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Truffle mousse is a form of savory mousse which is made with truffles, the edible fruiting bodies of the fungal genus Tuber. This dish has its origins in French cuisine, and tends to be extremely rich and very flavorful. When truffles are in season, truffle mousse is often on the menu at French restaurants; cooks can also try making their own at home. French delicatessens and specialty shops may also stock truffle mousse on occasion, although the quality of the dish may vary.
Typically, truffle mousse is made by blending truffles and foie gras to create a rich, creamy spread which is almost like patê. Other ingredients like cream, black pepper, and sometimes cognac may be added as well, depending on the taste of the cook. The focus of the dish is definitely the truffles, so ideally few ingredients are used to allow the star ingredient to shine. The resulting mousse can be molded in a mousse ring or similar mold so that it can be turned out onto a plate, or it may be served directly from a bowl.
Some cooks believe that truffles are one of the most amazing foods in the world. These knobbly fruiting bodies may not look like much, but when cleaned and cut, they release an incredible aroma, which varies depending on the exact species. Truffles also have a rich, earthy, loamy flavor which pairs very well with creamy foie gras. Truffles have been prized in France for centuries; they may be shaved over plates of food for a subtle flavor, or added into dishes which range from stuffing to pastas.
Truffles are infamous for being quite hard to find. Truffle hunters use specially trained dogs or pigs to sniff out and uncover truffles, and they tend to guard their harvesting spots closely. There are two peak seasons for truffles: winter and summer. These fungi can be quite expensive, especially winter truffles, which have a delicate flavor and aroma which is highly prized. If you happen to be in an area where fresh truffles are available, look for firm truffles with a strong scent, or ask a native to help you pick out the best mushrooms.
If you want to make your own truffle mousse, remember that a small amount of truffle goes a long way, because these mushrooms are quite strong. As a general rule, you want to use around a half ounce (14 grams) of truffle for every pound (roughly half kilogram) of foie gras. Puree the foie gras before folding in finely chopped truffles; if you want a creamier truffle mousse, fold in some cream as well, and add a pinch or two of cracked black pepper to enhance the flavor.