These are deconstructed chocolate truffles and if you arrange this nicely on a table, put a few cocktail sticks next to them and let people get stuck in and make their own, I’m telling you, you’ll have some excited guests. It’s interesting, it’s different and to be able to make your own truffle is really quite cool, not to mention delicious.
It’s worth remembering that chocolate is friends with lots of different types of booze so, if you prefer, you can swap out the brandy here for rum, whiskey or red wine.
Put the cream in a pan over a medium heat and let it heat up. You don’t want it boiling, just hot. As soon as tiny bubbles start to appear, add the knob of butter and the clementine zest. Once the butter has melted, pour this hot mixture over the chocolate pieces, whisking as you go, so the chocolate melts nice and slowly. If the mixture splits slightly, don’t worry, you can bring it right by adding a splash of boiling water.
Add a pinch of salt to the mixture; it may sound bonkers, but the smallest pinch of salt actually makes chocolate taste even chocolatier! Stir in a splash of brandy.
Once completely melted and smooth, pour your melted chocolate mixture into a nice little serving dish or bowl. Pop this in the fridge for about 2 hours to set. Christmas is a busy time so you can always do this a few days before you need it if you want. About 30 minutes before you’re ready to make your truffles, pull the bowl out of the fridge and let the chocolate warm up to room temperature.
Put your mixed nuts into a plastic bag and use a rolling pin to bash them up quite finely. Get some little saucers or bowls and put the nuts in one and your cocoa powder in the other. Put a teacup filled with boiled water on the tray and pop a few teaspoons in there for scooping the chocolate. Get everyone around the table to spoon their own truffles out of the serving dish and roll them in cocoa powder, crushed nuts or anything else you fancy. Or, you can let them smear their truffles over a biscotti like some posh Nutella! Serve with a few glasses of your chilled Vin Santo.