West Country hotties
For this one, I've sourced the main ingredients from the south-west for a perfect West Country treat. When it comes to chocolate, Willie Harcourt-Cooze is your man: he now has all sorts of chocolate products under his belt – all produced in Somerset. His drops are ideal for making these fiery chocolate truffles. You may not be able to get access to Michael Michaud's chillies to dry (as I mentioned in my introduction) but ordinary dried chilli flakes will do.
700g Willie's Cacao Chef's Drops, Rio Caribe (reserve 250g for coating)
400ml double cream
200g unsalted, softened butter
100ml 3-year-old Somerset Cider Brandy
1-2tsp dried chilli flakes, chopped over with a knife
60g good-quality cocoa powder
Bring the cream to the boil, remove from the heat and gradually stir in 400g of the chocolate with a whisk until it has melted and the mixture is smooth; then stir in the butter, chillies and cider brandy.
Transfer the mixture into a bowl and leave to cool in the fridge (for about 1-1 ½ hours) until firm enough to spoon into rough shapes.
Line a tray with clingfilm and spoon the mixture into roughly-shaped blobs on the clingfilm. You can make them as small or as large as you like. Leave to set in the fridge until firm and solid.
Melt the rest of the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water, stirring every so often. Remove from the heat and leave to cool for a few minutes. Sift the cocoa powder on to a tray and have a third, clean tray ready for the finished truffle.
Using a thin skewer or cocktail stick, dip them quickly into the melted chocolate, ensuring as much excess as possible drains off, then put them into the cocoa powder, shaking the tray so they become coated.
When you have about 10-12 coated, shake off the excess cocoa with your hands and transfer them to the clean tray. Store in the fridge in a container lined with kitchen paper until required, and bring them out of the fridge half an hour or so before serving. Don't keep them for more than a month – as if anyone could go that long without devouring them all.
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