While in the DC area a friend of mine provided me with a stunning gift: the oppertunity to have my way with a 3.85 oz Piedmontese white truffle. I, of course, made white truffle linguini, true white truffle olive oil (most white truffle oils do not actually use real truffles as described in this wonderful NY Times article on the subject) , and other assorted goodies that you must do when you are presented with such an astonishing opportunity.
I was trying, as the Japanese Iron Chefs of yesteryear, to design a desert that would highlight the white truffle. I only had what was on hand at my friends’ house, so I had to get creative. (No, I did not use the ice cream machine, but I was very tempted!)
The children at the house love to make their own cannoli. My friends would buy the cheap kits at Costco that comes with the pastry tube and the filling allready in a bag so that the kids can quickly make their own cannoli. I snuck out to the back fridge, stole the cannoli kit and got to work.
First, I used the truffle shaver to slice off a good stack of paper thin marbled white truffle. I then julienned it, took the small strips and sliced them again to make the smallest little squares of white truffle I could. I then emptied the pouch of pre-mixed filling, whipped in the white truffle, and then wrapped it up to let it stand in the fridge for a few hours.
The reason I decided to do this was because the essence of truffle is best exuded through oils. What is the filling of cannoli? Mostly riccota cheese. What is cheese? Milk fat!
Once the mixture had time to settle, thus letting all of the beautiful aromas of truffle amazement flutter through the “canned” filling, I took a taste. I was absolutely amazed. This was a clear winner, and I only used the low end cannoli kit. Just think what you can do if you started from scratch!
I pipped in the filling just before serving to the guests. I then had another idea: Cannoli usually have cherry halves on each end. We didn’t have any cherries, for one, and I wanted to change things up a bit. I wanted something red to accent the visual taste of the dish, but I also wanted something subtle and savory to accent and heighten the truffle in the cannoli. Saffron!
The end result was, dare I say, stunning. It was clear and away the best dish of the night. Who would have thought that white truffle cannoli would beat out another dish with slices of white truffle littering your plate?
NOTE: I took the picture at the top when Dawn Newton and I made the same dish from scratch.