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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.

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.

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.

 

 


Grating the black truffle in the soufflé.

 

The soufflé with a pile of grated truffle.

 

Mixing everything slowly and very gently.

 

Pouring the mixture into the greased soufflé individual dishes. Don't pour too much as the soufflé will rise.

 

After about 12 minutes in the oven the soufflés are ready ...

 

After only 1-2 minutes the soufflés begin to deflate. If you are not ready to serve them, put back in the oven to rise again.

The soufflé was terrific but something was missing. Then I remembered. In the restaurant, they pour a sweet and sour liquid in the soufflé before the guests. I called the restaurant again and this time spoke directly to Mr Rizet, the young up-and-coming chef who took over the kitchen in 2002. 'We prepare a fruit coulis from fresh goyave, pineapple, passion fruit and mango. Then we reduce it with a ginger syrup, vanilla and citronelle. You can also add a little exotic pepper. The head waiter pours a small vodka glass of this coulis in a hole in the soufflé at the table.' I was not sure how to add the truffle - grating it resulted in large unsightly pieces at the bottom of my soufflé so I asked the chef. 'The trick is to use truffle honey as a flavor base, then add fresh black truffle. You need to cut it in the finest little cubes because it will be in contact with the soufflé only about 10 minutes, and any larger truffle pieces will sink at the bottom. We use the entire, unpeeled truffle.'

I'll try again for even better results, but this definitely belongs to my top 10 desserts.

If you decide to visit La Truffière - I strongly encourage you - make sure you get a table in the beautiful 18th century vaulted stone cellar rather than upstairs. Also, if at the end of the meal the waiter asks you if you want to have coffee in the salon, you should know that the 'salon' is the two benches next to the door upstairs. Nice benches but not very intimate. Check them out when you enter and decide for yourself. This being said, the service is lovely and if you don't want to, they won't insist.

 

La Truffière
http://www.latruffiere.com
4 Rue Blainville
75004 Paris
FRANCE
+33 46 33 29 82


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16 Comments

  • #1
  • Comment by Mistina
Merci beaucoup! I adore truffles AND soufflés, and since I don't plan
to return to Paris for at least 10 months or so, I'm anxious to try
this recipe at home.Two quick questions, please: What is caster sugar? And what is maizena?Thank you so much for sharing your experience--and this recipe!
  • #2
  • Answered by fx
Mistina, thank you for your comments! Actually I meant sucre
blanc
, that is plain granulated white sugar. As for the word
I incorrectly used, Castor or caster sugar is the name of a very fine
sugar in Britain, so named because the grains are small enough to fit
though a sugar "caster" or sprinkler. It is sold as "superfine" sugar
in the United States. As for  maizena, it is the french name of cornflour/cornstarch. Sorry for that! You
really need to beat your egg whites strongly and the soufflé,
obviously, will begin to deflate as soon as it exits the oven. Good
luck!
  • #3
  • Comment by Tammie Burnes
I loved your article.  It made my mouth water.  I want to try the recipe.  I live near the los angeles area.  Where can I find black truffles?
  • #4
  • Comment by CKfusionist
Hmm , i wonder how it tastes like though, never tried any truffle before. The nutrition lecture of mine told us there's a white truffle in the lab , never manage to find it though.
  • #5
  • Answered by fx
CKfusionist, truffles are just as good as vanilla or Stilton, just way more expensive. If you can't find your white truffle it is probably stale by now. If it is any fresh you should have no problem finding it by nose only!
  • #6
  • Comment by Jenine
Gorgeous and inspiring. I will try this at home, unfortunately not with the real deal, but rather with a distant cousin in a jar. I am really curious about the fruity, sweet compote served on top. Shouldn't the truffle dominate the flavor?
  • FX's answer→ Yes, but it works. They don't serve it with a sweet compote but with a tart syrup in small quantity. The danger with dessert is to go sickly sweet and a measure of tartness helps balance it out!

Hi FX,

Great posting! My wife and I will be heading to Paris this Summer - definitely not a truffle season. That being said, would you still recommend this dish at this place ("La Truffiere") ?
You mentioned you like this shop better than La Maison De La Truffe - can you elaborate a tad more? Our trip will be short enough that I'd like to make it as effective as possible.

Merci!

Will
  • FX's answer→ Will I really recommend La Truffière, but la Terre de Truffe is a fine place to sample some truffle dishes too, although I prefer to buy them at la Maison de la Truffe. Why don't you read my article Paris Truffle Dinners and my other Paris articles for more information, this might come interesting!

I am going to make this one for sure, thanks!  Do you know a reliable on-line store where I can buy black truffles?  I've heard of Chinese imitations being sold as black truffles.
  • FX's answer→ Claudia, I wouldn't buy truffles online at all. Just wait until you can buy fresh, very fresh one. Ask a local gastronomic restaurant where they buy theirs.

  • #12
  • Comment by Gloria
Hi there!

Amazing recipe! May I know how you plan to incorporate the truffle honey into the souffle recipe?

When do we add the truffle honey to the souffle, and how much is needed? Thanks!

Gloria
  • #13
  • Comment by Elsa
Thanks for mouth watering recipe.
I got the truffle and I'll make it this weekend. I have two sizes of dishes for individual soufflé. What size do you use?
Thanks
  • FX's answer→ Dish size depends on the portion I need, not sure how it affects the rising of the soufflé.

  • #15
  • Comment by truffles
I loved the recipe idea, need to get my hands on some truffles to try this and truffles with mashed potato.
  • FX's answer→ Well glad you liked it




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