A sophisticated take on chocolate truffles
For me rooibos became fashionable almost a decade ago. Back then, it was the present day equivalent of quinoa, chia seeds and - in the tea world - matcha, pu ehr and oolong (just to name a few). Exotic, special and rich in extraordinary virtues. A foodie thing. A decade ago nobody was a foodie. In fact, the word "foodie" had not been invented yet. That was still the world before Instagram.
A friend of mine introduced me to rooibos and I was instantly hooked on its naturally sweet, nutty flavor. Now let me introduce you to this magical beverage.
Rooibos is a type of herbal tea from South Africa. The leaves of the Aspalathus linearis plant are oxidized, which gives rooibos its distinctive reddish-brown color. The process is similar to that used to make tea from the Camellia Sinensis leaves. So similar that there is also green rooibos, which - like green tea - is the less oxidized or non-oxidized version. I’ve never tried green rooibos but I must say I am intrigued.
Earl grey tea is a classic in the tea universe. Its scent comes from the rind of the bergamot orange, a type of citrus fruit grown in Italy. Did you know that the bergamot orange is inedible unless further processed (candied, for example)? Anyway, even though I prefer unscented teas, Earl Grey is a very traditional way of flavoring tea and one of my favorite. Imagine my surprise and joy when I found a rooibos Earl Grey tea!
The bergamot scent is very versatile and pairs well with chocolate. I like that it's subtle and very floral. And guess what? Rooibos pairs well with chocolate too! I find that its nutty notes give more depth to dark chocolate. Which is why I decided to make some rooibos Earl Grey dark chocolate truffles. The perfect combination to elevate a simple recipe to something special and sophisticated.
So if you want to learn how to make these rich, melt-in-your-mouth cream-based ganache truffles, which are stunningly elegant and easy to make, read on.
13 oz 72% cacao dark chocolate (370 gr)
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream (175 gr)
2 tablespoons rooibos Earl Grey (preferably loose leaf)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (25 gr)
1/4 cup confectioner's sugar (25 gr)
Before we begin, let me say a word of warning. Chocolate is delicate and high heat can turn it into a bitter lumpy mess. Please be gentle with your chocolate!
Let's start by heating the cream until it comes to a bare simmer (small bubbles will form at the edge). Add the rooibos leaves and infuse (covered) for 30 minutes. Strain the leaves out of the cream, add the chocolate and stir. If the chocolate doesn't melt completely, put the mixture in a double boiler (hot water should not come into contact with the bowl where the chocolate and cream mixture is. That is the secret to handle chocolate gently). When the mixture is silky smooth, refrigerate for at least three hours or overnight. When you are ready to shape your truffles, allow the ganache to warm slightly (it will be easier to manipulate). Mix confectioner's sugar and cocoa powder in a small bowl. Roll ganache into bite-size balls and coat truffles with the cocoa and sugar powders.
Store in the fridge.
What would you pair these beauties with? Rooibos seems to be the most natural pairing. This could become some sort of rooibos-based South African tea ceremony. I would probably dare pairing them with black tea or oolong too. Something floral like the Phoenix Mountain oolong, which is also known as honey orchid. Its floral and fruity notes would go really well with the bergamot scent of the truffles.
What is your favorite rooibos tea? What do you pair it with? Have you ever tried green rooibos? Let me know in the comments below. I am looking forward to reading them!