Thursday, December 15, 2011

White Truffle Oil Infused Custards with Black Truffle Ragout

I have admired the picture of the completed custards over and over.  I've contemplated cutting the shells, how pretty the standing chive chip would be, how delicious double-truffle custard would be.

Well, at least I got one of those right.

Let's start with the eggshells.  I bought an egg cutter (against all instinct, because I thought I would be terrible at cutting eggshells).  The stupid, stupid thing did not work (what a waste of $10!)  But, I was right about the eggshells: I AM terrible at cutting them.

(and let us not even mention the number I broke.  Luckily, I needed a lot of eggs for the dinner overall).

I knew the chive chips would be a challenge.  I mean, i'm making chips out of potatoes squished together!

First, I prepped the sheets - two silpats, clarified butter, salt.  Hint: don't put a ton of salt.  The chips may have been pretty, but they were kind of like eating a salt lick.

I peeled the potato, cut it into a band-aid shape, sliced it thin on the mandoline.  I laid a chive between two slices, and baked on low low heat.

The recipe said they were supposed to take 20 minutes.  Um, more like an HOUR before they were golden brown and crisp-like - they never got crisp like a real chip, but at the least they were cooked.  Some of this may have been me, since I did confuse the instructions and think that I needed to sandwich those between two cookie sheets.  They were delicious, once I got past the salt lick thing.
Finally, a couple of hours before people were due, I made the custard.  It was actually simple.  There were only like four things in it - how could it not be??

I warmed the milk and cream to just under a boil, turned the blender on, and poured it in.  Yes, turned the blender on THEN poured it in.  I have to admit, I was scared - visions of scalding milk flying in my direction.  But Thomas Keller said turning it on first would actually STOP splashing, and who am I to argue with TK?  Unsurprisingly, he was right.

So, where was I?  Oh yeah, milk/cream, blending, then I added a couple of eggs, salt, pepper, and (at the very end) white truffle oil.  As i've said so many times, i'm not a huge fan of the smell of white truffle oil, so it didn't smell heavenly.  Pour it into a spouted measuring cup, into the egg shells, which went into a big glass pan that I filled 2/3rds of the way with water.  Baked for about an hour, perfect custards!
Finally, right before serving, I reduced some truffle-infused stock, a dash of vinegar, some truffles, and some brunoise.  Beautiful stuff.

The finished dish:

The chip is standing!  At least it did for a minute - it quickly wilted in the sauce/custard.  Eating it... well, lets just say this is the 'playfulness' in this meal.  I served them in these shotglasses (sake glasses?) I found when unpacking hubby's old high school pottery he made that had been boxed up for at least a decade.  Innocent high school times, i'm sure.  And to go with pottery shotglasses?  Baby spoons.  The only thing I could find that actually fit into the eggshells.  Well, I found one espresso spoon, which husband used, because he said there was 'absolutely no way' he was eating off a baby spoon.  Marked contrast to one male guest who told us about how he used to eat baby bananas and HIDE THE JARS and how eating off a baby spoon brought back memories.  Hilarious things that come out when you have co-workers over for dinner.

I think the fact that I talked about the container and spoon for so long tells how I felt about the custard.  I mean, it wasn't bad.  But it wasn't my favorite.  I was disappointed, after admiring the picture for so long.  With so few disappointments so far, though, it only seems fitting that something wouldn't be the most amazing thing ever.

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