Adapted from Heston Blumenthal’s book Heston at Home.
Normally I wouldn’t worry about faffing around with something so ‘cheffy’ but I do love the texture you get with this chocolate ‘earth’. It takes your chocolate truffles to a whole new level by providing a super crunchy coating to contrast the velvety truffle smoothness.
You’ll need a thermometer to make this recipe. I recommend investing in one that is a general purpose thermometer so you can use the same one for testing the doneness of meat as well. Mine is a ‘Maverick’ probe that my Irishman picked up on line. We love it because it’s versatile and it reads quickly in 2-3 seconds.
makes about a cup
100g (3.5oz) sugar
75g (2.5oz) water
40g (1.5oz) dark chocolate, finely chopped
1. Weigh water and sugar into your smallest saucepan.
2. Place on a high heat and bring up to a boil. Don’t stir.
3. When the temperature reaches 135C (275F), remove from the heat and add the chocolate. Stir vigorously until it comes together to form your ‘earth’.
4. Transfer earth to a tray lined with baking paper to cool. Store in an airtight container.
Will keep for about 6 months or longer in an airtight container.
white chocolate ‘sand’ – replace dark chocolate with white. I haven’t tried this but it should still work.
Problem Solving Guide
no thermometer? – you could risk it. Try boiling the sugar syrup rapidly for 10 minutes and then adding the chocolate. If it starts to brown before the 10 minutes, remove from the heat and add the chocolate early.
sugar crystallising out before it reaches the temperature – it’s important not to stir the syrup once it starts to boil as any undissolved sugar crystals on the side of the pan can make their way into the syrup and seed the crystallisation process before we’re ready. If this happens, just start again with a clean saucepan and more sugar and water. Another cause could be using too large a saucepan which means you’re getting too much water evaporating. Either try again with a smaller saucepan of double or triple the recipe.
earth tastes’ burnt’ – it’s important to remove from the heat as soon as it gets to temp and stir super vigorously once you add the chocolate to prevent burning.
It just needs to be protected from the air so the crystals stay nice and crunchy. A glass jar is good or ziplock bags.
truffles – use to coat
ice cream – sprinkle over vanilla ice cream for something a bit crunchy special.
cake decorations – sprinkle on the icing for your cupcakes or other cakes.