One of the dessert courses (yes, as in one of many) at that French Laundry meal that you are are likely tiring of at this point was something called White Truffle Float. I was a bit confused by the notion of truffles in dessert. The confusion quickly turned to awe when I tried it. Somehow, someway, when placed in a dessert the white truffle metamorphosizes into something else. Something closer to deep nutty flavors with a complexity the average tree fruit only dreams of. It was quite simply the best dessert I have ever had. I remember wondering if I would ever have it again.
Enter the truffle. When I saw the size of the truffle I had managed to get I knew that I had to try to recreate the dessert. I knew that if I could do it justice my guests would be in for a treat. A recent addition to the cookbook collection (yes, I admit to having a problem) is Eleven Madison Avenue. It is an impressive and interesting book but to be honest I got it for one reason. It contains a recipe for white truffle ice cream! Another recent cookbook Heston Blumenthal at Home (it was a gift I swear!) instructs the crazy home cook to use dry ice when making ice creams that contain eggs. Of course I to try, right? A word of warning, the reaction can be dramatic though the results are stunningly smooth ice cream in approximately 60 seconds. I first tried this late in the evening after everybody had gone to bed. I could barely stop laughing which meant I had to make a second ice cream, caramel in this case, just so I could do it with spectators.
When the time came I spooned some caramel from the Milk cookbook into some glasses, added a scoop of caramel ice cream and then two scoops of white truffle ice cream, some Virgil’s Creme Soda, and then topped it off with shaved truffle. Not as good as The French Laundry but awfully darn good! Part way through the course came my favorite quote of the evening: “Josh, you made me feel like a kid again!” For an avid cook, with more than a bit of the hospitality gene, this is as good as it gets. A course with the ability to transport. Awesome!
After the last of the desserts disappeared the after dinner drinks found there way to the table including a birthday gift 40 year old Graham’s Tawny Port. With the cooking chores behind me I relaxed into this amazing beverage savoring what was the finest meal I had ever made for the best dinner party we had ever thrown. I couldn’t quite believe I had pulled it off, seven courses, excellent wine pairings, 11 happy diners. What a way to celebrate!
Now what should I do for the next big one…