Pumpkins are beginning to appear at retail outlets and farm stands across the country. It is a sure sign that Halloween is creeping up on us. I have always enjoyed carving a jack-o-lantern for our front porch and challenge myself to try more difficult designs each year. My husband will scoop and remove all the seeds and guts so I can spend my time and effort on creating a cool design. For years we enjoyed attending our friends’ harvest party during which the guests would all carve pumpkins. We would spread plastic garbage bags all over the floor and sit and carve for hours. Then we’d all line our pumpkins up outside and illuminate them. We have great memories of those gatherings.
The smell of pumpkin mixed with cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger wafting through the house brings up warm memories of childhood. My mom didn’t bake too often, but she always made pumpkin bread each year. The bread was always so moist and tender and full of spicy goodness. My husband’s favorite dessert is pumpkin pie, so we have it often throughout the fall. As a chocolatier, I am always looking to create new flavors. I wanted to make a truffle that encompassed all the wonderful flavors of pumpkin pie and pumpkin bread. I think this recipe is just right.
Below are instructions for creating these delicious truffles. I created the outer shells from pure tempered chocolate. If you aren’t experienced at tempering or don’t have a tempering machine in your kitchen (because, really, who does besides me?), you can use confectionery coating. For chocolate melting instructions, go here.
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
pinch of salt
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
18 ounces good quality white chocolate
1/4 cinnamon chips (Hershey’s)
1 1/2-2 pounds semi-sweet chocolate, tempered
or 1 1/2-2 pounds dark confectionery coating
Prepare double boiler. Set bottom pot of double boiler, filled with 1″ of water, over low heat. Set top bowl on bottom pot, being sure that water does not touch bowl. Combine all the pumpkin ganache ingredients in the top bowl. Stir occasionally until melted and smooth.
Pour ganache into a bowl. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly on the top of your ganache, so a crust wont form. Let cool to room temperature.
|Savage Bros. Machine|
Melt the semi-sweet chocolate or confectionery coating. Pour melted chocolate into a disposable pastry bag. Cut off the tip of the bag.
Pictured above is one of my chocolate melting machines. Each machine hold up to 50 lbs. of chocolate and allows the melted chocolate to flow out of a spout in front or be scooped out from above. I’ve had two of these Savage Bros. Machines since 1995 and love them. Even though I operate my chocolate business out of my house now, I wont part with these machines. They make tempering large batches of chocolate a snap.
Pipe chocolate into the cavities of a pumpkin shaped candy mold. Fill to the top.
Tap the mold on the table several times to allow air bubbles to rise to the surface. I use a small vibrating table to do the work for me. It’s not that I’m lazy, it’s just that at times I fill hundreds of molds a day, and this machine just makes it easier.
Turn your filled mold upside down over your bowl of chocolate. Allow most of the chocolate to drip out of the mold, leaving only a thin shell of chocolate.
Use an offset spatula or a putty knife (from the hardware store) to scrape off the excess chocolate. You want the top edge of each cavity to be clean.
Once cleaned, put mold in the refrigerator if you are using tempered chocolate, or the freezer if using confectionery coating. Allow the chocolate to set completely.
Spoon pumpkin ganache into a disposable pastry bag. Cut off the tip and pipe ganache into each chocolate filled mold. Seal each cavity with chocolate and scrape off any excess chocolate. Chill until set.
Turn mold upside down and allow chocolate to fall out of mold. If the pieces don’t come out easily, you can press the backside gently until the chocolates come out.