Thursday, 4 November 2010

Milk Chocolate & Lemon Balm Ganache with Ground Cherries

After my tea and chocolate tasting event last month, I was desperate to try making some ganache a la Marc Demarquette - was it really so simple to make a ganache that didn't split and such a delicious one at that?  I'd had an idea about using lemon balm as a flavouring for a long time and my lemon balm was fast succumbing to winter's chill, so it was now or never. I spent so long pondering on what I could use the ganache for, that I ran out of time to do anything other than just make it. I had some Chocolate by Trish to try, so with a couple of her milk chocolate 38% buttons to set me up for what I hoped was not going to be an ordeal, I set to.

This is what I did:
  • Brought 150ml of double cream up to the boil, threw in a handful of fresh lemon balm leaves, clamped the lid on and left for a couple of hours.
  • Melted 250g milk chocolate buttons (Chocolate by Trish 38%)
  • Brought cream up to near boiling point again, then poured on to the chocolate (through a sieve).  Added 1/2 tsp Cornish honey.
  • Used a whisk to gently stir, almost fold the liquids together until all incorporated into a beautiful glossy mass.
  • Placed 24 ground cherries at the bottom of some chocolate moulds then spooned the ganache over the top.
  • I left these to set, hoping I could turn them out cleanly - hey ho, best laid plans!
As can be seen from the photographs, they did not come out cleanly at all, but I did produce a beautifully shiny ganache which didn't split - hoorah!  As befits a cook's chocolate, these buttons melted beautifully, producing a smooth but not quite liquid pool of deliciousness. I nearly swooned as I  licked out the warm ganache from the bowl - it was every bit as good as Marc's, though I say it myself.  Imagine a glorious mixture of creamy chocolate and toffee suffused with a subtle lemon undertone, that's what I could taste. The lemon balm worked really well, it was present, but in no way dominated.  CT thought these were the apogee of unctuousness - definitely one to swirl around the mouth with a warm cup of tea.  He thought the ground cherries, nice as they were, seemed a bit superfluous.  I had to agree, these truffles would have been better savoured on their own with no distractions.  Coated in a good dark chocolate to make true truffles, they would also have been delicious, but I still haven't quite got my head around tempering.  Christmas is fast approaching, however, so I don't think I can put it off much longer.

Recently launched at Selfridges, Chocolate by Trish is a range of chocolate produced specifically for cooks and comes in the shape of buttons (which weigh a handy 5g each), shards or dust (cocoa powders). The paper bags are waxed inside and have a re-sealable top. Trish Deseine, the eponymous food writer behind the brand has also produced chocolate making kits.  All of her products are available at Selfridges.

The buttons were well balanced, creamy, rich and for a milk variety, strongly chocolatey - I could quite happily have eaten the whole 350g bagful.  Somehow, the flavour and mouth feel reminded me of a silky smooth good quality hot chocolate - nice!  I still have 100g of Trish's buttons left so am looking forward to trying them in another guise.  I would also like to try her 64% and 74% dark varieties.

19 comments:

  1. Yummmmmmm.
    looking nice thanks for share.

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  2. They look delicious. I will have to try your way of doing a ganache, the lemon balm flavour sounds good. Our garden is overrun with lemon balm, so if I could make a delicious use of it that would be a bonus.

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  3. Choclette....*whispering* you can do it. You know you can...temper, temper, temper. Just think of those delectable lemon balm morsels dipped into beautiful glossy, shiny, snappy, tempered chocolate. Cheer squad here and ready when you do :-)

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  4. Thanks very much for your comment about my boys - I was really touched.

    And your chocolates look lovely to me

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  5. Homemade chocolate ganache is one of things in life which can make us feel rich, regardless of circumstances! It's hard not to just eat it with a spoon, isn't it? I love the idea of lemon balm flavoured ganache!

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  6. Oh wow, I can only imagine how wonderful the subtle lemon balm must be. Glad to hear these are being enjoyed with a warm cup of tea ;)

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  7. Ganache success! Yay! Sounds absolutely delicious. Will we be seeing you launch your own range of chocolates at some point ?

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  8. Now I know what to do with that lemon balm in the garden! And yes, when is your range coming out?!

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  9. Wow...these sound great. A very impressive chocolate treat!

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  10. Andhra - thank you

    Kath -I'd been thinking about lemon balm for ages as a good flavouring for ganache so I was really pleased it worked so well. To be fair though, I don't think making some ganache is going to clear your lemon balm for you :) We've only a tiny patch but still have far more than we can use. We drink it in the spring and summer as a tea - it's one of my favourites but is even better when combined with blackcurrant leaves. Keep meaning to dry some leaves for the winter, but have not yet managed it.

    CityHippy - I know and I do want to crack it for Christmas, I just need a good clear spell of time when not much else is going on. I shall try to follow in your footsteps.

    Johanna - thank you

    Celia - yes, you've got that just right - it does make you feel rich and cosseted too. And actually, this would be wonderful served warm in a bowl with a group of friends/family dipping in with fruit or biscuits or spoons :0

    Hazel - I've become a convert to tea and chocolate now.

    Joanna - you get your bakery and I'll have a think about the chocolates. Have to get that tempering sorted!

    KitchenMaid - as I just said to Kath, lemon balm makes lovely tea.

    Karen - thank you for your kind comment and thanks for following too.

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  11. these look so lovely and im sure it is to die for! thank you for sharing this.

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  12. What a beautiful chocolate treat!!

    New to your blog but lovin' it!

    Mary xo
    Delightful Bitefuls

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  13. Oh yes! A definite winner here.
    I had read that Trish Deseine was bringing out chocolate making kits and chocolates. These would make great Xmas presents.

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  14. I have sooooo much Lemon Balm in the garden and very rarely use it for anything other than tea. Now I have this great recipe and an excuse to cook with chocolate...!

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  15. Phwoar! Who likes perfectly-shaped truffles anyway? ;)

    Where do you get your lemon balm leaves from, or do you grow the stuff in your garden?

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  16. BlackBook - thanks for visiting and your kind comment

    Mary - thank you, hope you come back and visit again

    Maggie - thanks, I think I might need one of those chocolate making kits myself!

    Dom - hey, another lemon balm tea drinker - it's great stuff, but it does tend to take over. And it is especially good for flavouring chocolate I've now discovered.

    Aforkful - thanks, that's cheered me up - nothing like a bit of enthusiasm. Yes, the lemon balm is in our garden. Not sure how easy it is to obtain from shops, but if you know anyone who grows their own herbs, they are sure to have plenty of lemon balm to give away.

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  17. These sound great, a delicious recipe

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  18. Have to try this recipe sounds Delicious :)

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  19. Recipe looks tricky but the result looks fab!

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