I will be the first to admit that my desserts tend to lean heavily towards baked goods. Portability is a big thing for me – primarily because (as I’ve said previously), I give most of my desserts away, so they need to be able to be transported. This means that it’s rare that desserts I’m making reach a specific level of sophistication and elegance (unless on the rare occasions that I’m hosting friends for dinner.)
Luckily, I came across Valerie Gordon’s Sweet. This cookbook is almost all desserts (plus jams and breakfast) and divided by category: including desserts in a bowl, cookies, cakes, pies and my personal favourite: the candies. Instead of the normal truffle recipes found in dessert cookbooks, these use interesting and unusual combinations. The truffles include recipes which use black pepper, raspberry, creme fraiche, while the caramels use some grey sea salt.
I loved that this really leveled up my knowledge of flavouring, as well as baking, candy making and decorating, so this is definitely a good idea for any self-taught baker looking to improve skills!
Black Pepper Truffles (from Sweet)
9 ounces double cream
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
11.5 ounces bittersweet tempered dark chocolate
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon canola oil
3 ounces melted dark chocolate
1/4 teaspoon finely ground pepper
Put the cream, 2 tablespoons of pepper and corn syrup in a saucepan over a medium heat and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and allow to steep for several hours.
Melt the 3 ounces of dark chocolate. I used dark chocolate candy melts, as I am the least sophisticated person ever, but you could also melt down fine quality dark chocolate.