Matcha truffles

“I don’t like green tea, it tastes like grass”
 photo P1540721_zpsc683e1e0.jpg
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that from people when I talk about matcha or green tea. I love the flavour, but apparently it’s an acquired taste. To each his own, and that’s coming from someone who hates liver. I get it.

But to be with friends who appreciate just how special the clean, earthy flavor of matcha can be, conversations are just great. It’s that moment when the face instantly lights up, and you could go on and on about how good this matcha latte is or how in-your-face the ice cream can be. The magic also happens at first taste, when you take it all in. Glorious seconds of uninterrupted silence, and it’s all you need to speak volumes.
 photo P1540700_zpsc8933bc0.jpg
I need to have my matcha fix at least once a week, and that’s usually in the company of Yedy and Eugene. Eugene enjoys chocolate more than green ambrosia, while Yedy shares my insane enthusiasm. There was this one time at a food bazaar where this really nice ice cream purveyor told us that she had a tub of matcha ice cream reserved for someone else, and that the flavor was still being developed. The moment she mentioned “matcha”, we jumped like the energizer bunny. Or maybe we looked like rabid dogs. Anyway, our enthusiasm compelled her to give us a free scoop. We were impressed.
 photo P1540726_zps8c0e096f.jpg
Ever since I made the truffles, it was only natural for me to create a batch with matcha. It just made sense. It follows the same recipe for white chocolate truffles, but a generous helping of matcha powder makes all the difference.

It doesn’t make sense for me to just add a pinch of powder. Matcha is basically powdered green tea leaves, so I wanted the truffles to taste like green tea and then some.  And pistachios could do no wrong in my eyes, and I’ll always find a way to use it. It becomes a great foil. But the star is the full-bodied matcha.
 photo P1540701_zps70e78465.jpg
 photo P1540713_zps4454cce3.jpg

What I have right now is just a note, a lyric, a hymn to the collective anthem we all share. But just the same, this goes out to you and to all of us kindred spirits who gather in the name of all things matcha. We are great people, and we can make it through anything.

Matcha truffles

makes around 30 pieces

  • 115 grams whipping cream
  • 350 grams good quality or couverture white chocolate, chopped + around 150-200 grams more for tempering and dipping
  • 2 vanilla bean pods, seeds scraped
  • 3 – 4 tablespoons good quality matcha powder, or more to taste
  • chopped pistachio (roasted and peeled), as needed

In separate bowls, scale each kind of chocolate. Set aside. In a pot, combine vanilla seeds and cream. When it is hot, add the matcha powder and combine well. Bring to a boil. Add the cream to the chocolate and stir with a heat-proof spatula until it has melted. You can also place the bowl over a water bath to hasten the melting. Taste the mixture, and you may add more pwder at this point to taste. When it’s smooth, allow it to chill in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour, or until the ganache has thickened, but is still malleable.

Portion around 8-10 grams of chocolate and with clean/gloved hands, shape each piece into a rough ball. When it starts to melt too fast and you’re not yet done shaping, it’s best to pop the mixture back into the fridge to chill and harden a bit. It’s  best to work in a cool room.

Prepare all the ingredients for coating: the coating chocolate and the chopped nuts. Here is a tutorial on how to temper white chocolate. Create an organised assembly line starting with the chocolate balls, the tempered chocolate and lastly, the nuts. Place a tray or plate at the end of the line to place all the finished pieces.

Picking up the balls with a fork (don’t stab it!), dip it into the melted chocolate and allow the excess to drip. Coat it next with the nuts. What I do it I just plop it into the bowl of nuts and agitate the bowl so the nuts swirl around the truffle. Chill the finished products in the fridge.


Green Tea Leche Flan

Before I’ll be pegged as a Christmas fanatic: No, this is not another post about how we are a little too excited for Christmas.  Anyway…

Is there a difference between creme caramel and leche flan? I’d like to believe that the differences aren’t really glaring (that’s a ‘no’). Plus Wikipedia backs me up.

Before custard purists hurl burning caramel at me, let me just say that custard making is subjective. Sure, there’s  crème caramel and crème brûlée but I didn’t know what these were up until I started watching cooking shows. I basically grew up with my grandmother’s leche flan recipe. Which is the best. And before I earn haters, come on, every household in the Philippines thinks their leche flan recipe is the best. Her leche flan became my standard when I tried to make crème caramel. 

She basically makes her leche flan for parties so I’ve never really seen here use a bowl. She uses a palanggana. You know, slightly large basin ideally used for washing clothes. Yeah, you read that right. I’ve never seen her use measuring cups either. And she doesn’t use a water bath; she steams it by placing one mold on top of the other with barbecue sticks in between.

And after two ‘pretty good’ attempts, I’d still believe her recipe is still the best. And I’ll resign myself to my newfound belief that crème caramel and leche flan are peas of the same pod, albeit not exactly identical, they vary from place to place, but you get the picture. I hope.

I used a water bath, and painstakingly looked for a recipe that does not use heavy cream since it’s not readily available where I am. Plus grandma’s leche flans never use cream – milk (she uses Evap, I use Fresh) and eggs are the way to go. I hope I can post her recipe here sooner or later.

And I made these with green tea powder because my it was my cousin’s birthday (he turned 12 yesterday) and he liked my first batch a lot. This recipe yielded really soft custard that still jiggles a bit but that’s the way he likes it. I’m not sure if he knows there’s green tea in it but what the heck, he’s 12.

Green Tea Creme Caramel/Leche Flan (good for 4 small ramekins)

adapted from le gourmet tv 

  • 1 ½ cup sugar, divided
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 ½ cups milk (I used fresh milk)
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 sachet sweet green tea powder
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. In a heavy skillet, combine 1 cup sugar and water and heat on medium swirling frequently but not stirring until sugar caramelizes.
  3. Remove from heat when amber in color. Pour caramel into 4 ramekins and swirl the container to coat the bottom.
  4. Heat milk on stove top until hot but not boiling. Add the green tea powder and mix well.
  5. In a bowl, whisk eggs, egg yolks and sugar until foamy. Add milk in a steady stream while whisking.
  6. Add vanilla. Pour mixture over a fine mesh strainer. Distribute evenly among the ramekins.
  7. Set ramekins in a large pan (I used one tin pan and another glass dish because that’s what we have) and carefully pour boiling water to come half way up the sides of the ramekins.
  8. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes or until custards are set. Remove from oven and allow to cool and set in the refrigerator for at least four hours. Serve cold and enjoy!

And I know I placed a tea bag in the photo but the recipe called for green tea powder. The tea bag was used as a prop but I did try steeping the tea in milk for the first attempt. You can do either of the two methods. But using powder eliminates the fuss. 🙂