Sunday, 12 May 2013

a home-made provençal aperitif that makes wonderful truffles

vin d'orange truffles in my parents garden
winter has over extended its stay and in doing so has snatched spring of its element. a british winter is much like its summer. it has a variable temperament. its inconsistency is its chief characteristic. although not my favourite season, i have come to appreciate its turn. there is something charming in the bareness of the trees, mere sharp silhouettes of branch and trunk. a crisp cold morning with silvery sunlight marries well with a breakfast of warm cardamom buns and a milky latte. 

but what i love most about winter are oranges. to me they are the fruit that promises change. their vibrant colour and freshness resists the often dull and grey tones of winter. their sharp, sweet and sometimes astringent nature is everything that winter is not.

this has been a year of preserving and capturing the essence of these sun ripened globes in jars of marmalade and a provençal aperitif called vin d’orange. vin d'orange is traditionally made with the rough and knobbly skinned bitter seville oranges. a base of rosé wine and vodka is infused with slices of seville oranges and lemons. sugar is necessary to soften the harshness of the seville’s. it is easy to make as all that is needed is for these ingredients to be combined in a large jar. then time and a dark corner will lead to conversations that will meld their flavours. you might need to help the conversation along by checking the jar every week and giving it a soft shake. i found i had to add more sugar to counter the seville oranges as they were quite bitter.

vin d'orange
{vin d’orange} 
adapted from samin nosrat’s recipe

a bottle of rosé (i used a left over jacob’s creek from our christmas party) 
a plump vanilla bean 
two hundred and fifty ml vodka 
one long cinnamon stick 
two hundred grams golden sugar (plus more to taste if necessary) 
two seville oranges (sliced in rounds) 
one lemon (sliced in rounds) 

place the orange and lemon slices at the base of a one and a half litre-preserving jar. add the sugar along with the vanilla bean and cinnamon. top with the rosé wine and vodka. secure the lid and place the jar in a cool, dark place for the next forty days. check it from time to time (say around every week). i found that mine had become quite bitter in the third week so i added a couple of tablespoons of sugar and removed some of the seville oranges. it also helps to give it a stir or a gentle shake. 

after the forty day period has passed strain the vin d’orange into a glass bottle. reserve the vanilla bean, spilt into half and scrape the seeds. add these to the aperitif. 

a couple of weeks after the aperitif was done, i was headed to islamabad to see my parents. well aware that i was unable to take a bottle for them, i decided to adapt a recipe for red wine truffles. it turned out to be a rather perfect marriage. i refrained from heating the vin d’orange so as to keep its full potency. instead, i melted the chocolate in a double boiler and introduced the vin d’orange to it. it is perhaps for this reason that the truffles had a softer texture than if i had done as the recipe originally called for. i will leave you to experiment with that. 

{vin d’orange truffles} 
adapted from pastry affair’s red wine truffles

two hundred and twenty-five grams high quality dark chocolate (i use callebaut callets) 
thirty grams butter 
one hundred and twenty ml vin d’orange 
forty grams cocoa powder 

place the dark chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl on a double boiler. leave it to melt. once it is mostly melted give it a stir and remove it from the double boiler. the residual heat will allow it to melt fully. 

once it is fully melted add the vin d’orange and stir together. allow the mixture to cool, stirring it every five to ten minutes. this process will take up to two hours. (i suspect that was the case because our kitchen is quite warm). you might have a different experience. do not be tempted to refrigerate the mixture though as the quality of your truffles will suffer. 

the truffles are ready to be shaped when the mixture is firm enough to hold its own. before you start rolling the truffles place the cocoa powder in a small bowl. use a teaspoon to scoop some of the truffle mixture. i made teaspoon sized ones but you can make them smaller or larger as you please. roll them gently between your palms until it forms a sphere. then drop the truffle into the cocoa powder and roll till covered. you could also make free-form truffles that are slightly irregular but still look pretty. 

store the truffles at room temperature for a week or in the fridge for up to three weeks. you can give them an additional dusting in cocoa powder if they appear to have lost their original coat. 

the vin d’orange can also be enjoyed in a less covert fashion. drink it on ice for a refreshing summer drink. 

No comments:

Post a Comment