Many chocolatiers like to make perfectly spherical truffles. (Okay, well maybe not perfectly spherical - they have to have a flat bottom so they don't roll around.) Up until now there have generally been two ways to do this:
Buy a one-shot depositor (expensive)
Buy pre-made shells (cheating? misleading?)
Recently, the Italian company Pavoni
started a line of silicon molds specifically designed to work with ganaches as an extension to their Pavoflex line of molds for cakes and pastries. They have basic shapes (square, rectangle) that can be used in many environments to replace an expensive guitar cutter, and a circle and oval that replace a "cookie" cutter. To use them, you place the mold on a flat surface (e.g., a sheet pan covered with parchment paper), pipe the ganache into the mold cavities, and with an offset spatula and bench scraper make sure the ganache completely fills the mold cavity and that the top (what will end up as the bottom) is flat.
Perhaps the most interesting mold shape, however, is the spherical mold. With it, chocolatiers can make ganache spheres that they can then enrobe, either by hand or on a belt.
Using the Chocoflex Spherical Truffle Mold
As can be seen from the picture above, you simply pipe the filling into the molds, let it crystallize, and then remove the top half of the mold to reveal the finished spheres - ready for the next stage of production.
A 2-piece 67-sphere mold set costs $150. Expensive, yes, but far less expensive than a one-shot machine and you'd quickly recoup the costs by not having to buy shells. Plus, the mold is not limited to ganache; anything you can pipe (praline, gelee, fondant) you can use to fill the mold cavities. You can also bake and freeze in them.