Original article by Chef Brian Henry, Edited by Boston Chai Party.
The traditional Hindu medical practice is known as Ayurveda and is based upon creating balance within the body and mind through diet, herbs, yoga and breathing.
Masala chai is Hindu for “spiced tea,” which has been used for more than 5,000 years. The ancient recipe for chai uses a warm, aromatic blend of cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, ginger and black peppercorns with regional and cultural influences seeing other spices added into the blend using vanilla, nutmeg, mace, star anise or fennel.
When the British occupied India the recipes for chai changed to include black tea, milk and sugar. By the time chai came to North American chain beverage retailers it mutated into a candy-like coffee or tea beverage and known as chai tea, which is a repetitive rhetorical device meaning that “chai tea” is the equivalent of saying “tea tea.”
The ingredients in chai are also considered to be an aphrodisiac which is ideal for taking the traditional preparation of chai and creating a decadent dessert with it for you and your sweet-tea to enjoy this coming St. Valentine’s Day. I often make a Chai Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream for my clients which is quite heavenly but my favourite chai creation is a Chai Ganache Tart, which lends itself to Chai Chocolate Truffles.
Making truffles is relatively easy to do and the recipe is a simple ratio of about two parts chocolate to one part heavy cream by mass which will yield a dense ganache appropriate for making truffles. Key points to remember when making truffles are that you must use the best-quality chocolate. I recommend any dark bitter sweet chocolate that contains a cocoa fat content over 60 per cent. Do not use milk chocolate as it has already been combined with milk and is too soft to work with.
Flavour your truffles by infusing flavours into the cream by placing a couple of teaspoons of loose chai Masala (Spices) into the cream while it is heating. Strain the cream with a strainer and you will have chai scented chocolate truffles. Other tea bags could be used like mint, orange or Rooibos.
Kawartha Dairy produces a heavy whipping cream that is perfect for incorporating with chocolate to make your own world class chocolate truffles that are full of flavour, supported with a rich texture. The following recipe for Chai Truffles can be made a couple of days in advance and stored in a cool place until needed.
Chai Ganache Truffles
Place the chocolate pieces into a medium sized stainless steel bowl and set aside.
Combine the Chai Masala with the cream and slowly, bring the cream to a simmer, do not let it boil. Remove cream from heat and pour the cream through a sieve or strainer to remove the Chai Masala, over the chocolate and allow it to sit for 3-5 minutes.
Using a wooden spoon, stir the chocolate with the cream until smooth without lumps. Do not use a whisk as it will make bubbles in your ganache, like an Aero bar. Allow the mixture to cool for four hours in the refrigerator and form a solid mass of ganache.
Using a melon baller, scoop out balls of the ganache and place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment. After forming all the balls, chill them in the refrigerator for fifteen minutes to allow the ganache to harden back up and set into their shapes.
Scoop a little cocoa powder into a small bowl. Use a pair of spoons or tongs to pick up and roll each ganache ball in the cocoa powder to evenly coat them. Cocoa dusted truffles can be packed together without harm or worries of them sticking together. These truffles can be stored at cool room temperature in an airtight container for 3-5 days.
Lakefield area chef Brian Henry owns and operates Chef Brian Henry Private Chef Services: www.chefbrianhenry.com.