Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween: Vegan(!) Pumpkin Truffles, Two Ways

If it isn’t completely obvious from the rest of this blog, I’m definitely not a vegan. I love milk chocolate. I use butter AND cream in my cupcake recipes. My chocolate mousse recipe involves cream and eggs. But some folks are vegan, and they deserve tasty chocolate treats as well, don’t they? Pumpkin truffles are a tasty treat, especially for Halloween, and as I contemplated different approaches, I realized that this was a perfect candidate for a vegan recipe. Thanks to some research and experimentation, I am pleased to present this Halloween treat: Vegan Pumpkin Truffles (two ways).

The first step is to make the ganache, which uses pumpkin puree as a base instead of cream to keep this creation vegan.

Ganache Ingredients

15 ounces canned pumpkin puree

½ cup brown sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoons nutmeg

½ teaspoon allspice

½ teaspoon ginger

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Pinch salt

12 ounces chopped vegan semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate

First, round up all the ingredients except the chocolate.

Next, combine these ingredients over low heat.

What you’re doing here is making pumpkin butter. While it isn’t difficult, it is time consuming, as you need to slowly reduce it to half its original volume by cooking off liquid without burning or hardening it. I suggest having a snack nearby so that you don’t eat all the pumpkin during the process.

After about 35-40 minutes of patiently stirring every few minutes, the pumpkin butter will be ready for ganache assembly.

Looks a little gross, no? Adding chocolate will help. In the interest of experimentation, I mixed half of the warm pumpkin butter with a bittersweet chocolate (Scharffen Berger 70% Cocoa Bittersweet).

After doing that, I mixed the other half of the warm pumpkin butter with a semisweet chocolate (El Rey Mijao 61% Cocoa).

I let each mixture cool for about an hour, and then rolled them into small balls for truffle-making.

The bittersweet ganache is on the left; the semisweet ganache is on the right. While they look pretty similar, the semisweet is much sweeter and softer than the bittersweet. Given the slightly lower cocoa percentage and the higher sugar percentage, this was completely logical, but presented me with a problem: I had this idea about moving away from a chocolate coverture and towards a powdered one. One using ingredients like these, plus some brown sugar:

The semi-sweet ganche simply wasn’t solid enough for this, so I started out by powder-covering the bittersweet ganache balls in a mix of 3 tablespoons of brown sugar, 2 tablespoons of unsweetened natural cocoa powder, ½ teaspoon of cinnamon and ½ teaspoon of nutmeg.

Beautiful! The powdered outside increased the intensity of the pumpkin flavor of the ganache inside.

To finish off the semisweet ganache balls, I melted some El Rey Gran Saman 70% cocoa chocolate and dipped away to arrive at this result.

More traditional truffles, with more chocolate flavor and just a little less spice.

I hereby declare both vegan pumpkin truffle creations a completely delicious success. And a completely delicious way for vegans to enjoy pumpkin AND chocolate.


  1. Hey! I found your blog/ this recipe from a google search and I just made these with semi sweet chocolate. They are insanely good, but mine are no where near as pretty as yours! Once I rolled them in the chocolate I had a hard time getting them back out.. so they got a little deformed. :) Thanks for the great recipe!

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