truffle explosion. wow.
 I knew my purchase of a hemispheric mold would come in handy some day....and last night happened to be the right time! I happened to stumble across a BEAUTIFUL black truffle, so of course I had to make something outrageous with it.  Fortunately, I also happened to have truffle juice (brilliant), gelatin sheets (you never know when you'll need them), and the Alinea cookbook.  Obvious, commonplace, regular things to have in one's own kitchen! 

heaven in the palm of my hand
Grant Achatz - one of Thomas Keller's proteges - made this famous.  Imagine the delicious chinese soup dumplings, then turn them into truffle. This is a soup dumpling at its finest.  Per Alinea, "tasting Black Truffle Explosion is like experienced a water-balloon fight in your mouth. A truffle tea teems against the supple skin of a ravioli, the tension released only when your teeth pierce the pasta and unleash a cascade of earthy juice. as it explodes, you experience a quickening of the spirit followed by a funky, palate-coating burst", and it "was a dish that would weed cooks out." 
i could drink this juice for breakfast.
When reading or talking about Alinea, all anyone would hear about was the truffle explosion, which at one point was taken off the menu - Grant wondered which was worse: is keeping it "an injustice to creativity, or was not keeping it around an injustice to the guests who have never had it?"

Well, after tasting this, I can tell you that it's the latter.  This was the most delicious morsel of anything I've ever had.  The previous description of it was spot on - textures, flavors, heat, liquid, solid, everything in one little bite. Of course I had to make it.  And it was SIMPLE.

The main component of the dish are the truffle spheres...not only are they ridiculous tasting, but let's be honest, making anything spherical is amazing because it is, quite frankly, unnatural for the most part. 

For the spheres, you have to start with the gelatin sheets - you can get this from any bake store.  I soaked 4 sheets of gelatin in ice water until they became pliable, about five minutes.  While they're soaking, just simmer 1/2 can (7 oz) - I halved the recipe- of truffle juice with a big pinch of sea salt.  Grant suggests to add entirely too much butter, which I think is unnecessary and masks the taste of the truffle, so I opted out.  Add in about a half ounce of truffle oil, and whisk together.  Squeeze the excess water from the gelatin sheets and whisk into the truffle mixture - once the gelatin has dissolved completely, pour it into hemispherical molds. Also, if my apartment could have the aroma given off by this mixture at all times, I would probably dream of unicorns, rainbows, frolicking through poppy fields, sugar, and spice all night every night. And truffles.
gelatin sheets

Let the mixture set for a few hours, or overnight - these can be made ahead!  By the way, on a sidenote, the silicone hemisphere molds are amazing - it was so easy to remove the mixture from them! I was so concerned they would bust, or rip, or something unfortunate, but they came out perfect!  To complete the explosions, you have to make a little pasta party for yourself (check out my pasta post!!) - you can buy fresh pasta if you need, or even use wonton skins - it's just not as fun!  If you do make your own pasta, make sure to roll it out as thin as possible in your pasta machine.  Remove your half-spheres from the fridge and make them into FULL spheres. Just dab a bit of water on one half and sandwich them together. Replace in the fridge until you're ready to use them.

When you're ready to start making these insane explosions, bring a large pot of water to boil with a few large pinches of sea salt - you can add some truffle slices if you please, but I'd rather just eat them them have them boil away!  While the water is boiling, it's time to start the finishing touches! Saute/wilt some greens - Grant uses romaine, I used beet greens. A little olive oil, salt and water - cook little slices until tender, remove and reserve.  Shave one slice per ravioli of the best parmesan you can find, and thinly slice your truffle. Do not give into temptation and eat the truffle!!!

When you're ready to make the ravioli, place spheres a few inches apart on one sheet of pasta.  Brush around the truffle sphere with an egg wash or water to help seal the pasta together.  GENTLY lay your second sheet of pasta over each sphere, pressed the pasta together around each individual sphere one at a time.  Once the pasta is sealed, use a circular cookie cutter or anything circular that can cut really to finish off your ravs.  Pinch together the edges just in case - you don't want to lose that truffle juice deliciousness in your pasta water!
they look like hamburger sea beans...really

Gently place each ravioli into the boiling water and cook for approximately three minutes.  When they are through and just al dente, remove, and top each with a piece of wilted greenery (shrubbery?), a slice of truffle, and a slice of parmesan. Pure heaven.  Take in one bite, or a few to savor the flavor of this.  The truffle gel melts while the pasta is cooking, creating the most delicious broth inside the pasta. Epically delicious. 

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. There is no other name for this other than truffle explosion, because that's exactly was it was. Truffle juice soup, plus the toothiness of the fresh pasta, with a little crunch from the fresh truffle skin, and a nice subtle saltiness from the parmesan.  The epitomy of umami!


rara avis said…
Truffle juice? Dumplings? More truffle? Yum, oh, yum.

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