Goat Cheese Chocolate

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Artisan chocolatier Betsy Schoettlin combines exotic and unusual flavors with chocolate. Some of her more intriguing confections include goat cheese truffles, Kalamata olive truffles, prune filled with Irish whisky and chipotle marshmallow smores.

Betsy’s Goat Cheese Truffles
This recipe is for a small-sized batch. It should come out to around 1 ¼ lbs, give or take, depending on the goat cheese and cream that you use.

  • 8 ozs 70%-73% chocolate, chopped into quarter-size pieces or smaller
  • 8 ozs goat cheese (at room temperature)
  • ¼ cup confectioners sugar
  • 2 tsps vanilla
  • ½ tsp firmly packed, very finely grated lemon peel
  • 2 tsps lemon juice
  • 3 Tablespoons cream
  • 3 Tablespoons Plugra salted butter, softened at room temperature until it is the texture of hair pomade -- super soft and just barely holding its shape (Use regular butter if you can't find Plugra.) 

1. Melt the chocolate*.
2. In a mixer, blend together the goat cheese, confectioners' sugar, vanilla, lemon peel, juice, butter and cream until the mixture is light and fluffy.

3. With the mixer running, pour in the chocolate until the mixture is combined well.  Try to avoid letting the chocolate pour onto the sides of the bowl, as it will harden and cling there.
4. Let the ganache cool slightly.  This particular ganache has a very small window of workability.  Too warm and it just squishes all around, too cold and it gets crumbly and annoying.  Poke at it with your finger as it cools.  When it starts to feel like thick frosting, put it into a pastry bag and pipe it onto sheets of parchment into little mounds.

5. Dip in tempered chocolate. Or, if you'd prefer, you could dip into chocolate that has been barely melted and still cool. If you're super careful, it will stay in temper.

NOTE: Due to the nature of goat cheese, these truffles are very ACTIVE: they tend to expand, ooze and ferment.  The expanding tends to crack the shell, after being dipped, and the oozing is a golden, honey-like goo that comes out of the crack.  Neither one of these affects the flavor, just the appearance.  The fermenting is quite another story. Once the truffles start to taste fizzy, throw them out. That should take at least five days though, and they'll probably all be gone by then.

Additional Notes: When dipping the truffles, Betsy rolls them once between her palms, which she has coated in tempered chocolate. Let this thin "sealing" coat dry briefly.  Then dip them more traditionally in a thicker coat of tempered chocolate. The sealing coat will usually crack but will help control the truffles' unruly behavior once in the second coat.

After being dipped, the truffles should be refrigerated until about 2 to 4 hours before serving. Ideally they should be consumed within three days.
* Betsy melts chocolate in a glass bowl or measuring cup in the microwave. For the first pass, she usually sets the microwave to 2 minutes at 20% - 30% power.  After the first two minutes, take the chocolate out, stir it well (it will just have begun to melt) and let it "rest" for 30 - 60 seconds before stirring again. This uses the residual heat of the glass bowl to continue the melting process.  Then repeat the process at one-minute intervals, stirring well, but not too vigorously, until all of the chocolate is melted, smooth and glossy.  

The resting time helps to assure that the bowl does not get too hot and burn the chocolate and that the chocolate has time to catch up with the heat and to melt evenly.

Music break: Five By Five by the Dave Clark Five