Belgian Chocolate Truffles
When moving to Australia with my wife Hilde, part of the deal was that she wouldn’t have to miss her chocolate. So we opened a chocolate business, Vanderwee Chocolates, in Sydney in 1995.
This truffle recipe originally belonged to Hilde’s grandmother. She was from Gent, near Bruges, and died ten years ago. She kept the recipe close to her heart. Hilde’s mother, Regina, who is 88 and lives in Bruges, now makes the truffles and passed the recipe on to Hilde.
Regina usually makes the truffles on special occasions when the family comes over and around wintertime – chocolate-making is not a special hobby; it’s just something to do on winter evenings, like knitting or watching TV. Every family in Belgium works a lot with chocolate. It’s part of our daily life.
Hilde can also make the truffles, but no other types of chocolate! It’s hard to make them [here] as it’s difficult to find the right ingredients in Australia. Occasionally at Easter, when our chocolate eggs are a bit damaged and they can’t be sold, Hilde makes truffles out of them.
125g good-quality dark chocolate*
100g unsalted butter, chopped into small cubes
100g icing sugar
50g almond meal
1 egg yolk, lightly whisked
1/2 teaspoon alcohol, such as brandy, Cointreau, Grand Marnier or Cognac (optional)
Almond shavings and/or sugared cocoa powder, to coat
1) Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over pan of simmering water (otherwise known as a bain-marie) and stir until it slowly melts. Make sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water, so as not to burn the chocolate. Stir butter into the chocolate until combined.
2) Once the chocolate mixture has melted, sift in the icing sugar and almond meal, then add the egg yolk and alcohol (if desired). Mix to combine, ensuring the mixture doesn’t become too runny. Allow to set in the fridge for about half an hour.
3) Line a tray with baking paper. Mould the chocolate into small balls and roll them in the almond shavings and/or sugared cocoa powder. Place truffles on the tray and allow to set in the fridge. If storing the truffles in the fridge, make sure to place them in an airtight container. They are best enjoyed within 2 days of cooking.
Geniet van uw creatie – enjoy what you created!
* Never consider using cooking or supermarket-bought chocolate. You should choose quality chocolate that has five ingredients or less such as Valrhona, Cluizel or Callebaut (ensure it is made in Belgium).
For more on Hendrik’s story and Belgian cuisine, see our feature story here