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6th Annual Truffle Dinner – Part 3

2009/12/21

Today’s post closes out my annual truffle dinner with a tasty dessert, even if it was the only dish I was less than 100% satisfied with. In part one I wrote up a fantastic duck confit and black truffle risotto, whereas part two discussed a roasted fillet of beef with truffle and root vegetable infusion.

Also from Gordon Ramsey’s 3-star Chef cookbook, I selected this dessert because most of the components could be made in advance. The pate sable only took about 15 minutes to make and because it freezes well, it was made on Tuesday. I moved it to the fridge on Friday to thaw slowly, therefore making it easy to slice and bake the morning of the dinner.

I made a first attempt at tempering chocolate for garnish, but was not as successful as I would have liked. Even with my friend Lisa’s assistance with temperatures for the various stages, I didn’t end up with a professional, shiny garnish. I attribute that mostly to the fact that I played with the chocolate too much while spreading it on a Silpat and using the wrong side of it – I should have used the (smooth) underside of the Silpat instead of the textured side. Regardless, the chocolate tasted fine.

Two syrups were required – a stock syrup (a slightly more concentrated simple syrup) and a reduced stock syrup. Some of the former was used in the raspberry butter sauce, while the remainder was reduced by half and drizzled on the final plate.

The raspberry butter sauce was made by pureeing fresh raspberries and some stock syrup in a blender or food processor and passing through a fine mesh sieve to remove the seeds. The puree was boiled to reduce by a third, temperature dropped to a simmer, and bits of cold, unsalted butter were whisked in to form a rich, shiny sauce. The raspberry butter was cooled to room temperature and then refrigerated until service.

And now the part I wasn’t overly impressed with. The vanilla cream. The issue surrounds the English use of the term “double cream” as an ingredient and apparently my lack of common sense in this case for technique and shopping for an appropriate ingredient. English double cream has a higher milk fat content (48% or higher) compared to the heavy whipping cream found in North America (35%), resulting in an ultra-rich, luxurious product. My first mistake was purchasing Devonshire double cream and not double cream proper. Devonshire double cream is actually clotted cream (why it doesn’t just say clotted cream on the bottle is beyond me). The second was not going with my instincts that said, “this doesn’t seem right” when making the cream itself.

The vanilla cream was supposed to have the texture of a mousse that could be piped onto the sable breton. In order to make it, a base custard with a scraped vanilla bean, milk, egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch was used. This is where things go awry. The recipe calls for the double cream to be whipped to soft peaks and then folded into the custard. Well, clotted cream is solid so obviously it can’t be whipped. Instead of going with my gut because things didn’t seem right and whipping some heavy cream to soft peaks and folding that in, I just folded in the clotted cream. The result? Even after many, many hours in the fridge, the vanilla cream was more like a very thick creme anglaise instead of a pipeable mousse. The moral of the story? If it doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t. Fix it! The flavour was still fantastic though.

Sable breton with vanilla cream, fresh raspberries, and raspberry butter

Sable breton with vanilla cream, fresh raspberries, and raspberry butter

The dessert was absolutely delicious, especially the sable breton and raspberry butter. Moving forward, I think I will keep some pate sable in the freezer since it stores well and I can bake it off as needed. Also, the raspberry butter sauce will be used again for other desserts or even to top some great ice cream.

A half bottle of 2003 La Tour Blanche Sauternes was a wonderful pairing and the perfect end to a fantastic meal. I’ve been fortunate to drink this wine on several occasions and am also glad that I have several more bottles in the cellar to enjoy over the coming years.

  • 2003 Château La Tour Blanche Sauternes – France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes (12/5/2009) From 375mL. Good lord, this wine is consistently delicious showing similar notes every time. Medium-gold colour. Aromas of vanilla, apricot, peach, honey, and lychee follow through to the rich, unctuous palate. The acidity still lifts this wine and prevents it from being cloying. Long finish with more honey and apricot notes. (95 pts.)

In a problem that most people would like to have, there was actually duck confit and a bit of truffle left over for the next day. As a late breakfast/early lunch I made an omelette to remedy the situation.

Omelette with duck confit and fresh black truffles

Omelette with duck confit and fresh black truffles

Omelette with duck confit and fresh black truffles

Omelette with duck confit and fresh black truffles

Eggs and truffles are an amazing thing and adding duck can only be better! I turned out the omelette before the eggs were completely cooked, allowing the residual heat to finish the process.

Once again, it was quite a blowout meal! The days of effort were worth it. Now thoughts are to next year to take things a step further!

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