What combines the delicate, yet heady scent of the first spring blossoms with creamy, rich chocolate? Why Plum Blossom Truffles of course! And they are so super easy to make, you won’t regret gifting your palate with this floral-infused chocolate sensation for one instant, I promise!
One of Victoria’s most beloved harbingers of spring, the blossoming Ornamental Purple Plum (Prunus cerasifera, Nigra) lines our streets like immense powder puffs. Obviously, a favourite choice for city planners (there are over 30 different varieties) they are so plentiful they line entire blocks, creating a delicately fragranced arbour of creamy pink overhead. And in summer they do produce a small edible plum, which sadly mostly ends up squashed on sidewalks.
But right now they are literally perfuming the air. And standing beneath their blossoms one warm afternoon I was inspired to preserve and prolong their sweetly innocent, sensual scent. I knew that the Plum blossom played a role in both the Chinese New Year Festival (the five petals symbolize the five blessings or five good fortunes, wealth, health and composure, virtue and the desire to die a natural death in old age) but I couldn’t find any recipes featuring local Ornamental Plum – so I thought I’d give it a try in a cordial, which are pretty easy to make.
A cordial (a syrup for flavouring drinks) is a simple process of boiling a cup of sugar and a cup of water, to this I added two cups of plum blossoms and left to cool. This was strained through a fine sieve and when I brought a sample to members of my herbalism class, many actually gasped in delight. Then a chocolatier in the group suggested infusing the blossoms in cream and making truffles! Well, I needed no convincing.
Now as I’ve confessed before in this blog, I’m a lazy cook motivated by quick rewards so I searched out the easiest truffle recipes I could find online. And I’m glad I did because the simplicity of this recipe truly allows the three ingredients to shine – blossoms, cream and of course the chocolate. But that said, you’ll want to make sure that your cream and chocolate (not the cheap waxy stuff) are of good quality, otherwise, well — you’ve just compromised your chocolate experience.
Which will be divine. These truffles can be proudly served to guests or gifted on birthdays and special occasions – because they will taste as if hours of painstaking labour went into their creation – not minutes! Velvety and creamy, the floral top notes are the perfect complement to the dark mouth-filling luscious cocoa butter and cream.
Convinced? If so, you’ll want to begin by getting outdoors on a warm sunny day when the volatile oils are strong. Gather from trees whose blossoms are newest and have not yet budded fully into leaves. (I’ve noticed their scent fades once they begin to put their energy into leaf growth.) Make sure you’ve got plum blossoms, not Cherry blossoms – they don’t have much flavour. (Learn to tell the difference here) You can also find more info on identifying ornamental plum here – as well as some recipe ideas from the Gather Victoria E-Cookery Book here.
Remove the blossoms and be sure to include the unopened buds as well. While you can leave the slender stems attached – remove any bits of bark or branch material as this will add bitterness. Also make sure to remove all the leaves no matter how small, as they contain trace amounts of a poisonous compound called hydrogen cyanide. Fill a container with approximately two cups of blossoms (and no they do not need to be tightly packed). And now you’re ready to begin.
Plum Blossom Truffles
- 2 cups of spring blossoms
- 1 cup of heavy cream
- 16 ounces of good quality chocolate chips ( I used Camino)
- 3 tablespoons Cocoa Powder (for dusting)
- Bring cream to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in the blossoms
- Let cool. Use a fine sieve to strain out blossoms
- Reheat blossom infused cream to just before boiling point
- Remove cream and pour over a bowl containing chocolate chips
- Stir until chocolate completely melted
- Let chocolate and cream mixture cool in the refrigerator for a few hours or preferably overnight
- Using a spoon scoop out about a tablespoon of the chocolate mixture then using your hands roll into balls
- Roll the balls in cocoa powder
Eat ! Or store in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to eat! (should last up to two weeks)
Cautionary Note: While there are no specific warnings (unless you’re a cow or a cat) regarding consuming Prunus blossoms, the leaves and pits are dangerous, containing cyanogenic glycosides which can produce hydrogen cyanide. I have both consumed copious amounts of plum blossom chocolates and cordial each spring with no ill effect – but that said, it is possible that the blossoms also contain trace amounts of the toxin. And consumed in excess, they could be harmful. Please use your discretion!