These Chinese Five Spice Chocolate Truffles are a unique and incredibly simple dessert. Just four ingredients create a delicious and decadent truffle.
I have been absolutely obsessed with the Netflix series Chef’s Table. The series is filmed and directed beautifully, and the stories are truly remarkable. The chef’s stories really outline passion, talent, resilience, and, sadly, often tragedy.
Watching this series and the amazing food and creativity that is produced from it is inspiring. To say the least. (And also makes me incredibly hungry.)
But it also reminds me of my 15 years working at restaurants, many of them fine dining and Michelin-starred, such as the ones on the show.
The ups and downs of the culinary world, the meticulousness of a fine dining restaurant, the drive and passion of a team, the long days, the dizzying dance of dinner service.
It is its own world, and one that Chef’s Table captures very well.
One of my first fine dining restaurant memories revolves around Chinese Five Spice. Hence the inspiration for these Chinese Five Spice Chocolate Truffles.
When I worked at my first fine dining restaurant, I was fresh out of culinary school.
I did my internship at a Michelin star restaurant in New York City. That was the most challenging period of my life. I was still learning. I was working full-time besides doing this internship, commuting into NYC, and working about 15 hour days at the restaurant. I was constantly getting yelled at, doing something wrong, failing, downing Red Bulls, falling and busting my ass while deep-cleaning the freezer, and feeling like an idiot 99.9% of the time.
But, I was new. Well, everything was new. But it was exciting.
And most of the time I still had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I couldn’t make a great quenelle with ice cream, my plating was messy, my souffles were imperfect, and I would get completely demolished during dinner service.
I also always felt inferior. There were so many ingredients or techniques that I didn’t even know.
Chinese Five Spice was one of them.
It sounded so savory to me and I was utterly confused why we were using it on our pastry menu. But once I tasted it, it made sense. (And, fast forward ten years later, where now of course I love using savory ingredients in desserts.)
My love for Chinese Five Spice started then, and only grew from there. Five spice powder is typically used as a base ingredient for Chinese cooking.
It has a sweet taste and is often used for flavoring meat, vegetables, and sometimes baked goods. You will typically see it used as a marinade or dry rub, or in a stir-fry or rice dish. The traditional spices that make up Chinese Five Spice are Szechuan peppercorns, star anise, clove, fennel, and cinnamon’s slightly bitter cousin, cassia. When combined, these five spices form a balanced, warm spice that is sweet, savory, slightly bitter, and a little sour at the same time.
Adding the spice to these Chinese Five Spice Chocolate Truffles give them an unexpected flavor profile. They’re rather addictive, and the best part is how easy they are to make.
It’s also fairly easy to find five spice powder in stores now. I like to use this one from Simply Organic.
and here’s a few things you may need for this recipe!
This post contains affiliate links, but are always products I highly recommend.
- 12 ounces bittersweet chocolate
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon Chinese Five Spice Powder
- Unsweetened cocoa powder for rolling
- In a small saucepan, whisk the heavy cream with the five spice powder. Bring the cream to a simmer, remove from the heat, and cover. Let the mixture steep for 15 minutes.
- Bring the cream and spice mixture to a simmer again. Once simmering, strain through a fine mesh strainer and pour over the chocolate. Let sit a minute, and then whisk until combined.
- Cover the mixture with plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
- When the ganache is firm enough to scoop, scoop or spoon the mixture into small balls. Do this step quickly as the truffles will begin to melt from the heat of your hands. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Refrigerate the rolled truffles for a few hours or overnight, then roll them in the cocoa powder, shaking the excess off. Serve right away, or keep stored in the fridge. Enjoy!
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