Introduction: Truffle Schwarz - a Bacon Confection
This chocolate truffle recipe builds on the classic appetizer bacon wrapped prunes (or "ciruelas pasas con tocino " if you find yourself in a tapas bar, olá!) by introducing new flavors and a more delicate appearance. I'd like to imagine these little bacon chocolates as the perfect ending for a lovely dinner with a special someone (who is not a vegetarian).. maybe accompanied by a glass of red wine, candle light.. you get the picture.
Truffle Schwarz only need four basic ingredients and you don't have to have a whole lot of kitchen experience to recreate this tasty little treat. So give it a try some time! My friends, men and women alike, all enjoyed them and if you're a bacon fan I think your taste buds will be pleasantly surprised, too!
Truffle Schwarz are my contribution to the Bacon Contest , for which this recipe was created. So if you like what you see, please consider giving it your vote! Thank you!
Step 1: What You Need
You will need the following ingredients (for 12 truffles):
Bacon, 12 + 3 slices : Look for a thin cut. Thin, uneven slices will make for a tighter and in the end more even wrapping. Around here this tends to be the cheaper stuff. However, if you can get thin, uneven sliced bacon from happy pigs from your local farmer, get that.
Chocolate, 3oz. / 100g bar : No compromise in quality here. For Truffle Schwarz you need dark chocolate with 80% cacao content. Preferably look for chocolate that has no additives. The taste of cacao consists of 400 something different flavors so in my opinion there is no need to add any more, like vanilla e.g., unless the raw materials are of lesser quality.
Prunes, 12 : Get medium sized ones, about an inch wide. Otherwise all brands I tried were fine.
Pistachio nuts, 12 + a couple of them (6-7) : Dry roasted and salted. In this case bigger is better but if you can't get your hands on the jumbo nuts, any regular sort will do.
Some useful kitchen utensils include:
- a chopping board , a kitchen knife , a tea spoon or two, a fork and a skewer
- a baking tray lined with baking paper or aluminum foil , for this instructable I used the latter
- a pot and a similar sized metal bowl if you want to melt the chocolate on the stove, like I did here
- a couple sheets of wax paper , though baking paper or even aluminum foil will do, too
- paper towels
- a kitchen sieve
Optional but recommended: a kitchen thermometer
Step 2: Stuffing the Prunes
Preheat the oven to 350° F / 175° C.
Now start by preparing the pistachio nuts. Remove the shell as well as the skin. You don't have to be incredibly thorough here, just squeeze them between your fingers or use a small kitchen knife to scrape of the bigger part of the skin, depending on how loose it is. It's perfectly fine if some skin remains on the nuts.
Now take your prunes and stuff each with one pistachio nut. Lucky for you, the prunes come with two holes through which the plum stones has been squeezed out. Use those to get the nuts in. Squeeze the prunes to get the pistachios roughly centered.
Put the remaining nuts aside.
Step 3: Wrapping It Up
Take a bacon strip and slice it in half lengthwise. Pick up the first thin strip and wrap it around a stuffed prune. Go from left to right, top to bottom and across. Do the same with the second strip but start in the opposite direction. What you are going for is an even layer of bacon that leaves no spots uncovered.
Place the prune on the baking tray with the end of the outer strip facing down. Repeat with the remaining prunes.
Place another three slices of bacon on the tray.
When you are all set, slide the baking tray into the oven, which should have reached the desired temperature by now.
Step 4: Cooking
Cook the prunes for about 25 minutes or until they turn medium brown. Remember to remove the three extra slices of bacon after a good ten minutes. They should be very crisp but not burned, which would happen if you left them in for the whole time.
Place them on a couple of paper towels to drain the fat. Do the same with the prunes after they are done.
Since the bacon shrinks during cooking it is very likely that with some prunes a bit of pulp will squeeze out or even the pistachio stone. Not to worry though, just stuff the nuts back into the prunes after cooking and cut off any excess pulp. Depending on your tolerance for heat you can do this straight away or after you let them cool for a bit. Since they become firmer while cooling this should be done quickly though.
Put the prunes aside to let them cool to room temperature. If you are in a hurry you can put them in the fridge for a couple of minutes but they should be at room temperature before you cover them with chocolate.
Step 5: Preparing the Decoration
Start this step by munching away one of the bacon strips, you only need two. (Quality control is essential!)
Now chop up the remaining pistachio nuts as well as the bacon strips. Don't mince them too finely, i.e. don't pulverize them. One should still be able to identify what it is. Press the bacon bits between some paper towels once more to drain any excess grease.
To get the proper sized bits for decorating your truffles and not the tiny crumbs, put everything in the kitchen sieve and whack it gently until crumbs stop falling out. Put the pistachio-bacon-mix aside. (after you had a little spoon full, yum!)
Step 6: Preparing the Chocolate
Now, when I was younger we would just melt chocolate, spill it over the birthday cake and let it cool. Turns out we did it all wrong! Chocolate is a much more delicate substance than one might think, with different kinds of crystals, melting at different temperatures, setting and even different temperatures.. So, to get the perfect, firm, shiny coating you have to properly temper the chocolate.
I will show you the basic steps here. For more detailed information on how to temper chocolate, have look at scoochmaroo's instructable and for even more detailed information see this scientific approach .
Fill the pot with about an inch of water and place the bowl on it. Put it on the stove at low heat .
Mince the whole block of chocolate by shaving off thin flakes with your kitchen knife. This will make the melting process quicker and easier than it would be with big chunks. Put about two thirds into the bowl.
Stir until the chocolate has melted completely. Check the temperature and keep heating until it reaches about 118° F / 48° C. Because of the high cacao content the temperatures you are looking for are at the top end of the chocolate-tempering-spectrum.
Turn off the heat and remove the bowl from the pot and add the remaining third of the chocolate flakes and keep stirring until it has melted completely. The temperature should now be down to about 90° F / 32° C. If it's still considerably hotter place the bowl on a cool surface and keep stirring. If the temperature dropped too far, put it back on the pot to gently heat it up to the desired temperature. If necessary repeat this during the next steps to maintain a temperature around 90° F or the chocolate will get too thick and it will be harder to work with.
If you don't have a kitchen thermometer or if you really just don't care that much, throw two thirds of the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl, put it in the microwave, give it a couple of short bursts at a high setting, stir in between until everything is melted, give it another burst, add the remaining chocolate, stir until melted and be done with it. It's unlikely you achieve the best results this way but it probably won't end in a chocolate disaster either.
Step 7: Coating and Decorating
Dip each bacon-prune in the melted chocolate and place it on a sheet of wax paper. This step isn't absolutely necessary, especially if you are going to cover the truffles by turning them around in the chocolate but I feel it gives them a nicer base.
Let the chocolate set for about 15 minutes. Depending on how successful you were with the tempering process it might take longer for the chocolate to set. In that case just put the truffles in the fridge for a couple of minutes.
When the chocolate base is set, place each truffle on a fork and spoon chocolate over it until it's completely covered. If you prefer you can just put them directly in the bowl one at a time and turn them around in the chocolate. I feel this tends to be more messy though.
Place the truffles on a sheet of wax paper. I like to use a skewer to get the truffle off the fork to avoid spreading out the chocolate too much. You can do a couple of truffles before you start decorating, the chocolate won't set that quickly.
Sprinkle a bit of pistachio-bacon mix over each truffle using a tea spoon.
Usually when it comes to decoration I'd say go nuts. However, I think with chocolates like these it's always nice to give the people who are supposed to eat them an idea of what's inside.
Let the chocolate set completely. This shouldn't take longer than an hour. If the chocolate doesn't seem to set properly, put the truffles in the fridge. Even though, according to the internet, this is not the preferred method, you will end up with a firm chocolate cover, one way or the other.
Step 8: Final Thoughts
Et voila: the Truffle Schwarz !
Personally I think once they are done they look quite a bit more elaborate than the ingredients would suggest. I suppose one could cook up plum butter from fresh prunes, crochet a tiny bacon nest, add a couple of different flavors, but really, I think simplicity often works best.
But either way, most importantly they should be fun to eat! So if you are going to give this recipe a try I hope you'll enjoy the results!
These will store well for a couple of days on the shelf. If you want to store them in the fridge, get them out in time to allow them to warm to room temperature before serving them. No one likes the taste of cold lard. (I think. I know I don't!)
Thanks for reading this instructable!