Happy New Year to everyone. It hasn’t been easy to blog recently, what with being surgically attached to the oven and all that. Christmas went swimmingly and canine meltdown was forestalled. Despite my agonising, the Great Christmas Tree Standoff was averted at the last moment with some subtle but timely psychology. Hugo’s chair was moved the day before the tree was put in place, completely avoiding arboreal negative thought association and attendant angst. Hugo and the tree are still co-existing happily as I type; I am nothing short of a genius :-)
These chocolates are NOT for dogs, however depressed they might be (chocolate is very toxic for them). Dark chocolate with a high cocoa content really is a powerful antioxidant (great excuse to justify eating them ;-)). And of course hazelnuts and pears are positively virtuous, making these chocolates practically medicinal. Obviously you can fill them with whatever takes your fancy, but I particularly love the combinations pear/chocolate and hazelnut/chocolate. I think next time I’ll try ginger too…
Ingredients (makes 24 chocolates)
For the shells:
200g dark chocolate, minimum 70% cocoa solids
A silicon mould
For the filling:
100g dark chocolate, minimun 70% cocoa solids
15 hazelnuts, chopped
1 pear, chopped into tiny pieces
Melt 150 g of chocolate in a bain-marie, then add the remaining 50g of non-melted chocolate. Mix with a spatula until the mixture becomes shiny and thickens slightly. Pour into the moulds, immediately turning over to allow the excess to run out. Clean the edges with a spatula and leave to cool for 30 minutes.
To make the filling, bring the cream to a gentle simmer then pour over 100g of chocolate. Separate the mixture into two and mix half with the chopped hazelnuts and the other half with the chopped pear. Cool for 15 minutes and then fill the chocolate moulds three-quarters full with one mixture or the other. Set aside to cool.
Finish off the chocolates by ‘sealing’ with the remaining mould chocolate. Leave to cool for an hour and remove from the moulds by gently tapping.