Pepper and chocolate is a culinary partnership that works really well. The volatile oils and pungency of black pepper balance and harmonize with the intense flavours of dark chocolate. These truffles are to die for – smooth peppery chocolate ganache dusted with unsweetened cocoa, or a sweeter combination of icing sugar and cocoa, or, best of all, a sparkling frost of caster sugar and crushed grains of paradise.
Chop the chocolate into pea-sized pieces and put in a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream until just boiling, then pour it over the chocolate in a thin stream, beating with a balloon whisk as you pour. The chocolate should melt as you pour the hot cream over it. If it doesn’t melt completely, put the bowl over a saucepan of gently steaming (but not simmering or boiling) water and stir until melted. Keep stirring until the ganache is smooth and glossy.
Beat in the butter while the ganache is still warm, then mix in the pepper. Leave to firm up at room temperature for about an hour but don’t chill it at this stage.
Make up the coatings on three separate plates. Roll ten truffles in each coating, giving each one a quick turn in your palm to brush off any surplus powder. Chill on the tray until ready to serve.
© 2008 Christine McFadden. All rights reserved.