Something Wicked This Way Comes

Truffes De 'Nduja

I’m going to preface this by saying that this post is probably not for everyone.  With that in mind, I suggest you read on at your own risk.

Just before Christmas, Larbo and I were discussing ‘nduja and fate happened to drop this on my lap.  Being that our combined aptitude for deciphering Italian is mediocre at best, the consensus we reached was that it was a recipe for an ‘nduja and cocoa nib pasta sauce, but at the time we were unable to tell whether it was actually a traditional recipe from the Calabrian region that ‘nduja hails from, or just some kind of joke or one off creation.  Both somewhat perplexed, the bizarre medley has been on my mind ever since.

Generally speaking, Larbo, Scott and I have been good-naturedly one upping each other with this ‘nduja stuff since we all started making it early last year.  It’s become somewhat of a common theme in our posts, and I’m pretty comfortable saying that it’s likely one of the top trafficked search terms that brings people to our individual sites (I know it is on mine).

But, I just couldn’t shake this chocolate/’nduja feeling, so after much deliberation I decided what direction I wanted to take it in – that which has always been near and dear to my heart; the truffle.

Miscellaneous Bar Ends

I began by melting down a variety of chocolate bar ends from some French chocolates my super-nice boss had brought me back after a recent business trip.

Melting

I used a 2:1 ratio of chocolate to cream to create a rich, decadent ganache with dark cocoa solids ranging from 99% to the low 80s.

Tempering

Once the chocolate bits were melted, I heated and cooled the mixture until it was properly tempered.

And Then There Was Meat

Once the ganache was tempered, I slowly began scooping ‘nduja in by the tablespoonful.  After close to half a cup of the fiery spread was incorporated, I felt the ganache exhibited a palatable level of heat.  Because the truffles would be served cold, I seasoned a bit heavier than I would have otherwise, but the end result was a silky smooth mixture with a warming hint of spice as well as a glossiness on the tongue.

'Nduja Ganache

After chilling the ganache, it took on the robustly red colour of the spicy ‘nduja.  Scooping it into little balls and rolling with fast hands, I coated the ganache niblets in rich cocoa powder and chilled them once more.

After they’d firmed up again I took a moment to sample one.  For a first attempt at incorporating ‘nduja I thought they were quite good, though perhaps next time I would whip the ganache a little bit after adding the ‘nduja to give it a fluffier texture.  Overall, it certainly retained the main characteristics that I love about ‘nduja, while at the same time sitting firmly in dessert territory.

For those of you who think this is all quite strange, I will remind you of my chocolate guanciale toffee and roasted garlic caramel.

Clearly, I often deal in weird.

But it can’t be that off the mark.  I read recently that Toronto’s own Xococava is making chorizo truffles, so I don’t see why ‘nduja couldn’t be the next logical step.  People eat chili pepper chocolate all the time, after all.

Surely I’ll be revisiting this topic again soon, because it certainly merits further experimentation.  Who knows.  ‘Nduja truffles could be the new chocolate covered bacon!

Until next time…

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3 Responses to “Something Wicked This Way Comes”

  1. dschrei2 says:

    Nice one! With my chocolate and chocolatiering partner, I am contemplating an avocado truffle, but this blows everything else out of the water in terms of creativity (and I bet taste, as well!). Clever combinations with cacao may indeed be something deeply ingrained in the Italian psyche, in Seattle, there are several people selling variants of cocoa/chocolate pasta http://blog.seattlepi.com/franticfoodie/archives/140196.asp
    I don’t know what can top ‘nduja truffles, but maybe ‘nduja meatballs on cocoa pasta is in order.

  2. mochapj says:

    Dan, I like the way you think!

    I’ve seen chocolate pasta a few times in the past, but to combine it with ‘nduja meatballs would be brilliant, I bet! I may just have to try that :)

  3. [...] I’ve yet to test drive a single recipe, but after my recent experimentations with chocolate and ‘nduja I’ve been inexplicably drawn to some of his more whimsical combinations, [...]

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