Just in time for Mozart’s birthday, coming up Wednesday (it was the 26th of January, if you’re reading this in archive), here’s an Austrian confection, Mozartkugeln (“Mozart Truffles”). While the composer was famously fond of sweets, Salzburg chocolatier Paul Fürst didn’t invent Mozartkugeln until a century or so after Wolfgang passed to the eternal in 1791.
Therefore, it wasn’t until Sigmund Freud’s time that Austria produced a treat Mozart surely would’ve loved. Please analyze that particular paradox, Herr Doktor Freud. Amadeus’s namesake chocolate didn’t come about until the composer largely was forgotten in his native Austria. Yet Fürst admired the musician and named his creation regardless of the public’s then-indifference. Fortunately, the ignorance didn’t last long, and now Mozart, and his eponymous truffle, enjoy greater acclaim than ever: The sweet consists of concentric layers of chewy, melty, goodness. At the core is a pistachio marzipan, surrounded in a layer of hazelnut-cocoa nougat. Beyond that is a casing of traditional almond marzipan. Finally, all is enrobed in a silky chocolate ganache:
Here are the two marzipans, pistachio and almond, and a hazelnut-cocoa nougat, before they’re divvied up and formed into individual confections:
Finally, here’s the final product, before taking its chocolate bath:
While Mozart may have missed the candy bearing his name by a century, that doesn’t prevent us from enjoying it on his behalf. The way to do it is to savor it slowly and luxuriously, preferably while one of the composer’s transcendent works carries you aloft on silken sheets. The Haffner Symphony (#35 in D major, K 385), which Mozart penned for his and his wife’s friends’ wedding, remains a personal favorite.
Of course, Mozartkugeln have earned fame far and wide, and today’s recipe is featured on the website yumsome. A sublime treat named after the (not “a,” “the“) master of the sublime arts. Each reaches excellence individually. Taken together, rapture!
For the almond marzipan:
- 5 and 1/4 ounces of sliced almonds
- 3 tablespoons agave nectar
- 10 drops almond extract (*1)
- dash of sea salt
For the pistachio marzipan:
- 1 and 3/4 ounces of sliced almonds
- 3 and 1/2 ounces of raw pistachios
- 3 tablespoons agave nectar
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
- dash of sea salt
For the chocolate nougat (*2):
- 5 and 1/4 ounces shelled hazelnuts
- 1 ounce white chocolate, melted
- 5 tablespoons agave nectar
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- dash of sea salt
For the chocolate shell:
- 14 ounces dark chocolate (50-65% cocoa solids)
- 1 and 1/2 ounces white chocolate
Preheat the oven to 350°. Spread the hazelnuts in an even layer on a rimmed baking tray and toast them for 15 minutes.
After you set the hazelnut-laden tray on a rack to cool, start making the almond marzipan. Place the almonds in a food processor. Blend for about three minutes, until the now-powdered almonds begin to clump. Add the rest of the almond marzipan ingredients then process for 30 seconds, until all is incorporated.
Remove the almond marzipan to a cutting board and form into a ball.
Next, make the pistachio marzipan. Very similar to the almond version you just created, place the almonds and pistachios in the processor and pulverize for three minutes, until clumping begins. Add the remaining pistachio marzipan ingredients, whirl for 30 seconds, then remove to the cutting board and make a sphere.
Clean the processor basin and blade, then proceed with making the nougat. Place the hazelnuts into the processor and spin the blade for about three minutes, until you just can make out clumps. Add the other nougat ingredients and process for another 30 seconds. Turn out onto the board and make a ball.
Now it’s time to create the candy! Pinch off a piece of pistachio marzipan and roll it into a ball about the size of a marble. Next, pinch off nearly twice as much cocoa nougat and flatten it to a disc a little over 2 inches across. Place the pistachio ball onto the middle of the disk and wrap the nougat around it so that the pistachio marzipan is covered completely. Roll briefly so that the new sphere is smooth.
Finally, pinch off about three times as much almond marzipan as you did pistachio, and flatten it to a 3-inch disc. Place the cocoa nougat-covered sphere onto the middle of the almond marzipan sphere and wrap the marzipan around the sphere. rolling to smooth out any seams. Repeat the above two paragraphs until you run out of material.
Place the white and dark chocolates for the shell into a bowl and microwave at 50% power for 90 seconds total, stopping frequently to stir.
Pierce a Mozartkugeln halfway through with a bamboo skewer, forming a “lollipop.” Completely submerge the truffle in the melted shell chocolates, then lift above the surface and let the excess drip back into the bowl. Place onto a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet to harden, keeping the bamboo skewer as upright as possible. (*3)
Repeat until all the confections are enrobed, and set aside the remaining melted chocolate for the last step.
Let the truffles sit for two hours, until the shell sets. Carefully pull the skewers from the Mozartkugeln and drizzle a little of the melted chocolate over the opening, thus sealing it. Give it another twenty minutes to allow the drizzled chocolate to solidify, then serve!
1 – This equals a little under a teaspoon. Instead of extract, I used a little Disaronno, as it added a subtly pleasant lit. Besides, extract is just flavored alcohol anyway.
2 – A bit about terminology. In Victorian-era candy-making, a “nougat” wasn’t anything like what we understand it to be nowadays. Actually, it had more the consistency of marzipan, which you will discover.
3 – There’s no reason for setting the skewers upright, other than making it easier later on to cover the opening where the stick was. If the skewer was upright, the opening will be at he top of the truffle, making it much easier to “patch.”
The best way to keep the bamboo vertical? Select two large cans of equal size and set one at each (narrow) end of the cookie sheet you’re using as a drying rack. Place a wire rack atop the cans and over the cookie sheet between them. After you dip each truffle, feed it beneath the rack and manipulate the skewer so it’s upright, with the top extending above the rack.
Start at the most remote corner and fill the cookie sheet in an outward pattern, working toward you. This way, you won’t paint yourself into a corner. Step the truffles forward just a bit, so the stick rests on one of the overhead bars.
You’ve done it – congratulations, you’re now a chocolatier!