To be inspired to cook is an easy thing, but to be inspired to cook with emotion? Well, very few do this as well as “Tita.”
“Se desprenden con mucho cuidado los pétalos de las rosas, procurando no pincharse los dedos, pues aparte de que es muy doloroso (el piquete), los pétalos pueden quedar impregnados de sangre y esto, aparte de alterar el sabor del platillo, puede provocar reacciones químicas, por demás peligrosas. Pero Tita era incapaz de recordar este pequeño detalle ante la intensa emoción que experimentaba al recibir un ramo de rosas, de manos de Pedro.” (Como Agua Para Chocolate, del Capítulo III, Marzo, Codornices en Pétalos de Rosas)
The first time I read Laura Esquivel’s novel Como Agua Para Chocolate, I was struck by the sensousness of Tita’s cooking. One of the most memorable chapters begins with her preparation of quail sauced with rose petals, plucked from a bouquet given to Tita from her forbidden love, Pedro. Unable to keep the flowers, and unable to throw them out, Tita incorporates the petals into an ancient recipe which she serves to her family in an expression of passion. The result is “algo tan exquisito” (something so exquisite), according to Pedro.
Can one even look at roses the same after reading this story? Apparently not me, and ever since then I’ve wanted to cook with them. Chocolate is never far from the front of my mind, and with Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I knew I had found an excuse for a little decadence. See? I told you that you had not seen the last of the truffle posts on this blog…
The beauty of the recipe is its simplicity. Fresh rose petals and a single drop of rose oil impart an herbacious and delicate flavor, cloaked in dark chocolate. Rolled and packed into more rose petals, half of the gift will just be the sensory experience upon opening the box filled with the aromatics of chocolate and roses. Where on earth can you go wrong? (Just be sure you send the right message with the color of petals you choose for packaging- a quick guide: red for love, pink for admiration, and coral for desire). Wishing you all a very happy Valentine’s Day! XOXO.
Rose Petal Chocolate Truffles
adapted by Stephanie Kunstle from Claudia Flemming’s Earl Grey Truffle recipe in The Last Course
Yield: 2 dozen truffles
Notes from Stephanie:
- I cannot emphasize enough with this recipe how important it is to have “good quality” ingredients. You are taking basic ingredients and manipulating them into another form of itself, so you want everything to be the best you can find. If you can find organic and Fair Trade, even better.
- For the extra-bittersweet chocolate, you can even make your own by blending 100% cacao chocolate bar with something like 60% for the darkness that best pleases you.
- I am less-than-patient, so I have been known to use the freezer for firming my ganache. If you do this, don’t forget about it! Check it every 20 minutes or so.
- I like my truffles to be a bit smaller than usual. I think you can enjoy them more as they are so rich, and therefore- this recipe makes nearly double of what it promises.
- 1 1/4 c. heavy cream
- 1 1/4 oz. (18 g.) rose petals (about 1 cup)
- 1 drop Rose Otto oil (your palette may require another drop, but be sure to cleanse the palette while tasting with water or a coffee bean before adding more oil — you do not want a soapy flavor)
- 5 oz. extra-bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (I prefer 72% up to 80% cacao)
- 10 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (I use 60% cacao)
- 1 c. unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- Carefully pluck rose petals from stems and rinse well in colander. Pat dry in paper towels.
- In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream and rose petals to simmer. Turn off the heat and let the mixture infuse for 2 minutes.
- Place the finely chopped extra-bittersweet chocolate in a bowl. Strain the hot cream over the chocolate, discarding the petals. Let the mixture rest for 1 minute, then wisk until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Add one drop of rose oil and mix well. Cover the chocolate and chill until mixture is set, about 4 hours.
- Using a teaspoon or a melon-baller, scoop out the truffles. Roll them in your hands to make rounded balls. Refrigerate the truffles for 15 minutes to firm them.
- To make the coating, in the top of a double boiler, or in a metal bowl suspended over a pot of simmering (not boiling) water, melt two thirds of the bittersweet chocolate. Remove the boiler from over the water and add the remaining chocolate. Stir continuously until the chocolate is melted and smooth and feels room temperature.
- Place the cocoa powder in a medium bowl. Drop the truffles one by one into the melted chocolate, turning them with a fork to coat them. Lift the truffles out of the chocolate and drop them into the cocoa powder. Roll the truffles in the cocoa until they are completely coated and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper to set. They can be made up to 5 days in advance.
- Nestle the truffles in more freshly plucked rose petals in a small box or tin for a beautiful and aromatic presentation.