These truffles started as an idea when I was looking at the pretty stale end of my sourdough. I thought about blitzing it into breadcrumbs and incorporating that into a bake somehow. Which then sparked the idea of adding them to a truffle! Around the same time as this I had been reading about a water ganache.
Now I’d always been under the impression that water and chocolate did NOT mix, so I was really intrigued to learn that they can combine to create a beautifully silky ganache. It seems that actually if you want to temper chocolate then water is the enemy. But when making ganache, water can be perfectly substituted for cream. This excited me twofold.
- Cream adds a whole world of calories to a truffle, whereas water does not! – (not that there’s anything wrong with having a treat, but as the taste doesn’t change it seems a win win to me!)
- So long as you use good quality dark chocolate, it means the ganache is vegan!
So with all this in mind I set to work.
I wanted to add a little more flavour to the truffles rather than just the sourdough crumbs, so I decided to infuse the water with earl grey – or as my boyfriend sassily pointed out…”make tea”. It is a little more than that though, and honestly I think I made this “tea” about 6 times until I perfected it. You want to simmer the water, tea bags and sugar together for 3 minutes; so the sugar is dissolved and the tea infused. The problem with this though, is that the water evaporates. I needed to figure out the right amount of water to start with, that then left enough for my ganache ratio to be correct. For this water ganache to work, you need a ratio of 1 : 2.5 (water to ganache).
So, once the tea has been steeped the water needs to cool down again to room temperature. This is key, so that once we melt the chocolate into the water, they start at the same temperature. Temperature is paramount when it comes to ganache; extreme changes in temperature will cause it to split. Split ganache can be saved, but its a faff you don’t need.
So for water ganache my main piece of advice is to over-estimate how fragile it is. Then you should have no problems and your ganache will be silky smooth! What I mean by that is, keep the heat on your bain-marie super low (remember chocolate will melt in your hand, it doesn’t need a lot of heat) and don’t stir too much or too fast. Look after your ganache and it will be perfect.
Wondering where the breadcrumbs are at?!
Once your ganache is back to room temperature you can slowly stir in the breadcrumbs. Remember, contrasting temperature are a ganaches enemy! At this point give your ganache a taste. If the earl grey flavour isn’t coming through as strongly as you’d like, add a few drops of orange extract to help amplify the flavour.
After that the ganache will need to set before you can roll it in little balls that create our truffle shape. The final step is then to dip your balls into melted chocolate to give them a shiny coat. And voila! For optimum dipping I use a ‘skimmer’…(I had to look up what its actually called and apparently that’s its official title)! Its basically a spiral tool that is perfect for nestling a truffle in while you dip it in chocolate. I’ve had mine for years and it makes dipping SO easy. I can’t find the exact tool I have, but this is exactly the same bar a bright pink handle. If you don’t have a spiral tool, a fork can do the job!
And there we are, delicious vegan tea and toast truffles. These are best served at room temperature, and will last a good few weeks!
On with the recipe:
Vegan Tea and Toast Truffles
- 200 ml water
- 6 earl grey teabags
- 40 g sugar
- 55 g sourdough bread plus more for decoration
- 400 g dark chocolate around 74%
- 1/2 tsp orange extract
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil
- Firstly place the water, teabags and sugar into a small saucepan and place over a high heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar and bring to the boil. Then simmer for 3 minutes with the lid on. Take off the heat and set aside to cool.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 175C. Break up the bread into small chunks and place into a baking tray. Bake for 15-20 minutes, stirring every now and then until the bread is golden and crisp. Then blitz in a food processor to very fine crumbs. Then set aside.
- Squeeze the teabags to extract all the moisture and discard. Pour the infused water into a large heat-proof bowl (you should be left with 120ml), and add 300g of the chocolate broken into small pieces. Place over a pan of water (ensuring the base of the bowl does not touch the water) on a medium-low heat. Stir every now and then, until the chocolate has almost melted. Take off the heat and stir gently until all chocolate is melted, then set aside to cool to room temperature.
- Gently stir in the breadcrumbs. At this point, taste the ganache and if the tea flavour isn’t strong enough, add in the orange extract. Then cover and leave to set for 1-2 hours until the ganache has thickened to a scoop-able consistency.
- Once the ganache is ready, line a baking tray with baking paper. Scoop the ganache and roll into small balls, then place onto the baking tray. Repeat this until all the ganache is used – you should make 25 balls. Then cover the tray, and place in the freezer for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, place the remaining 100g of dark chocolate (broken into small pieces) and the oil into a small heat-proof bowl. Melt in the microwave in 20 second increments, stirring between each, until the chocolate has fully melted. Dip each chilled truffle into the melted chocolate and place back onto the baking tray to set. Sprinkle each with sourdough breadcrumbs.