Truffle Repertoire

As I work on my "Chocolate Monsters", I'm building a repertoire of truffles that I can reproduce consistently.  Most of them I can put in several forms --dipped squares or dipped spheres with decoration or rolled in powder-- but they're still the same truffle. 

Each of the monsters get a headline; ones that don't have names yet or are unrefined are down at the bottom.

Sun Wukong - Five Spice (firm)

Sun Wukong, for the Monkey King who was quite a monster as the "Great Sage Equalling Heaven."  He was eventually trapped by the "five pillars" of the Buddha's hand, and imprisoned beneath "Five Elements Mountain".  This seems like a fitting name for a traditionally Chinese collection of five spices.  This ganache is fairly firm and a little grainy.  Like the Great Sage, this chocolate is a little rough around the edges.

Melusine - Lavender soft ganache

Melusine is half-woman, half-serpent faerie from French folklore who I first met in A.S. Byatt's Possession: A Romance.  The cream for the ganache is steeped in lavender flowers, and is often adorned with a single bud.  The story of Melusine is a tragic one, with similarities to Beauty and the Beast, but with no happy ending.  I think this chocolate often doesn't get a fair shake, as well.

Black Shuck - cocoa creme with Grand Marnier

The Black Shuck is a great black dog from British faerie lore.  People walking along lonely country roads at night would realize a great dog was walking beside them, black as the night with luminous eyes the size of saucers.  Though they might bode ill for the witness, sometimes they were just frightening and would vanish back into the night after a time.    In keeping with the stories of the Black Shuck, this chocolate is dark as the night and likely to vanish shortly.

Gorgon - Rosemary firm ganache

Rosemary is for remembrance, and this truffle is easy to remember as a clearly savory flavor in an otherwise sweet confection.  Rosemary hails from the Mediterranean, as do the serpent-headed gorgons, including the famous Medusa.  I also think that the leaves of a sprig of Rosemary resemble the snakes of a gorgon ... well, perhaps one with a bob cut.

Baku - Green Tea white ganache

The nightmare-eating Baku is one of my favorite monsters.  It hails from Japan, and so I've given its name to a Green Tea ganache.  The baku is something of an exception, since it eats nightmares and is often benevolent.  It's definitely a monster, though-- generally described as having an elephant’s head, tusks, and trunk; with horns and tiger’s claws.  It's also an exceptional truffle, smooth and light with bitter tea in a white chocolate.

The Green Man - Fresh Mint Ganache

Made of leaves, or sprouting foliage from mouth and eyes, the Green Man is monstrous but rarely depicted as a monster.  He seems more to be a common visual conceit.  Nevertheless, he seems perfect for this truffle which is the most verdant mint you'll ever taste.  This chocolate doesn't use mint extract, but rather fresh mint leaves steeped in the cream for the ganache.  It's mint that's sprouting leaves from everywhere you taste it.

Garuda - Cardamom soft ganache

Garuda, often singular, is a great figure in Hindu mythology.   A bird-like man, or a man-like bird, he is enormous, regal, often depicted with a crown, and serves sometimes as the mount for Vishnu.  That seems appropriate for this prince of chocolates, one of my favorites.  A heavenly soft ganache steeped strongly with freshly-husked cardamom, which is then removed, the chocolate is powerfully spiced but not in the least bitter, grainy, or harsh.  It's probably the purest presentation of the spice I've ever tried.

Missing a Monster

These truffles worked pretty well the first time, and I can do them again.  They're in my "repertoire".  I'm starting to  give them monster names, where I can.  If you have suggestions, let me know!

  • mint buttercreme filled
  • caramelized double chocolate with cocoa nibs - Grendel?
  • lychee ganache (lychee liquor in chocolate) - kirin
  • coffee/mocha/espresso ganaches, soft or firm - djinn
  • Dark chocolate Lady Grey/Blue Flower Earl Grey - ?
  • covered marzipan - Befana

I've done these before, but need to fix the recipes a bit:

  • chocolate mousse filled
  • green tea ganache (have to lighten the chocolate)
  • Pie-spice (apple pie spices and condensed milk, was too milky)
  • White chocolate Lady Grey (too soft for rolled truffles; will need to be a molded chocolate with a stronger tea flavor or milder medium)

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