Chocolate and Pasilla Fondant Truffles

With the classic combination of chilli and chocolate, Rick Stein's truffles from his BBC series, The Road to Mexico, are at once rich and delicately spiced.

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Introduction

These are addictive. Pasilla chillies are dried and have a gorgeous fruitiness about them, so this combination of chocolate, a hint of fruit and not too hot chilli makes for a great treat. The recipe calls for the truffles to be dipped in batter and fried just long enough to make them crisp on the outside but still slightly gooey inside. Alternatively, if you just refrigerate them and don’t add the batter, you have petits fours to go with coffee.

Makes 15-18

Ingredients

1 large pasilla chilli or 4tsp ground pasilla
200ml double cream
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper, or more to taste (optional)
pinch salt
200g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), chopped into small pieces
6 heaped tbsp cocoa powder, for dusting
1 ltr corn oil, for deep frying
For the batter:
120g plain flour
1½ tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
1 egg
100ml ice-cold water or milk (water yields a crisper batter coating)

Instructions

If using a whole chilli, toast it for about 10 seconds on each side in a dry pan, then grind to a powder in a spice grinder.

Heat the cream in a pan with the ground pasilla, cayenne, if using, and the salt. When the cream is hot but not boiling, take the pan off the heat and add the chocolate to the cream. Stir gently until the chocolate has melted. Set aside to cool and then chill until it is firm enough to shape into balls.

Using two teaspoons, shape the chocolate into 15–18 small lozenges and drop them into a bowl of cocoa powder. Using your hands and working quickly so as not to melt the chocolate, roll them into balls, dusting them with cocoa powder as you go. Put them on a tray lined with baking parchment and freeze for at least 3 hours, preferably overnight. Once frozen, they can be kept for a week or two if you like. Store them layered with baking parchment in a plastic box with a lid.

Ten minutes before you are ready to finish the truffles, make the batter. Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a bowl, make a well in the centre and add the egg. Whisk the egg, gradually drawing in the flour from the sides to make a paste. Add the water or milk a little at a time until you have a smooth, thick batter.

Heat the oil to 175°C in a large saucepan. Dip the frozen truffles into the batter, lower them into the hot oil and fry for a couple of minutes until golden. Do this in batches, setting each batch aside on kitchen paper.

Trim off any ragged batter edges with scissors if you like. Serve immediately dusted with cocoa powder and with whipped or clotted cream and some red berries on the side.

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