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White Chocolate-Lemon Truffles
1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp. heavy cream
Grated zest of 1 lemon (no white pith, please)
9 ounces best-quality white chocolate, very finely chopped
Few grains salt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into thin slices
2 tsp. freshly-squeezed, strained lemon juice
About 1-1/3 cups very finely chopped pecans
Make the truffle base first, as it must be well-chilled before using. In small, heavy, nonaluminum saucepan, combine heavy cream and lemon zest. Over low heat, heat until cream comes to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Cover tightly; allow to stand 20 minutes at room temperature.
Shortly before cream standing period is up, combine white chocolate, salt, and butter pats in medium heatproof bowl. When cream has stood 20 minutes, remove cover. Reheat cream mixture over low heat, stirring occasionally, until it reaches a simmer again. Remove from heat. Strain through fine-meshed strainer into white chocolate mixture. Press down on the lemon zest left in the strainer to extract all the liquid from it.
Place white chocolate mixture over warm water on low heat (water should not touch bottom of bowl). Stir frequently just until almost melted; remove from heat and hot water. Stir until melted and smooth. (Note: White chocolate, even of excellent quality, can be stubborn about melting. If there are small lumps of white chocolate in your truffle base, transfer the truffle base to a food processor fitted with a steel blade; process at high speed just until smooth.) Stir in lemon juice, 1 teaspoon at a time.
Transfer truffle base to small bowl. Chill at least 4 hours (overnight is fine, too), covering tightly when cold. While base chills, prepare coating.
For Coating: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place finely chopped pecans in single layer in shallow, foil-lined pan. Toast in preheated oven for 8 to 11 minutes, stirring often, until very fragrant and a light golden color. Watch carefully! Nuts can burn quickly. Cool completely before using.
To make truffles: If desired, have ready 1 inch candy cups for finished truffles. Using a small cookie scoop or a teaspoon (not a measuring teaspoon), form balls of about 1 inch diameter from the cold truffle base. Drop into the cooled pecans (or scrape off from the one teaspoon with another). Roll in pecans until well-coated, then place in optional candy cups or storage container. Continue until all base is used.
Store truffles airtight in refrigerator for up to one week; freeze for longer storage. To serve, remove from refrigerator 15 to 20 minutes prior to serving time. Let stand at room temperature, covered, until serving time.
About 36 truffles, 1 inch in diameter
© Stephanie Zonis, 2002