The theme set by Johanna of http://thepassionatecook.typepad.com/thepassionatecook/ for Sugar High Friday (SHF) #34 was to reproduce a local speciality, as I’m new to blogging I thought this might be a good blog-event starter but I’m not quite sure if I meet the criteria.
I live in a country area of Australia, and whilst there are many country cooking themes that are common across Australia they aren’t specifically local to my area. So I decided to see HOW local I could go for produce (rather than a recipe) – what was the closest produce I could use to make something? Looking at the neighbouring properties: next door are sheep (bred for meat, not milk, so couldn’t think of anything); behind me is an olive grove (olive oil cake? Not really interesting!); next up the road are cattle (but once again, beef, not dairy – so no inspiration!); then there is the onion farm (onion jam? Not really what I wanted to make); and next comes the potato farm less than a mile down the road (1km). And it struck me, surely someone, somewhere has used potato (not sweet potato) in a dessert/sweet. (excuse the dark photo - it was taken on my way to work this morning)
After a bit of searching around I found some recipes for Potato Fudge (and some other potato sweet things that look worth trying – some interesting Indian ones) and decided that would be a good start. I choose the particular starter recipe because it used cocoa and I have a rather large amount of Valrhona cocoa to use up (my sister and I bought 3kgs between us as it is so delicious!) ... and really ... anything containing Valrhona cocoa is going to taste nice!!!
I’m not a huge fan of very sugary things, so I looked at the recipe and thought that if I turned it into truffle balls rolled in cocoa then that would contrast with the very sweet inside. I also added some flavours to the cooking potato, as I wasn’t just using up leftovers.
Vahlrhona Potato Truffles
1 smallish potato (require 1/3 cup when mashed)
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup water
1 tspn cinnamon
1 tspn brown sugar
50g copha (vegetable shortening)
50g salted butter
1 tspn vanilla essence
½ cup Valrhona cocoa (or a dutched cocoa)
450g icing (confectioners) sugar
½ cup chopped almonds
Extra valrhona cocoa for covering outside
Peel potato and cut in to cubes, place in microwaveable bowl/jug with the milk, water, cinnamon and brown sugar. Microwave on high for 2 minutes, then on low for 10 minutes (check that it doesn’t bubble over or run out of liquid) until the potato is quite soft. Drain potato and mash with fork until very smooth.
Melt copha/shortening and butter, stir in vanilla and cocoa. Add 1/3 cup of the mashed potato and nuts. Add in icing sugar in batches (about a cup at a time). Mix until smooth. Roll balls of approximately 1 tspn of mixture, then roll in valrhona cocoa. Refridgerate for 2 hours until solid. Makes 40.
Tasty little morsels these are! A bit moreish (I ate too many!) and actually a recipe worth repeating – maybe with some tweaking!! I’d increase the potato (of all things!), maybe introduce some cream and reduce the icing sugar and add some melted chocolate to provide the stability required if the icing sugar was removed. I’m a bit hooked on honey at the moment, so would love to add some to provide a flavour accent. The reality is that the potato blends in, and other than providing a very slightly different texture, it really is unnoticeable.
The actual mashed potato component was quite tasty and I was thinking of different ways it could be used – add some whipped cream and a bit more sugar and I’m sure it could have a place in a degustation menu; or, add some whipped egg whites to produce a fluffy pancake, drizzled with maple syrup!
So whilst the recipe is completely not local ... local produce was the star!
I’m really looking forward to taking these to friends on the weekend and making them guess the “secret ingredient”!!!!