So, before we begin, I should probably mention that these creamy little balls of chocolate pack a rather hefty
in the throat and around every edge of my tongue.
They’re slow to hit, because of their extremely high dairy content, but they’re also one of the hottest recipes that I’ve ever featured. Despite using the bare minimum amount of reaper needed to get across the pepper’s surprisingly mellow, slightly berry-like and not quite cinnamon-spiced flavour.
The carolina reaper is just that hot, I’m afraid.
So, if you feel like skipping out on today’s recipe or substituting a milder pepper, I completely understand. But here’s what you’ll need if you don’t:
150g white chocolate
100g milk chocolate
100ml double cream
1 tablespoon butter (salted or unsalted)
⅓ teaspoon carolina reaper powder
And yes, the butter is a new addition, suggested by Fifth Dimension Chocolates. It makes up for the lower fat content of regular double cream, compared to the extra thick stuff that I used to use, helping the ganache to set.
But, ontop of that, its dairy fats are solid at room temperature and liquid at body temperature, meaning that they’ll melt in the mouth, just like cocoa butter, to enhance the creamy taste and texture of the truffles.
Plus, that isn’t the only change to my recipe that Fifth Dimension have inspired. You’ll see a lot of tweaks to the technique, if you compare it to my past work, and nearly all were based on their explanation of the science.
Honestly, I’d really recommend checking Fifth Dimension Chocolates out, whether you’re an amateur chocolatier or simply someone who enjoys fine food. They really know their stuff and they make utterly amazing chocolates with that knowledge, featuring some of the craziest and most delightful flavours that I’ve ever come across.
Feel free to hit me up for recommendations from their range but, for now, let’s get back to my recipe. A recipe for one flavour which they don’t do.
To begin, we need to chop the white chocolate and we need to chop it fine. My bar ended up looking more like shavings than chunks but that’s actually ideal because it provides the most surface area.
You see, we need it to melt fast, since we’re not going to apply any heat directly to it, this time.
We’re going to heat the cream, instead, so that we preserve as much of the chocolate’s crystalline structure as possible. Preserving its glossy appearance and creamy mouth-feel in the process.
So, pour the cream into a pan and chuck in the butter, then carefully measure out the chilli and stir it through as evenly as possible. It won’t be perfect, at this stage, but you definitely want to get rid of all the clumps that you can, for an even spread of heat and flavour.
Once you’re satisfied with its distribution, start warming up the pan on medium-high and stir continuously, until the cream starts to boil. Then turn it off and, as soon as the bubbles stop forming, whip it into your chopped chocolate.
And when I say whip, I mean it! You want to be combining them as thoroughly and as quickly as you can, in order to ensure that every last piece melts and mixes in.
But, if something does go wrong, you can always microwave the mixture for ten seconds. Just be very careful not to overdo it.
Here’s what it should look like when you’re done:
A smooth, creamy, glossy substance which looks like little more than extra thick cocoa butter, given its yellowy colour.
That’s our ganache.
All it needs now is to sit in the fridge for a few hours or, ideally, overnight to firm up. Then we can roll it into chocolate-coated truffle balls.
For that, we’re going to melt the milk chocolate and, unlike with the white, we can get away with simply separating it into its premade segments and popping it into the microwave.
We have to be careful, still, not to overdo it but, if we start with thirty seconds and then continue in tens, stirring between each one, it’s actually harder to overcook the chocolate this way than with the double-boiling method that I used to use. Plus it’s quicker, too, and doesn’t risk ruining the consistency by getting water where it shouldn’t.
Much to my amazement, it’s actually the better option. Though you can still double-boil the chocolate, if you prefer.
Either way, once the milk chocolate has all melted, take a spoon and start scraping out ice-cream-style scoops of the now-set ganache. Then roll each one between your hands to form a more perfect sphere – You may want to wear gloves for this – and transfer them to a fork.
Use the fork to dip each one into the melted milk chocolate, allowing any excess covering to drip out between the tines, and then the truffles are complete. All they need to do is sit on a baking tray to cool and you’ll have six to ten, wonderfully creamy, melt in the mouth chocolates, depending on whether you’ve been as generous with the sizing as I have.
But really, you can see, even from the photo, how much better these truffles are than my chipotle ones. The outer layer now has the right glossy sheen to it and I can actually slice that shell open to show you all the smooth, yet spicy, white chocolate filling.
A filling which blends richness with the gentle flavour of white chocolate and delicious undertones of fruity, spice-like, red chilli.
I am very happy with how this batch has turned out and I’m ever so grateful to Fifth Dimension Chocolates for explaining how my past process could be improved. Again, I’d definitely recommend looking them up as everything they make is both utterly unique and well worth the money.
But also, do give this recipe a go, as I did work hard on it, myself, and it does make some most amazing sweets. Ones which highlight the flavour of the carolina reaper in a very unique and enjoyable way. With a good deal of heat but still considerably less than most of its sauces.
Though, if you’re interested in trying those sauces, you can find a whole host of them over on the reaper’s encyclopedia page.