Ultimate Delicate Luxury: Truffled Chawanmushi / by Alice Zhao

Jared's been planning this dish for weeks. It's been a super busy few weeks for the both of us so he's had to put this dish on the backburner (so to speak!). In the meantime, he's been imagining it and re-imagining it so often that I kept poking fun at him asking "Are you sure this is going to taste good?".
This past weekend we squeezed in a super quick trip to Fox and Obel to pick up truffles. Unfortunately they didn't have any fresh truffles (they don't get any until Christmas-ish) so we settled for an uber expensive super tiny bottle of truffles. And FINALLY, this past Sunday Jared put this food concept to the test.
Ladies and gentleman
Allow me to present to you
Jared's pièce de résistance
TRUFFLED CHANWANMUSHI.
Chawanmushi with truffle egg white mousse topped with fried dried scallops, chives and truffle slice
Here is Jared's take on this dish:

For a while, we had these dishes that we bought from Japan on our last big Asia trip in 2007. The indentation in the dish made it a perfect vessel for holding an egg. So I knew I want to do a chawanmushi dish, but not a in a traditional way. Traditional chawanmushi is essentally steamed beaten eggs. But for this reinvention of chawanmushi, I wanted to be able to enjoy the velvety texture of the yolk as well as the "airiness" of the egg whites separately. So I made a custard with the yolk and a mousse with the egg white. To incorporate flavor into the dish, I selected truffles, since egg and truffles go well together and brings in a strong earthy flavor. I beat the egg yolk and then mixed it with cream and salt. This combination steamed in low heat created a smooth and rich egg custard that is unbelievable. I like to describe it as a savory creme from a creme brulee. To counteract the heaviness of the yolk custard, I then made an egg white mousse. I whipped the egg whites and folded in whipped cream, (not the stuff in a canister that you squirt in your mouth. yeah, you know what I am talking about). And to heighten the savoriness of this dish, I used a little bit of grated Parmesan cheese in the egg white mousse and topped it with dried scallops and chives so it wouldn't overpower the truffles and you would still be able to taste the eggs. Both the Parmesan cheese and the dried scallops provides natural MSG and adds umami to the dish. And then finished off the dish with a "healthy slice" of truffle!

The temperature also plays a part. Normally chawanmushi can be eaten warm or cold, but by separating the egg components, you can't really taste the yolk as much when cold and the mouse will not hold when hot. Therefore, cold mousse is spooned on top of the warm custard. It actually worked out really well. As you scoop up the chawanmushi, you first taste warm smooth texture of the custard followed by the airy cool mousse. Mixing the two together in your mouth intensify the truffle flavor. Overall, I would rate this a success and will redo this dish once fresh truffles are in season!


Warning: This is not for the faint of heart in the kitchen, and not for the faint of heart in pure luxury! I have to say (and it's not just because Jared is my husband) that if I was told that this was a dish served at the French Laundry, I would not have questioned it! Seriously, ridiculousy exquisite!
And yes, we totally realize this photoshoot looks just like our watermelon sphere salad post, but it seemed so perfectly suited for this dish so we had to recycle it! =) And btw, we are headed to Asia in a few weeks and will hopefully pick up new and cute serverware. We plan on bringing empty suitcases and hitting up hyaku yen shops in Osaka! (more on that later...)