Nigella Lawson, once again, was my inspiration for these cuter-than-cute little truffles. She calls her clever originals “bonbons” and makes them out of leftover Christmas pudding and sherry, and you can certainly do that with the leftovers from the holiday pudding . But I’ve put a more American spin on them here, using a cup of chopped-up American fruitcake and some good old Kentucky bourbon, as well as upping the chocolate quotient a bit. Even if you’re not familiar with the typical shape of a British Christmas pudding, you’ll recognize the cuteness of these miniatures, with their topping of royal icing representing whipped cream or brandy butter and the bit of green and red signifying the traditional sprig of holly that tops a flaming plum pudding. These potent little bites are not too sweet, and they’re terrific to accompany after-dinner coffee at a holiday meal.
- Yield: 30 truffles
- 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate (such as Ghirardelli’s 70% cacao bar)
- 1 cup finely chopped or crumbled fruitcake
- 3 tablespoons bourbon
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 1 recipe Royal Icing
- Red and green gumdrops or maraschino cherries
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Melt the chocolate in a bowl in the microwave, heating it for 1 minute on high and stirring well. If you need more heat, microwave the chocolate in one or two more 10-second blasts, stirring well after each, until it is smooth. Be very careful not to overheat it.
- Stir in the fruitcake, bourbon, and corn syrup until the mixture is well combined and finely textured. You don’t want any big chunks other than bits of fruit, so press any lumps of cake against the side of the bowl with your spoon to break them up.
- Lightly butter your hands and roll the truffle mixture into 1-inch balls, lining them up on the prepared baking sheet. Chill them for 2 hours in the refrigerator, until firm.
- When the truffles are chilled, spread a dollop of royal icing on top of each truffle. Using a pair of kitchen shears, snip the red and green gumdrops or maraschino cherries into tiny strips. Press a couple of green strips on top of the icing, to represent holly leaves, and add a couple of red bits to represent holly berries. Return the truffles to the fridge to firm up, then store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. The flavor will mellow and improve after the first day or two.