Honey Truffles | To-Table
You might be an expert on black Périgord or white Alba truffles, but have you ever heard of honey truffles? As you might guess from its name, this mushroom is known for its sweetness. They have a nice, mildly fungal odor that finishes very sweet – similar to honey or saccharin; and are perfect for dessert applications.
The mushroom, known by more scientific minds as Mattirolomyces terfezioides, is a kind of white truffle found primarily in Hungary, under black locust trees along the Danube river, where the soil is sandy and slightly alkaline. The truffle was first documented in 1588 when a Hungarian magistrate ordered a certain forest protected, due to its supply of these special mushrooms.
The honey truffle is a natural addition to sweet dishes such as the ice cream and panna cotta desserts, but it is also used to admirably subtle effect with a scallop tartare and green pea risotto. It lends depth to the bright, fresh notes of seafood dishes, while it melts beautifully into the rice, adding richness of flavor without the heaviness usually associated with its black Périgord counterparts.
Honey Truffle Sponge Pudding Cake with Wild Berries
This old-fashioned pudding cake separates into layers of golden-brown sponge cake atop a creamy, custardy sauce while it bakes. The amazing perfume of honey truffles adds an exotic note, pairing beautifully with the comforting, warm flavor of eggs, butter and milk. The aroma of the truffles permeates the entire dish as it cooks. A sprinkling of wild berries adds a tart counterpoint to the rich, luscious pudding cake. A paper-thin slice or two of the truffle adds an elegant finishing touch to this traditional, home-style dessert.
- Softened unsalted butter for greasing the baking dish
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 tablespoon (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped honey truffle
- 3 eggs, separated
- 1/4 cup flour
- pinch of salt
- 1 3/4 cups milk
- Fresh honey truffle to slice for presentation
- Fresh wild berries (we used huckleberries, but any fresh berry will do)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 1 1/2 quart baking dish.
Combine the sugar, butter and finely chopped truffle in a large mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat until light and fluffy, 3 – 5 minutes. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating the mixture well after each one. Mix the flour, salt and milk in thoroughly and set aside.
In a clean bowl, using the whisk attachment of the electric mixer, beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks, but are not dry. Stir a quarter of the beaten eggs whites into the batter to lighten it up. Thoroughly, but gently, fold in the remaining whites with a spatula. Pour the batter into the buttered baking dish.
Place the baking dish into another larger pan, at least 2 inches wider on all sides. Place into the oven and pour enough hot, but not boiling water into the outer pan to come halfway up the side of the inner pan.
Bake until the top is lightly browned and set, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and lift the inner pan out, placing it on a baking rack to cool.
Serve warm, at room temperature or chilled. Garnish with a generous sprinkling of fresh berries and a few shavings of the fresh honey truffles.
Honey Truffle Arborio Rice Pudding
- 1 cup water
- Pinch salt
- 1/2 cup Arborio rice
- 2 large egg yolks
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon honey truffle, finely chopped
- thin shavings of truffle for garnish
Bring the water and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the rice, return to a boil, and then reduce the heat to the lowest setting. Stir occasionally, cooking until the rice has absorbed all of the water but it still al dente, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside for a moment.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, milk and sugar. Slowly add the still-warm cooked rice mixture a spoonful at a time, stirring constantly. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan. Return the pan to the burner and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly and scraping down the sides, until most of the liquid has been absorbed and the pudding is very thick and creamy, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter and the finely chopped truffle. Allow to stand for an additional 5 – 10 minutes. Stir in a little more milk if the pudding is too thick.
Garnished with a few thin shavings of honey truffle just before serving, Arborio Rice Pudding is equally delicious whether eaten warm, at room temperature, or chilled. Add fresh berries or other fruit, chopped nuts, fruit puree or preserves – or nothing at all – for comfort food at its creamy, satisfying best.