Thomas Keller’s Truffle Infused Custards – an Amuse Bouche Phenom

by White on Rice Couple on May 6, 2009

thomas-keller-truffle-custard-recipe

Sometimes you want a dish that is so incredible, the moment your guests eat it their eyes widen, vocabulary stammers and smiles start to stretch across their faces …. Then come the inevitable proclamations of wonder and adoration. No more pulling punches, you are going straight for the “wow” factor.  Something that may be one of the best things your guests have had in their life.

Thomas Keller’s Truffle Egg Custards are just one of those dishes. This Easter we were having a gathering of friends who are close to our hearts and they are all well versed in exquisite cuisine, having worked or eaten in some of the best restaurants crafted by some of the best chefs in the US.  In planning our menu, we wanted to welcome everyone with an amuse bouche so good it would light them up and let them know how happy we were to have them over and I knew immediately where to turn, to our heavy artillery cooking resource, Thomas Keller’s The French Laundry Cookbook.

thomas-keller-truffle-custard-recipe

Nearly all you foodies are heavily familiar with Mr. Keller.  He is idolized and worshiped as one of the best chefs in the world.  He impeccably crafts dishes by polishing ingredients with great focus and attention to detail with perfect technique.  Yet he does this without going overboard to the point where he is (as we like to say) “fucking with the food.”  The artistry doesn’t overstep the heart and soul of the ingredients. For us, he is the epitome of a chef and a cook. Many of us have his beautiful cookbooks on our shelves and gaze into them longingly and for most that is where it ends.  They become another one of those glossy, high profile cookbooks that rarely get used. We’d like to say, “Get to using it, people.”

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Yes, some of the recipes can be challenging.  “Over one’s culinary head,” you might say.  But most of them are not, and some are actually fairly simple. By paying attention to Keller’s instructions you are getting a mini culinary training course and you’ll learn solid techniques for crafting beautiful and tasty food.   You can then take what has been learned and apply it to making food that is to your own personal style.  You don’t always have to have a dish as polished as Keller does to still have it incredibly tasty and how we’ve adapted his White Truffle Oil-Infused Custards with Black Truffle Ragout is a perfect example.

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The custards themselves are fairly simple.  One takes a little care to save the shells for a beautiful presentation, and making the custard is fairly basic. As is the Truffle Ragout.  We rarely can find fresh truffles here, and when we do they are un-godly expensive, so we have changed the ragout to match our purchasing habits by eliminating the fresh truffles, and only using the truffle oil.

He finishes off his custards with chive chips.  They are paper thin potato slices that have a chive baked in-between two slices.  They are incredibly beautiful and also a bitch to make, especially if you don’t have a quality mandoline.  So we don’t make them.  Instead we’ll take a couple pieces of prosciutto, and after we’ve crisped it up like bacon, we’ll slice it and use the prosciutto to finish off the custards.  One could even use bacon, but the crispy prosciutto has such a delicate quality and a slightly more intense taste that it makes it worth the added expense to give the custards their special touch.

The chives in his chips play an added role in the taste, so to not loose that element of Keller’s original custards, we added freshly diced chives to garnish the top of the custards. Now the entire dish is still beautiful and incredibly tasty, but done in our own style and in a commonly approachable manner.  And it all started with Thomas Keller’s brilliance in how he crafted his original dish.

“How was the result?” one might wonder.  These were handed to our guests as they arrived at the WORC household. Stunned pauses, lit up eyes, and  “Wow!” Latecomers were immediately told by the experienced guests to be quiet and just eat their freshly handed treat.  Don’t ask, talk, or dawdle, just try it.  The impression was so deep, we were regularly hearing about how much they were loved over a week later.  Phenomenal. Thank you for the inspiration, Mr. Keller.

-Todd.

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ragout & chive topping

"Bacon and Eggs" Truffle Infused Custards w/ Crispy Prosciutto

Yield: 8 Custards

Total Time: 1 hour

Adapted from Thomas Keller's The French Laundry Cookbook

Ingredients:

  • 8 lrg Eggs (the fresher the better)
  • 2/3 c Heavy Cream
  • 2/3 c Milk
  • 1 1/2 T Truffle Oil
  • sea salt & fresh cracked pepper to taste

Finishing Touches

  • 1 T Chives (finely diced)
  • 1 oz (2-3 slices) Prosciutto

Ragout

  • 1/3 c Veal or Chicken Stock
  • dash of  Fish Sauce (or dash of white wine vinegar)
  • 1 t unsalted Butter
  • 1/2 t Truffle Oil

Directions:

Custards

Prepare the Egg Shells

  1. With an egg topper or serrated knife, cut off wider end of the egg (make sure cut is low enough that a spoon can fit in the opening.)  If cutting with a serrated knife, lay the egg on a towel, and with a steady but gentle sawing motion, cut halfway through width of egg.
  2. Remove knife, turn egg upright, and pop off the top of the egg.  Pour 2 of the eggs into a bowl to reserve for the custard, and the others you can save for any other kitchen uses you might have for them.  Reserve the paper egg carton. Reserve the shell bodies.
  3. Under running water, using your fingers, carefully remove the membrane from inside the shell bodies.  Clean up any loose shell pieces from the edges of the shell cavity, then set aside.

Prepare the Custards

preheat oven to 275°F

  1. In a saucepan, heat the heavy cream and milk. As soon as it reaches a boil, transfer to a blender.  Carefully pulsing, slowly build speed of blender to prevent extreme splattering.  While blending, add the 2 reserved eggs, truffle oil, salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Strain the custard through a fine mesh strainer into a pitcher that pours well.  Allow to sit for a few minutes, then skim foam from top of custard.
  3. Place shell bodies upright into reserved egg carton (cut away extra spaces to make carton smaller.)  Carefully pour custards into shells, filling about 85% full. (If pitcher is pouring like a bitch, use a funnel to help aim the pours.)
  4. Using a pan that is a least 3 1/2 - 4" deep, fill about 1" of hot water into the pan.  Place custards (carton and all) into the water, and top off with more water (if necessary) to have water level reach 3/4 ths up the sides of the eggs.  Place pan into oven, cover with a lid or baking sheet, and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until custards are set. Remove from oven and set aside (They can stay in the warm water for about 2 hours if needed.)

Prepare the Finishing Touches and Ragout

  1. Heat a saute pan over med-high heat, add a touch of oil, and crisp up prosciutto (just like cooking bacon.)  Dab on paper towels to remove excess oils, then cut into 1/2"x 2" pieces (there will be spare tidbits you'll get to snack on.)
  2. Dice the chives.
  3. Put the stock and fish sauce into a small saucepan and bring to a boil.  Simmer for about 3-4 minutes, or until it coats the back of a spoon.  There should be about 3 T of sauce.

Finishing

  1. Swirl butter and truffle oil into reduced stock.  Season to taste.  Place each egg in a cup, and spoon about 1 t of ragout on top of the custards. Add a sprinkling of diced chives, then place a prosciutto crisp in each egg.
Recipe Source: WhiteOnRiceCouple.com.

Hello! All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use our images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or simply link back to this post for the recipe. Thank you. And remember in making the recipes, if using table salt instead of kosher or sea salt, make sure you reduce the salt amount.


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finale….enjoy!

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{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary May 6, 2009 at 2:18 am

Just beautiful! I’d be wowing if I was eating those for sure.

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2 Julia May 6, 2009 at 2:27 am

Perfect! And you give just the right advice about using Mr. Keller’s advice. The recipes are brilliant, but sometimes one needs to be practical. And as you proved, you can still get spectacular flavors.

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3 Lyrical Lemongrass May 6, 2009 at 2:38 am

Excuse me while I pick up my eyeballs.

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4 Dragana May 6, 2009 at 4:18 am

Sheer simple genius! Thanks for your fantastic pictures that will make it easy for all of us.

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5 Pigpigscorner May 6, 2009 at 5:43 am

WOW!

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6 Jeff May 6, 2009 at 6:56 am

The Bouchon and French Laundry cookbook are the perfect end table reading material. They have never left that position only for me to open occasionally and swear at Keller for being a genius madman.

I have also noticed everything in that book is a bitch to make. Hell straining the stock is not for the ADD at heart.

Nicely done and yes you have that oh fuck me this is wonderful result just from the pictures.

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7 Happy Cook May 6, 2009 at 6:02 am

Wow i love you presentaion in those egg shells.
Last year for christmas i had truffles in the soup, i didn’ tlike that taste and my hubby told it is something which you like it or don’t like it, i think i like the oil idea though.

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8 Natanya May 6, 2009 at 6:20 am

Holy cow! Your narration and images even make me think I could pull these off. Beautiful.

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9 Lisa (Homesick Texan) May 6, 2009 at 6:30 am

“They are incredibly beautiful and also a bitch to make, especially if you don’t have a quality mandoline. So we don’t make them.” That’s my kind of advice–make the recipe your own creation! And what an exquisite way to great your good friends and let them know how special they are to you. Inspiring!

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10 Phoo-D May 6, 2009 at 6:49 am

Wow. I’m in awe at the beauty and assumed flavor. You hit it out of the park with that one. Thank you for sharing! If I may ask, do you have a brand/type of truffle oil that you enjoy using? I’ve only run across truffle infused olive oil and it just doesn’t seem to work well as a substitute for truffles.

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11 Kristina May 6, 2009 at 7:02 am

Lovely. I’m going to have to try and make these sometime. Thanks for the step by step photos.

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12 Angela@spinachtiger May 6, 2009 at 8:41 am

Presentation is gorgeous and it’s equally inspiring that you can adapt a recipe for personal taste or practicality. I’m making my way through Le Cordon Bleu at Home and that is challenging enough for the moment, but perhaps one day, I’ll open the Thomas Keller.

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13 Hélène May 6, 2009 at 2:09 pm

Thomas Keller is one of my favorite Chefs. I love your idea of using Truffle oil. We can’t find fresh Truffles. Beautiful pictures. I’ll have to try. I like to impress my guests as well. Thanks for sharing.

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14 Christie @ Fig & Cherry May 6, 2009 at 2:41 pm

Absolutely stunning styling and photography guys! My jaw literally dropped when I arrived here from my feed reader. A truly outstanding job! Would love to have been there to try them… I love custard and proscuitto so you’ve got my heart :P

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15 Heather May 6, 2009 at 4:29 pm

ohhhh. you had me at crispy proscuitto. this sounds SO amazingly delicious!

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16 Simply...Gluten-free May 6, 2009 at 5:11 pm

So how do I get invited next Easter?

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17 Stephanie May 6, 2009 at 7:27 pm

Wow… simply wow. This is so beautiful and terribly elegant. I don’t think I have the patience to make something like this, but I commend you.

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18 Chez US - Denise May 6, 2009 at 10:13 pm

Beautiful Amuse Bouche!!!

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19 Prue May 7, 2009 at 3:10 am

I love these and I love Thomas Keller. You’ve got to be impressed by anyone who has carpet in their commerical kitchen. Thanks!

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20 Katie May 7, 2009 at 6:41 am

The pictures and the thought of these little bites of heaven make me want to go home immediately and make these!

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21 matt wright May 7, 2009 at 8:29 am

Seriously, this is amazing stuff. Love the adaption you have done here. I way prefer your photos here to those in the FL book.

I have also never heard Keller summed up so perfectly before – you completely hit the nail on the head – lovely writing guys!

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22 The Italian Dish May 7, 2009 at 1:14 pm

This was over the top, guys. Amazing.

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23 Allison Lemons May 7, 2009 at 1:23 pm

Your photos are absolutely beautiful. Really breathtaking. I totally agree about the “wow” factor. I usually rely on homemade cheese to get that reaction, but I may have to up the ante with this recipe.

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24 White on Rice Couple May 7, 2009 at 2:22 pm

Lisa – Thanks

Julia – Quite spectacular indeed.

Lyrical Lemongrass – Here you go. You had us rolling (and not the eyes!)

Dragana – Thanks to Keller! We though the step by steps would be helpful.

Pigpigscorner – Tastes like that, too!

Happy Cook – Thanks. Another Keller brilliant mark. Truffles can be intense. See how you like them used in small doses.

Natanya – You can. Give it a try, it’s worth it.

Lisa – Glad we could be of inspiration. It’s nice to spoil the ones you love.

Phoo-D – Thanks. We use Trader Joe’s in house brand of truffle oil. Nearly all truffle oils are actually truffle infused olive oils. They will all vary in intensity and taste, and nothing can compare to fresh truffles, but $$$$! Maybe after we win the lotto!

Jeff – Give it a crack. Find just one or two recipes that aren’t too daunting and give them a shot. Try simplifying the garnishes to make the recipe more approachable. The man does love to strain, though!

Kristina – Thanks and your welcome!

Angela – What a great challenge you’ve set up for yourself. Another fantastic tool for learning great technique.

Hélène – Actually the oil is still Keller, we just cut out the fresh truffles. Thank you for the compliment. Your guests will love you for these. We even had a non-custard liker, love them!

Christie – Thank you very much. We’re blushing!

Heather – I always have to hide some from Diane or she might eat all the prosciutto crisps. I want some too!

Carol (SGF) – You are invited anytime we can get you and the West Coast. Hope you had a great time in China!

Stephanie – The only time consuming part of the prep is the egg shells. You could always serve them in a ramekin instead. Worth a thought.

Denise – Thanks!

Prue – No doubt. His kitchens and their skill and poise are incredible!

Katie – They are sooo good. Almost to good to have except for rare, glorious occasions.

Matt – Thanks, thanks, and thanks. You are too kind. We love you, too.

The Italian Dish – Thanks. That’s what we are going for.

Allison – Homemade cheese and ricotta are great treats, too. Truly savor worthy!

Thanks for visiting and sharing everyone. Sorry we haven’t been commenting much on everyone’s sites in the last few weeks, but we are reading and enjoying you all. We just don’t want to slap up a comment just to comment. We want to leave as beautiful comments as you do here and haven’t had the time. Thanks again.

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25 Kate - Aapplemint May 7, 2009 at 5:53 pm

Wowie, thats a stunner guys ! Looks so elegant and decadent. I’d surly be drooling over these, if you served ‘em to me.

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26 cheffresco May 7, 2009 at 6:08 pm

These look awesome! You guys have the best blog!

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27 Jen Yu May 7, 2009 at 8:29 pm

Yes! Give that potato chip the BOOT and replace it with prosciutto :) Hellooooooo pork. Lovely, wonderful, blessed pork. I wish you two lived next door. I’d trade you cake for appetizers any day. xxoo

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28 joey May 7, 2009 at 9:25 pm

Oh wow! This looks and sounds phenomenal! Those lucky guests :)

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29 Manggy May 8, 2009 at 7:30 am

Ooooweee! I just got that book at a sale– for a measly $9! (It had a rip on the dust jacket.) I can’t wait to use it! And I’m glad to hear that the fine technique and effort (and lovely aesthetics) produced a very tasty dish as well :) Well done!

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30 veron May 8, 2009 at 10:11 am

hmmn…yum…eggs and truffle…a match made in heaven…

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31 Sara @ Culinerapy May 8, 2009 at 1:31 pm

I have to say, I appreciate above-all-else when I find others who are honest about eliminating steps in recipes that might not be worth the fuss. We make these trade-offs every day in the kitchen, don’t we? (Also, I have two Keller recipes that I worship – his roast chicken, and his Ratatouille!)

As always, your step-by-step pictures are so helpful and beyond stunning!

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32 Cynthia May 8, 2009 at 3:33 pm

Oh man! You guys definitely brought out the big guns!

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33 Mollie May 13, 2009 at 11:56 am

Lovely post, lovely custards! fantastic.
And I am also a big fan of not fucking with the food…

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34 Lori Lynn May 13, 2009 at 1:26 pm

Excellent post! I’ve had the pleasure at eating at both French Laundry and per se. In awe at both. I have that cookbook and haven’t made one thing! I appreciate the nudge.

Your custards do look heavenly!
LL

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35 foodwoolf May 16, 2009 at 8:26 pm

It’s true. This amuse bouche blew me away the second I saw it. Then, when I tasted it, I was sent to another world where texture and incredible flavors were all that existed. Wonderful photos here and great step by step instructions that lead me to believe that even I could attempt a Keller dish.

Yum!

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36 White on Rice Couple May 18, 2009 at 1:14 pm

Kate – Thanks. A little drool always helps the tastiness.

cheffresco – Aw shucks! You are too kind. But we know there are others out there better. We just try to keep improving and sharing.

Jen – We wish we were next door to you guys, too. I’ve got a sweet jaw, ya know!

joey – We are the lucky ones to have such great friends!

Manggy – Thanks! Great score in the shopping!

vernon – Completely!

Sara – We do make trade-offs all the time. Most all of us cook in the “real world” where we have other jobs and busy schedules. And sometimes the end result isn’t enough to justify the extra steps and time. Although sometimes it is. We like to try it at least once the “hard way” then tweak if it is appropriate.

Cynthia – And it was a direct hit!

Mollie – Thanks. We should create a fan club! NFWF!

Lori Lynn – Go! Go! Go! It’s fun just to try some of his things. Pick something you think you will like to eat, then do it!

foodwoolf – Of course you can make it, you talented woman. We had to make something special because we love you guys so much. Plus we heard you were bragging that you were going to an Easter gathering where they were serving an amuse bouche. Had to live up to the expectations, you know! Love ya Brookie!

Thanks for visiting and sharing everyone. Remember to try recipes that might intimidate you. It will help you learn and grow as a cook! Todd.

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37 Gill September 13, 2013 at 9:24 am

This recipe was posted in 2009 but I hope these comments are still monitored!. Sounds awesome – can it be made in advance or is it best served straight from the oven?

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38 White on Rice Couple September 13, 2013 at 9:46 am

For the best experience, you’ll want to serve them warm, but you can keep the custards warm in the water bath for a couple hours after taking them out of the oven. Have fun!

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