October 1, 2013

Recipe: Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake Truffles
{with salted pumpkin seed brittle}

Happy October!  Student teaching has kept me pretty busy lately, but I couldn't help but whip up a new fall confection over the weekend to share with the staff at my school.  I love the combination of pumpkin, autumn spices and dark chocolate.  It all goes back to childhood with my mom's chocolate chip pumpkin bread that she'd always make around this time of year.  

For this two-bite treat, I combined the flavors of pumpkin cheesecake and dark chocolate ganache.  For a crunchy contrast to the smooth truffles, I added a garnish of salted pumpkin seed brittle. 

Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake Truffles

{with salted pumpkin seed brittle garnish}

Yield:  Approx. 3 dozen
For the pumpkin cheesecake
  • 2 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
  • 3 Tablespoons pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 Tablespoon butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 Tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar 
  • 1 teaspoon real maple syrup

For the chocolate ganache

  • 8 ounces (approx. 1 1/2 cups) dark chocolate*, chopped 
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 Tablespoon real maple syrup 
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Chocolate for dipping
  • 10 ounces dark chocolate*, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon shortening 

For the Salted Pumpkin Seed Brittle
  • 1/4 cup sprouted (or de-shelled) pumpkin seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon real maple syrup
  • 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon fine flake salt

Step 1:  In a small saucepan, whisk pumpkin cheesecake ingredients over low heat until smooth.  Pour into a large shallow bowl and set aside.

Step 2:  In a small saucepan, bring butter, cream and maple syrup to a gentle boil.  Immediately remove from heat and add chopped chocolate.  Let sit for two minutes, then whisk till smooth and glossy.  Gently pour over the cheesecake mixture.  Use a skewer or stick to marbleize the two mixtures.  Refrigerate for 2-3 hours, until cold and firm.

Step 3:  Line a baking sheet with wax paper.  Scoop truffle mixture into 1 Tablespoon portions and arrange on the lined sheet.  Freeze for 2 hours.  (Freezing the truffles is necessary because the mixture is extremely soft when at room temperature.)

While the truffles are freezing, prepare the brittle.  In a small saute pan, melt the butter over medium heat.  Toss in the pumpkin seeds.  Stir in the sugar, pumpkin pie spice and maple syrup.  Continue to cook over medium heat until the sugar mixture thickens and begins to bubble and turn a light amber color.  Remove from heat immediately, and spread out on a piece of parchment paper with a silicone spatula.  Sprinkle with flaky sea salt.  When brittle cools, break into smaller pieces and toss with more salt if desired.  Set aside.

Step 4:  Remove tray of frozen truffles from the freezer.  Working quickly, roll each truffle between your palms to smooth out the rough edges.  Then, return pan to the freezer while preparing the melted chocolate.

Step 5:  In a medium, microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate and shortening over low heat, stirring occasionally.  When chocolate is smooth, remove the truffles from the freezer.  Using a candy-dipping fork**, dip truffles, one at a time in the melted chocolate.  Gently tap off excess before returning to the wax-paper lined tray.  After dipping each truffle, garnish with a pinch of the pumpkin seed brittle (before the chocolate sets).

* I like to use Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips.  They're easy to find and are a great buy for the quality.

** To make an inexpensive dipping fork, take a plastic fork and break off the center two tines.

This post has been linked-up with:
Show Stopper Saturday @ Will Cook for Smiles

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