Passito di Pantelleria Straw Wine Truffles with Dried Grapes

Chocolate truffles are truly irresistible. One of the best things I love looking at is endless rows of chocolate truffles of different varieties through a glass counter. They hypnotize me.  Really.  

I was looking at the picture I submitted to a food site when I happened to see a picture of delicious looking red wine truffles of The Art of Dessert in the same page.  I clicked, read and found out that this icon of absoluteness is actually easy to do. That discovery sealed the truffles' accessibility to my cravings. And that permanently ended my bouts of glass counter hypnosis. 

One of my recent acquisitions is a pack of uva passa di Zibibbo di Pantelleria (dried Zibibbo grapes of Pantelleria). These are the grapes used to make Passito di Pantelleria, an aromatic sweet straw wine. Let me introduce you to Pantelleria.  It's a small island 100 km. southwest of Sicily and 60 km. northeast of Tunisia. It is best known for its sweet wines, Moscato di Pantelleria and Passito di Pantelleria, both made from the local grapes of Arab origin.  I have never been there and I would like to see it one day and immerse myself in its noted gastronomy. If you want to know more about this interesting Sicilian island, click here.

Instead of red wine and dried cherries used in the original recipe, I thought I could use the dried Zibibbo grapes and Passito of Pantelleria. They were not too sweet which was a relief because I was worried about the honey and the sweet wine combination.  I used the darkest chocolate I could find and unsweetened cocoa powder to dust them. Overall, the truffles came out so delectable, aromatic and just plain wonderful.   

They had a distinctive tone of liquor tang so I wouldn't give them to the kids. Strangely, my chocolate-monster kids didn't go after them which was a relief. Well, I made sure there were some decoy chocolates on the kitchen table while I was preparing the truffles.

I have about 30 truffles in the freezer waiting to accompany me in my long night of packing. This year's Christmas is taking us down south to the Amalfi Coast for some serious seafood dinners.  So let me leave you with this delightful truffle recipe and may you all have a blessed Christmas and a prosperous New Year!   See you in a few days!

Passito di Pantelleria Straw Wine Truffles with Dried Grapes

Makes about 40 truffles 
  • 3-1/4 cups bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup + enough amount for soaking grapes Passito di Pantelleria or equivalent straw wine (or red wine as written in the original recipe)
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup chopped dried grapes soaked in Passito di Pantelleria for 30 minutes (if you can't find these, an option would be raisins)
  • unsweetened cocoa powder for dusting
  1. Soak the whole dried grapes in a small cup or bowl with Passito di Pantelleria for 30 minutes.  
  2. After 30 minutes, drain.  Discard the wine. 
  3. Seed the dried grapes and chop finely.  Set aside. 
  4. Place the chocolate chips in a large bowl and set aside.
  5. On low heat,  mix together the butter, honey and 1 cup wine in a small saucepan.  Pour over the chocolate chips and stir until smooth.  Add the chopped dried grapes.  Mix well.  Cover with a plastic wrap and put in the freezer for an hour or until the mixture becomes slightly firm.  
  6. Line a cookie sheet with parchment or wax paper. Measure about 1 tablespoon of the truffle, roll them with the spoon and drop them onto the cookie sheet.  You don't need to shape them into balls yet so they can still remain without form.   Freeze them again for 15 to 20 minutes. 
  7. Take them out of the freezer and this time, roll them into balls.  Roll them on a plate with unsweetened cocoa powder.  Shake off excess.  Freeze them again for 15 minutes more or until firm.