Have you ever eaten "Mozartkugeln"? Little truffles with a core of pistachio flavoured marzipan, encased in nougat and covered in dark chocolate. There are various commercial versions, the 'original' is produced by Paul Fürst in Salzburg. If you get the chance, you should try them, they are very good!
This home-made version is much bigger than the original, improvises with the elements chocolate, marzipan, pistachio to play a new, pleasant tune. It's labour intensive but makes a marvellous seasonal gift. I found this recipe several years ago in the German food magazine 'essen & trinken', and have tinkered only a little.
For the core of the truffle, you need to bake a chocolate cake. This could be done a day in advance, as indeed I have done.
80 g dark chocolate
80 soft butter
50 g sugar
50 g ground almonds
8 g baking powder
Prehat oven to 180 C. Melt the chocolate over a bain marie. Mix butter, sugar and melted chocolate together until foamy, then add the eggs, one at a time. Mix flour, almonds and baking powder, and combine with the chocolate mixture. Pour into a loaf tin and bake for ca. 30 minutes. Leave to cool.
Crumbled chocolate cake, a chocolate ganache and rum make the base of the truffle. You need:
100 g dark chocolate
100 ml single cream
100 g soft butter
50 ml rum (or what have you)
Heat the cream in a pot, take it off the heat and dissolve the chopped chocolate in this. Use your hands to rub the cake into crumbs, and mix with rum and chocolate ganache. Refrigerate for 40 minutes, then take a table spoon of the mixture and form into a ball. Repeat until all is shaped - I got 19 not-quite-even-sized balls out of mine. Refrigerate for another 30 minutes (or longer).
This is the most time consuming part, covering the truffles in a layer of marzipan, then coating the marzipan dumplings with chocolate. The easiest way I found was to cut out round of marzipan, laying the truffle on top, and forming a nest, pinching surplus marzipan off two opposing sides. This I flattened out again between my fingers and used to cover the top. It is not important to achieve a completely even or beautiful coverage, since you won't see this once it's been chocolate coated, but you need to wrap the truffle well enough to create a stable covering. You need:
400 g marzipan
3-4 tbsp icing sugar
170 g dark chocolate
1 tbsp pistachios, finely chopped
Knead the marzipan, coat with icing sugar and roll out thinly. I find this is easiest between two layers of baking paper. Cut out 8 cm rounds and wrap the truffles with these - and listen to some Mozart while you're slaving away!
Melt the chocolate over a bain marie, leave to cool to hand warm, and coat the marzipan balls with this. I found the best way was to dip each ball slightly into the chocolate, and then to keep rolling it between my finger tips. Just dipping ca. 1/8th of the truffle into the chocolate will give you enough chocolate to work with. Yes, you're hands will be coated too - I wish I could have taken a picture of mine but I don't think my camera would have appreciated that.
Place on a sheet of baking paper and sprinkle pistachios over the top. Leave to dry. The truffle will keep for about a week if kept in the fridge. I never found I needed to worry about that...
You may have a little chocolate coating and marzipan, possibly nuts, too, left over. This is what I did with mine: I shaped the remaining marzipan into very small balls which I rolled in the remaining pistachios and coated with plain cocoa powder. And I stirred some more nuts (I found walnuts and macadamia in my cupboard) into the remaining chocolate and spooned this onto a baking sheet to dry. Thus I now have chocolate coated nuts, marzipan 'potatoes' and Mozart truffles to celebrate advent with.
Have a happy 1st Advent Weekend!