Chocolate and Tahini

I love chocolate. I don’t mean in the typically British “sit down and devour a pound of Dairy Milk” love of chocolate. I lived in Brussels for almost four years, and my love is for the treasures you find in a chocolatier – dark, delicious, decadent and a Very Serious Thing. Most of all, I love the innovation when it comes to flavours. Forget Roses and After Eights (*), Belgium is looking at cardamom, tea, bergamot, fresh pink peppercorns, fleur de sel caramel, mango, cloves, saffron, jasmine, tamarind and all manner of other exotic and unusual tastes. Their chocolate also follows fashion – one of my favourites, Pierre Marcolini, produces temporary selections, beautifully presented and available for a few months before they are gone forever. Perhaps their fleeting presence in the shop is part of the attraction – trying something wonderful that you just can’t have again.

Chocolate and Brussels are inextricably linked, but I need to focus on London, so what does our fair city offer? I am a fan of Paul A Young, and when he recently brought out a book, I ordered it forthwith. When it arrived at work, I snuck off to a café to enjoy the secret pleasure of reading his recipes without and distractions. A good recipe collection can be as thrilling as any art book or a good novel as you read the recipe, admire the photos and try to imagine just how the tastes and flavours would work together.

So bringing this all together, I wanted to make chocolates with an unusual flavour. Then I came across an enticing idea – honey and tahini truffles. This is a winning combination on its own (try on a hot bagel on a cold Sunday morning), so these truffles sound quite thrilling. As you can see below, they look great with their nifty little rugby-ball shape.

HOW TO MAKE IT:

Makes about 20 truffles and takes about 30 minutes (not including setting time).

• 100ml water
• 20g honey
• 35g tahini
• 170g dark chocolate, chopped into very small pieces.
• 50g sesame seeds, lightly toasted

Boil the water and the honey, add the tahini and simmer until well mixed. Stir well, and pour the hot mixture over the chopped chocolate and whisk until smooth to form a chocolate ganache. Put the chocolate mixture somewhere cool and leave to set for at least two hours.

Once the mixture is firm, use teaspoons to form dollops of ganache into the desired shape, and roll in the sesame seeds. Voila!

WOULD I MAKE IT AGAIN?

I liked these, but didn’t love them. I wanted something with more of a tahini kick to them, and I felt there was not quite enough there. This was probably to do with the mild tahini I used – a stronger paste with a more pronounced “nutty” flavour would probably work better.

I would also think about increasing the amount of honey. I used French rosemary honey I had in the cupboard – delicious, but the depth of flavour wasn’t there.

Messing around with a ganache recipe can be tricky, but I think it is worth trying here. They certainly look stunning, so I’ll make these again but with a few tweaks.

* Well, I do have a weak spot for Cadbury’s Roses from time to time.

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