Oh boy, it’s that time of the year again~! Certain markers, especially the smaller ones like the upcoming Valentine’s Day always startle me in a “didn’t we just do this like… yesterday?”-kind of way. The bigger holidays always seem sooo~ far away but, at least to me, the small ones really make the passing of time blatantly obvious. So, Valentine’s Day in just a bit over a week – as always a reason for Hubby and me not to do what extensive pink, flowery and chocolatey media bombardment expects us to do~!
Let’s see… Did someone mention flowers? That’ll be the ones growing in whichever beautiful place we’re visiting together that day. Sappy movies? You mean the ones running all across the cable while our TV is switched off? And, the big one… Chocolates! Well, of course, if there’s going to be chocolates, it’ll be the ones I made myself a couple of days earlier.
This time around, I decided to take Hubby’s fav from my Easter Eggstravaganza Box of Chocolates 2017 out for a spin, mainly because I know he enjoyed them and secondly because they’re shining a delicious little spot on another one of the usual Valentine’s Day suspects: Hibiscus Blossoms. These pretty eye-candy additions to Champagne flutes are a common sight around these parts, especially on “special occasions” involving a pair of lovebirds like Valentine’s Day, and are readily available in any well-sorted supermarket or store tending to cocktail bars and their needs. Their dried or candied counterparts however, are a rare sight and usually only available at very well sorted dried fruit/nut stalls/Persian delicacy vendors on markets and festivals or online. Sounds just like the right rare and special kind of thing to be the perfect candidate for a love-themed “Special Occasion” box of handmade chocolates, right~?
The Elderflower & Hibiscus Cream Chocolates
40-50 White or Milk Chocolate Shells
300g White Chocolate, finely grated
50g White Chocolate to the side, finely chopped – to seal the shells
5 Tbsp Organic Elderflower Syrup
Alt: 75ml Elderberry Pulp and 75ml Cream – the pulp is insanely hard and expensive to come by around our parts, but – if you like the intense aroma of elderberries – very well worth a try
50g Dried or Candied Hibiscus Blossoms, roughly chopped
Fleur de Sel
1) Pop the chopped blossoms into a small bowl, drizzle them with the syrup and allow them to soak for 30 mins.
2) Meanwhile, get a waterbath-setup going and place the butter and the cream in the bowl. Gently stir the lot while the butter is melting.
3) Add the flowery syrup mixture and 4-5 Tbsp of the cream to a heatproof, stick-blender-friendly container and whizz the lot into a very fine purée.
4) Pour the purée into the remaining cream still in the waterbath-bowl and gently stir until it’s well incorporated into the mix.
5) Turn the heat to the lowest setting possible and leave the blend to infuse for 10 mins.
6) If the cream is threatening to bubble up despite the low heat, take the bowl off the pot for a few minutes.
7) Turn the heat back up to medium and start adding the chocolate in tablespoonfuls. Gently fold each batch into the cream mixture with a rubber spatula until it’s completely dissolved and well incorporated.
8) Take the bowl off of the heat after the last round of the add-and-dissolve game and set it aside to cool off.
9) Grab the plastic trays your empty chocolate cases are sitting in and add 3-4 grains of Fleur de Sel into each shell.
10) Once the filling is at room temperature, move it into a piping bag and pipe the lot into your shells.
11) If you’re using oddly shaped – basically anything that isn’t a simple orb or square, like the egg-shaped ones I used for this – start by filling them up to ½, then tap, jiggle and wriggle the tray a bit to motivate the ganache to spread out into every nook and cranny. Top them off in a second round and tap the tray again to pop any trapped air bubbles.
12) Place the tray in the fridge for 3 hours, giving the ganache the chance to set and chill through before closing up the shells.
13) Melt the remaining chocolate in another waterbath setup, leave it to cool down to room temperature, then carefully close up the openings of the shells.
14) Place the tray back in the fridge – overnight works best here – before decorating them to your heart’s content and stashing them away in an airtight container.
15) Take them out of the fridge about 10-15 mins before serving them.