baking, chocolate making, chocolate-dipped prunes, Christmas baking, Christmas candy making, Christmas chocolates, dark chocolate, Dickensian Christmas, Grand Marnier, Grand Marnier chocolate-stuffed prunes, prunes and Grand Marnier, prunes stuffed with ganache, sugarplums, Tea Time Treats, truffled prunes, We Should Cocoa
When the children went to bed with “visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads,” I know they weren’t really thinking of this kind of plum. But they easily could have been. After all, prunes are just plums that have been dried and preserved for use in the winter and its accompanying holiday season.
And these prunes are most certainly worth dreaming about. Imagine moist, succulent prunes, filled with creamy ganache and sheathed in dark chocolate. The intense fruitiness of the prunes matches perfectly with the bittersweet chocolate. A splash of Grand Marnier adds a sparkle of citrus flavour and the warming touch of liqueur to the smooth richness of the ganache.
On second thought, maybe the children wouldn’t have been dreaming about them.
However, when I dream about them, I envision candlelight reflecting off a hundred glittering ornaments, great feasts anchored by roast crowns of beef and heaping dishes of chestnut stuffing, girls wearing velvet party dresses in festive hues of red and green, mulled wine in the parlor after supper, and carols sung in front of a blazing fire.
If you have any of the above planned, then these ganache-stuffed prunes should be factored in as well. Or if your festivities cannot reach such Dickensian heights, the presence of these decadent morsels will at least go a long way towards making up the lack of a fireplace or a velvet holiday gown.
But please, as a favor to me, don’t call them stuffed prunes. It doesn’t sound elegant or festive or even particularly appetizing. Call them truffled prunes instead. Or chocolate sugarplums. At any rate, just make sure that each of your guests tries one; after that, it won’t matter what you call them.
It’s good-bye for a few days now, as I’m off to Toronto tomorrow. And, yes, I’m bringing plates of these along to give to my friends up there. I’m also sending some to my grandmother as a present for her eightieth birthday. She lives in San Antonio, but fortunately, it’s even cold enough in Texas at this time of year to mail chocolates there.
All this fits right in with the theme for Tea Time Treats this month: food gifts. Kate, co-founder of the event along with Karen of Lavender and Lovage, is hosting the event for the last time on her blog What Kate Baked. So I must take a moment to say, thank you, Kate, for the time and dedication that you have given to make Tea Time Treats such a wonderful event for the food blogging community.
A warning: These little nuggets are so lush and indulgent that they only should be served on the most special of occasions. Luckily for us, Christmas is one of those occasions.
Ingredients:4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped ½ cup heavy cream 1 ¾ teaspoons Grand Marnier 40 prunes Tempered dark chocolate, for coating Cocoa powder, for dusting
- Place the chopped bittersweet chocolate in a small bowl.
- Combine the cream and Grand Marnier into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
- Pour the hot cream over the chocolate in the bowl and let stand for 30 seconds.
- Gently whisk the cream into the chocolate until the ganache is smooth and shiny.
- Set aside to cool for a few hours, or cover and let sit overnight.
- Make a slit in each prune and remove the pits. Or, if you bought prunes that were already pitted, stop congratulating yourself for having saved so much time, and spend the next twenty minutes searching for the slits and carefully opening up the cavities in each prune.
- Fit a piping bag with a small round tip. Fill the bag with the Grand Marnier ganache.
- Pipe the ganache into the cavities of the prunes. Run the flat side of a knife blade across the ganache to smooth it flush with the surface of the prune.
- Use a round candy fork to dip the stuffed prunes in the tempered chocolate, tapping off any excess. Transfer the coated prunes to a sheet of parchment paper.
- Before the chocolate sets, use a fine mesh sieve to dust the prunes with a little cocoa powder.
Yield: 40 prunes