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Black Truffle Soufflé

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How you can make this astonishing dessert from La Truffière, a Paris restaurant specialized in black truffle.

Black Truffles Soufflé

You could be easily forgiven for mistaking La Truffière for one of these Paris gastronomic restaurants geared towards tourists. It is bang in the Mouffetard tourist district and yes, on evenings the average client does not speak much French. But many discerning Parisian gastronomes eat there as well, especially at lunch, and the well-heeled international clientele they get is a consequence of consistent good reviews from serious French restaurant guides. Gault Millau just raised them to 15 and they hope to get a Michelin star. They probably also have cosy relations with concierges in Paris 5 star hotels.

La Truffière restaurant in Paris

The wine cellar at la Truffière is renowned and one of the biggest in any Paris restaurant, with over 15,000 bottles. Monsieur Martin, the sommelier, spends his vacation touring châteaux and participates in national wine tastings. He can get you anything from excellent wine by the glass to a €10,000 century-old Yquem. Some people dine there just for the fine. But I go for the truffle soufflé.

I try to eat at la Truffière at least once a year and always take truffle soufflé for dessert. Yes, an underground mushroom in the dessert. On the menu it says Le Soufflé Chaud à la Truffe Mélanosporum, Grand Marnier - Black Truffle Mélanosporum Soufflé with Orange Brandy Liqueur. If they have a dessert menu in heaven, the truffle soufflé must be on it.

The delicate flavor of the truffle mixed with the orange Grand Marnier has been haunting me since I ate my last soufflé. Naturally, when last week I bought two black truffles from one my local 3 Michelin stars restaurants, it ocurred to me that I could try to make the truffle soufflé at home. But how? Soufflé is hard enough to make not to take any chance of ruining one of my beloved truffles. I decided to ring the restaurant up and ask. Christophe, the Truffière's pastry chef, kindly explained that the soufflé is based on a crême pâtissière flavored with truffle honey and Grand Marnier. 'If you don't have truffle honey', he said, 'just add 50gr more sugar and extra truffle'. He kindly waited on the phone while I was jotting down the information, then volunteered 'Do you want the recipe for the crême pâtissière?'. What a nice man. Here is his recipe.


Black Truffle Soufflé
For 4 individual soufflé dishes

3dl milk
70gr white sugar
3 egg yolks
30gr butter
30gr cornstarch
4 egg whites
1 black truffle
About 50gr Grand Marnier or Orange Brandy
Truffle honey if you can find it Confectioner's sugar

1. Clean your truffle, the peel it carefully and put the peel aside for later use. Put the truffle back in the fridge in a tightly closed jar with some uncooked rice.

2. Make the crême pâtissière by mixing half the sugar, maizena and milk in a saucepan and heat until it boils, then immediately remove from fire and add truffle peel. In a separate bowl beat remaining caster sugar with egg yolks until white, then beat in some of the milk. Pour bowl into the warm milk, off the stove. Beating constantly, warm until the mixture spread over a spoon keeps a clear trace of a finger passed trough it, about 85°C. Don't let it boil or it will turn into a custard. Immediately pour it off the saucepan into a bowl which you will place in a bath of cold water with some ice cubes to both stop the egg yolk from coagulating further and drop the cream temperature outside the bacteria friendly range. As the cream reaches about 50C°, fold in the butter and mix until smooth. Dont put the butter too soon and don't melt it separately or the cream will split and that's not fair on the truffle.

Right before using it, pass through a sieve to remove coagulated yolks and the truffle skins.

3. Beat the egg whites until they become very hard. If they are runny, you can't make soufflé so cry, get new eggs and start again. Only use egg whites with absolutely no trace of egg yolk or other impurities in them. A copper bowl will help or use a few drops of lemon to help. Good luck!

4. Heat your oven to 190C°. Carefully grate the truffle in the crême pâtissière. Delicately and slowly fold the beaten egg whites into the cream. Be gentle or the million little air bubbles trapped in the egg whites will disappear and your soufflé will be gone.

5. Put the soufflés at the bottom of the oven and leave for about 10 minutes or as long as it takes for a nice brown crust to appear on top. The hotter the oven, the faster they will rise. The faster they rise, the faster they come down. These are the hard rules of soufflé making.

Sorry I could not shoot pictures of the Crême Pâtissière preparation. Crême pâtissière is normally used to fill a cornucopia of pastries such as millefeuille or choux à la crême. It is very much sought after by bacterias so don't keep it for more than 12 hours and cover it at all times. Pierre Hermé recommends putting melted butter on the surface to prevent any crusting.


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