One thing that everyone knows about Brazil is that we are crazy about soccer. We are not only supporters, we are more than that, like we say in Brazil, every single Brazilian is also a soccer coach. The World Cup in special is really a big event for us Brazilians and, maybe, we celebrate it more intensely than any other country in the world. The whole country literally becomes green and yellow with houses decorated with Brazil’s flag and people dressed up in the country’s colours. Family and friends get together to watch the matches and bring items like maracas, drums and pompons to celebrate the goals . During the matches, every time there is a slight chance of a goal we yell, scream and jump out of our seats! Well, I don’t have to tell you that if our team scores a goal, the noise in the room probably reaches dangerous levels of decibels and it takes a lot of time to get everyone to concentrate on the match again. Also, like any get together, food plays a big part and we sit around a table full of snacks and drinks. Some of the common types of snacks served are popcorn, meat skewers, mini-pies, deep-fried snacks, dips and crackers, olives, nuts, cheese platters and Brazilian sweets.
To commemorate this year’s World Cup, I did not settle down until I found these cute soccer ball moulds on e-bay to make my soccer ball truffles. The reason why I chose to make the chocolate and chilli combination is because 1) I am crazy about this duo and 2) I think it has everything to do with soccer. A soccer match is exciting, noisy, passionate and very fiery! In addition, I chose to put a Brazil nut in the centre to add a crunchy texture and to represent Brazil’s World Cup 2014.
This truffle is my tribute to this year’s beautiful World Cup that Brazilians waited for so long. You can use any chocolate mould you have handy, even those used to make little chocolate eggs. The painting of the ball is not mandatory, but if you have the time and patience, it is a real pleasure to see the end results.
Lastly, thanks to my sister-in-law for sharing her secrets to a perfect chocolate shell. I am no pastry chef, but I tried my best to give you all the tips I possibly can to make the recipe user-friendly. I do hope you enjoy making this recipe as much as did and maybe try to make the chocolates on time to be eaten while watching one of the soccer matches.
170g good-quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), roughly chopped
170g thickened cream
½ tsp ground cayenne pepper
1 tbs chocolate liqueur
12 small Brazil nuts, whole
White Chocolate Shells:
350g good-quality cooking white chocolate, roughly chopped
Ingredients to paint shells:
Low sugar content liquor (I used Brandy)
Black chocolate dust to paint (optional)
Golden luster dust to paint (optional)
3 tiny pastry brushes to paint the chocolate shells
Pipping bag fitted with a 0.5 cm round nozzle
2 x chocolate trays, with 12 moulds each
2 pieces of cardboard (to fit on the bottom of the tray) covered with aluminium foil
1 candy thermometer
1 rubber spatula
1. For the ganache, in a heat-proof bowl combine the dark chocolate and cream over a saucepan filled with simmering water. Stir for about 6-8 minutes or until all chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove from the heat, add cayenne pepper and liquor and stir well to combine. Reserve and wait until the mixture is thickened enough to be pipped.
2. To melt and temper the white chocolate, place half of chocolate in a heat-proof bowl over a saucepan filled with simmering water making sure the bowl does not touch the water. Melt the chocolate, stirring with the spatula until the temperature reaches 40°C on a cooking thermometer. Remove the chocolate from the heat and stir in the remaining chocolate. Keep stirring the melted chocolate until it cools down to 25°C, and return to the water bath stirring gently until the chocolate reaches 28°C.
3. Brush the mould with the melted chocolate from the inner part up and repeat with the other moulds. Turn the tray down onto the covered cardboard and place in the fridge for 10 minutes to set. Remove from fridge, brush another layer, turn the tray down onto the covered cardboard and place in the fridge for a further 10 minutes. Repeat the same steps for the third and last layer, this time leaving the tray in the fridge for 20 minutes. If necessary, melt the chocolate in the bowl again following step no. 2.
6. Place the two tiny brushes and the black and gold dust on a working bench. In a small bowl pour a little bit of brandy. Once chocolate is set, carefully remove the shells from the tray and place them face down on a clean bench. Dip a tiny brush into the brandy, tap on the edge of the bowl to remove excess liquid and brush the pentagon segment of the ball (equivalent to the black pentagon of a soccer ball). Using another brush, paint the same pentagon with black dust (tap the brush to remove excess dust before painting). Repeat until all black segments are painted. Repeat with the other 23 shells.
5. Turn the shells up on the bench and pipe the ganache into each shell filling up to 3/4 of the shell (about 1 tsp). Place 1 Brazil nut vertically into 12 shells. Melt a little bit of white chocolate, brush the edge of a shell (that does not have a nut) and firmly close with a shell that has a nut. Repeat until you have 12 balls. Set aside in a cool dry place for the chocolate to dry. With a round knife, carefully trim the excess chocolate around each ball.
6. Dip a clean brush into the golden dust and brush all over a ball until the coating is even. Repeat with the other balls and serve.