Tuesday, December 2, 2014

High tea: Rosemary & bay truffles

So, for a while now I've wanted to do an afternoon tea - a high tea. (Which is what we call a fancy afternoon tea. Which isn't actually the correct British definition as I understand it, but anyway..)

I have a thing for high tea. All those pretty dishes, and delicious delicate things...  Fortunately, I am far from alone in this love. So, a dear friend of mine offered to host the venue, while I brought the food.

There were, of course a few Heston dishes to add to the list for me to talk about. I'll do one per post, keep it easy for people reading. (And yes, there was a lot of Nigella love going on. She does ace the baking thing.)

We had: (origin of dishes marked in brackets)
  • Scones (Nigella Lawson - How to be a Domestic Goddess)
    • plain with strawberry jam and cream
    • cheese and chive with butter
  • Sandwiches (None. They are sandwiches. I don't need no recipe for sandwiches.)
    • cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches
    • honey baked ham and Swiss cheese sandwiches
  • Cupcakes (Nigella Lawson - How to be a Domestic Goddess)
    • Chocolate Cherry
    • Carrot with cream cheese frosting
  • Fruit mince pies (Nigella Lawson - How to be a Domestic Goddess)
  • Coconut Maccaroons (Nigella Lawson - How to be a Domestic Goddess)
  • Madeleines (Stephanie Alexander - Cook's Companion, 2ed.)  with chocolate sauce (Heston Blumenthal - Heston Blumenthal at Home.)
  • Florentines - (Heston Blumenthal - Heston Blumenthal at Home.) 
  • Rosemary and bay truffles (Heston Blumenthal - Heston Blumenthal at Home.) 
  • Passionfruit Pastilles (Heston Blumenthal - Heston Blumenthal at Home.)

Today we're talking...

Rosemary and bay truffles

Heston Blumenthal at Home

I've made a variant of these before. And they were nice, but I really wanted to try the rosemary and bay truffles. Such a savoury flavours as a sweet? It's classic Heston. I also made the crispy chocolate coating this time. Yum.


  1. Warm the milk and flavours.
  2. Melt the chocolate separately
  3. Mix together
  4. Chill
  5. Make the crystallised chocolate coating
  6.  Roll chocolate into balls and then in coating

I decided to do a half batch, as I recall it making quite a lot, and I was worried it would be awful, and didn't want to have a whole bunch of chocolates no one would eat.

Step 1: Warm the milk in flavours. 

For this one, its rosemary and thyme. Warm it up, and let it infuse for a while.

Then strain out the bay and rosemary.

Step 2: Melt the chocolate

As I've mentioned before, I do this in the microwave..

Step 3: Mix together

I used double cream, rather than whipping cream. This was a mistake, because it was too high on the fat content, meaning it separated (just a little).

Step 4: Chill. 

Pour it into your prepared tin.

Step 5: Make the Crispy Chocolate topping. 

I recognised this as a similar thing to some of the chocolate dirt from the Tiramisu flowerpots.Version one and two.

Heat up water and sugar ...

Until it hits 135 degrees, or starts to colour slightly on the edges. I went for the latter because it was a lot easier than juggling a thermometer. (Basically you're using a similar technique to making wet caramel).

Add some chopped chocolate...

And whisk like crazy..

It turns to powdery lumps. Totally freakish and not what you expect from chocolate. I recommend getting a spoon and squishing some of the larger lumps to make it more powdery and better suited to rolling into balls.

Step 6: Roll into balls and then into coating.

You can see below some the fat has separated out. Sigh. I scraped it off before rolling it into balls.
I found the large sized melon scoop was perfect truffle size.

I don't have any pictures of that. What can I say, it was really messy and my usual photographer was excitedly helping roll balls of ganache in chocolate crystals.

I also managed to not take a photo of them after making them. You can see them on the top tier, with the lighter coloured coating.

Things I learned from this recipe:

  • Use the right cream asked for in the recipe. If double cream was better, it would have asked for it.


They were tasty! Unexpectedly so. The rosemary was definitely noticeable, but not in anyway unpleasant. Just... different.

Guest opinions:

Well received. Apart from husband who feels rosemary has no place in chocolate. Otherwise generally enjoyed, especially by the other member of our household, who ate four.

Next: Chocolate sauce for Madeleines.

1 comment:

  1. Another brilliant post! Love the detail and the commentary as ever. Your posts are always a treat :)

    We've tried the rosemary & chocolate pairing from Heston before (in the form of a quickly discontinued Waitrose Ice Cream) and we actually really like it. I'm not a fan of mint & chocolate together, but the rosemary seems to give the same lift and lightness to the chocolate as mint, but without the -in my opinion- unpleasant flavour pairing.

    We've had our fats split when making truffles as well. In Moulds too, so there was no hope of scraping off for neatness. "Fortunately" they were made using a ras el hanout blend that was over 50% salty vegetable boullion powder, so we were able to throw them away anyways, before anyone saw that they looked as hideous as they tasted!

    The crispy chocolate coating is a marvel. We tried to make a big batch and save it in the freezer for garnishing purposes. It all go used up very quickly.

    All the best this Christmas and New Year to you and the family! Looking forward to seeing your next posts in the New Year :)