The television actress, who is filming the show’s fifth and final season, learned to make truffles.
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“It’s very smooth,” the actress Marin Hinkle said, her eyes closed in apparent bliss.
This was a brisk Monday afternoon and Ms. Hinkle, 55, had taken over the kitchen of a friend’s immaculate apartment on the Upper West Side to learn how to make chocolate truffles. (Her own kitchen nearby needed repairs.)
Her teacher was another friend: Ruth Kennison, the founder of the Chocolate Project. Ms. Kennison and Ms. Hinkle met in high school nearly 40 years ago, and spent a summer working at a candy store in Boston, eating bonbons on the job. After college, they both moved to Los Angeles, birthing sons a month apart.
A few years ago, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” the comedy that Ms. Hinkle stars in, shot a couple of episodes in Paris. Ms. Hinkle traded in her first-class plane ticket for four coach seats and invited Ms. Kennison to join her. Their sons came, too.
“I made them go to every chocolate shop in Paris,” Ms. Kennison said.
Ms. Hinkle smiled. “The chocolate has never stopped,” she added.
Ms. Kennison poured glasses of pink Champagne while Ms. Hinkle, elegant in a blue silk blouse, high-waisted jeans and high-heeled clogs, admired the renovated kitchen, a haven of gleaming white. Late afternoon sun filtered in through the picture window, turning the marble counters gold.
Ms. Kennison began the truffle lesson with a brief lecture on the biology of the cacao tree, complete with pictures and props.
“Are they always hard like this?” Ms. Hinkle asked, grasping a giant, red-shaded seed pod.
“Well, that’s the ceramic version,” Ms. Kennison said gently, handing her friend a real pod.
Then they segued into tasting, with Ms. Kennison urging her friend to savor each region’s particular terroir.
Vietnamese chocolate? Spicy.
Chocolate from Madagascar? Fruity.
The morsel from Fiji? So smooth.
They moved onto a few, high-end bars flavored with exotic ingredients: matcha, passion fruit, bee pollen. This nudged Ms. Hinkle, who had earlier claimed to like all chocolate, toward a confession. “I am actually a milk chocolate person,” she said.
Ms. Kennison accepted it. Then she handed Ms. Hinkle a branded brown apron and told her to change out of her blouse. They had truffles to make — a messy business.
Ms. Hinkle returned moments later in a white T-shirt, clothing so casual that it would send Rose, the character she plays on “Maisel,” into hysterics. Rose, a professor’s wife and the mother of the title character, never appears sloppily dressed or imperfectly coifed. Her make up? A Platonic ideal.
“They build the costume on me like it’s liquid paint,” Ms. Hinkle said. “And it’s a cliché, but 80 to 90 percent of the work is right there.”
Rose tends to flounce through every moment of her life as though giving a command performance. “That is so not me,” Ms. Hinkle said. But she loves the show and the family feeling among the cast, who have traveled together to Paris, Miami and the Catskills. The show just completed its fourth season. Ms. Hinkle has already begun filming its fifth and final one, with complicated emotions.
“If Amy and Dan believe this is the right time, I’m so there to respect that,” she said of the show’s creators, Amy Sherman-Palladino and Daniel Palladino. “But I will cry every single day. I have to savor every second of the season.”
But now, without tears, there were truffles to make. Ms. Hinkle removed her jewelry and washed her hands. Then, under Ms. Kennison’s direction, she stirred butter and cream into a pot of Ghanaian chocolate, making small vigorous motions so that the fats would emulsify and form a ganache, the filling for the truffles.
The ganache would need 24 hours to set. So in a bit of kitchen wizardry, Ms. Kennison produced two bowls of premade ganache, one dark, one dark milk. Using miniature ice cream scoops, they rolled the ganache into little and not so little balls, their hands darkening with melting chocolate.
Ms. Hinkle worried that her truffles looked less than perfect.
Perfection wasn’t required. “There is no right or wrong,” Ms. Kennison said reassuringly. “The only thing chocolate doesn’t like is when you’re scared. Chocolate smells your fear.” Happily, the kitchen didn’t smell like fear. It smelled like chocolate.
When the balls were rolled, Ms. Hinkle poured melted chocolate onto a marble slab to temper it, cooling and manipulating it to give it a glossy finish. Ms. Hinkle dug in, with a paint scraper and an offset spatula purchased from the local hardware store, until the slab resembled a splatter painting. Then she scraped the chocolate back into the bowl and reheated it with a hair dryer until it was ready for dipping.
Spooning melted chocolate into her hand (“It feels so good,” Ms. Hinkle said) she rolled each truffle in it, with Ms. Kennison hurrying her on: “Quick, quick, quick, quick, quick!” She then handed the dipped truffles to Ms. Kennison, who rolled them in cocoa powder, sprinkles or crushed pecans. The milk ones and the dark ones jumbled together as the pile of completed truffles grew to about 50 bonbons.
“It looks so pretty,” Ms. Hinkle said.
Ms. Kennison urged her to try one. Ms. Hinkle plucked one from the slab and delicately bit. Bliss again. “OK,” she said. “That is crazy good.”
Marin Hinkle of ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ Melts Chocolate – The New York Times