Chocolate Raspberry Bliss Bites

(from Unforgettable Desserts)

Image posted courtesy of photographer Alexandra Grablewski; food styling by Brian Preston-Campbell

These are raspberry truffles like no other. Each blissful bite-sized truffle features a whole perfect raspberry enveloped in a soft, silky bittersweet chocolate ganache, the whole encased in a thin, crisp chocolate shell. Consider serving these with coffee, tea or an after dinner drink instead of a traditional dessert – when raspberries are in season, of course. Valrhona Manjari and Scharffen Berger Bittersweet both have a very fruity, acidic profile, which complements the raspberries beautifully. The chocolate shell is made with tempered chocolate.

 Makes 60

3/4 cup heavy cream

20 ounces bittersweet chocolate, very finely chopped, such as Valrhona Manjari (64%) or Scharffen Berger (70%), divided into 8 ounces and 12 ounces

2 cups fresh, firm, dry raspberries

60 small fluted paper cups

For Ganache:

Place cream in medium-sized saucepan over medium heat just until it comes to a simmer. Remove from heat and immediately sprinkle 8 ounces chocolate into cream. Cover and sit for 5 minutes; the heat will melt the chocolate. Stir gently until smooth. Pour ganache into a small mixing bowl.

 Line a half-sheet pan with aluminum foil. Gently pat raspberries dry, if necessary. Drop raspberries one at a time onto surface of ganache. Use two spoons to carefully toss the berry back and forth until it is completely covered with ganache. You want just enough ganache to adhere to the berries to cover them completely without having any extra; this will give you the right proportion of fruit to chocolate. They will not be neat and round; they will look like odd shaped lumps of chocolate, which is fine. Place chocolate covered berries on prepared pan, repeat with remaining berries, then refrigerate pan until ganache is completely firm, about two hours, or overnight.

For Chocolate Shell:

Line a jellyroll pan with aluminum foil, shiny side up, smoothing out any wrinkles. Temper remaining 12 ounces of chocolate.

 Drop chilled raspberry centers one at a time into tempered chocolate and use two forks to help submerge and remove them; you are aiming to make as thin and even a coating as possible. When you remove a center from the tempered chocolate, have it balanced on the flat part of the fork and rap the base of the fork on the side of the pot to help any excess chocolate drip back into the pot. Place dipped center on the prepared pan. Repeat with remaining berries and refrigerate until firm, then place in fluted paper cups. Refrigerate in airtight container in a single layer up to 2 days. Remove from refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving.

Tip: The raspberries for this recipe must be very firm and dry. You cannot substitute frozen and even if they are fresh, but the least bit wet or mushy, the recipe will not work. If you follow the directions carefully you will be rewarded with the ultimate truffle experience; these are truly impressive.