This last Christmas dinner, each contributing little house-full to the family gathering decided to split the dinner components between us. True to nature, I was thrilled to land with dessert. In the weeks ahead I spent far too many hours flicking through recipes deciding what to tackle. I swear I was even dreaming about cakes, mousses, big dessert towers and chocolates.
In the end I narrowed it down to three dishes; vegan marbled berry ‘cheese’cake, salted caramel ice cream, and a truffle platter. I was inspired by Chelsea Winter to make Christmas coloured truffles. I saw her brightly coloured red truffles stand out amidst the pre-Christmas feed and thought to myself “yep… these HAVE to be part of my plan!” The plan was all going swimmingly until I hit a wall; my local market had run out of the freeze-dried fruit. After pondering the matter for a minute and stubbornly refusing to give up, I decided to go back a step and dry my own abundant summer fruit.
The truffles in the photo were coated in dried strawberry and found their way into Christmas gift boxes for my husband’s gym-goers. For Christmas day I also did a batch rolled in a half/half mix of dried strawberries and nectarines… all I can say is; wow, it was GOOD. The flavour of the dehydrated fruit is intense – the good kind of intense!
If you don’t have a dehydrator you can coat them with whatever you like. Finely chopped nuts, a dusting of cocoa, desiccated coconut, or some Fresh As freeze dried fruits. Or even dehydrate the fruit at the lowest setting in your oven for several hours until crispy.
Summer Fruit Dark Chocolate Truffles (Gluten & Dairy Free)
3/4 cup coconut milk (full fat)
250g/8.8 ounces dark chocolate 70% cocoa solids or higher (I use Whittakers 72% Dark Ghana)
1 cup desiccated coconut (unsweetened)
1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped (optional)
2x 250g (8.8 ounce) punnet fresh strawberries
or 4 fresh nectarines/peaches
or 5 fresh apricots
or a mix of any/all of the above
or… another coating of your choice (Fresh As powder, chopped nuts, cacao/cocoa powder etc…)
Slice your chosen fruits into very thin slices (as thin as you can get them without slicing all your fingers in the process) and layer on dehydrator trays. Turn on to 45’C/110’F for 12 hours. Flip the pieces over and continue to dry for a further 4 hours until no longer moist – if the slices were slightly thicker and are still quite squishy then continue to dry for a few more hours as required. Turn off the dehydrator and allow the dried fruit to cool (they will crisp further as they cool). Once they are completely cooled, place in the blender or magic bullet (ensuring the equipment is completely dry) and blitz to a fine powder. Transfer this to an airtight container to await the truffles.
Chop the chocolate into small pieces and place in a large bowl with the coconut and chopped cranberries.
In a small saucepan, heat the coconut milk until it’s steaming at the edges. Pour this over the chopped chocolate mixture and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Vigorously stir the mixture with a spoon/spatula until all the chocolate is melted and well incorporated. Place this mixture in the fridge for about 3-4 hours (or overnight) until it’s firmed up nicely to a consistency that’s easy to roll into balls without dripping everywhere.
With clean dry hands, roll a tsp of mixture into a ball then coat with the dried fruit. Continue until you’ve rolled all the truffles then return them to the fridge to set to a gorgeous fudge-like consistency.
Bring them out to wow your guests senses… or just your own!