I can actually lust after truffles Not the chocolate ones, the fungus kind. The kind that grow underground in Europe. I'm talking french fries with truffle oil, truffle pizza, truffle waffles, ice cream- you name it, i LOVE it!
So, when i noticed that First We Eat Events was sponsoring a photography workshop in Croatia with truffle foraging, I was all in. I signed up as soon as I could. Truffle foraging was on my bucket list. And I say "was" because I am happy to report that I have checked that one off...
Heading into Livade, Croatia, I noticed a large marble brain ? (that's what i thought), in a roundabout. I later discovered that this stone sculpture was actually a Truffle. Yes, that is what they look like. October is truffle season in Croatia, when the truffles are hunted by dogs and pigs and interested humans. It's quite a fanfare, people descend on Livade like fleas on dogs and the musky scent of truffles fills the air.
Our truffle forage took us deep into the forest with a woman forager and her two dogs; blah blah and blah blah... The dogs wait for her release, then they are off to sniff and snarf for truffles. Once they locate a truffle, the handler has to arrive quickly or the dogs will dig up and devour the truffle. Yes, even pups love the musty meatiness of a fresh truffle.
I loved the hunt. It was fast paced and the forest smelled heavenly. Livade was also having a truffle festival and I purchased lots of truffle products to bring home and share with my family and friends. I bought truffle oil, truffles chopped in oil, truffles mixed with mushrooms, truffle cheese and truffle sausage, truffle salt. So, I was delighted to invite some friends over to share in my truffle bounty.
I decided to make pizzas. I had a delicious pizza one day in Buge- so, I decided to try to mimic the pizza that I fell in love with. It was pretty easy. The pizza was a white pizza, truffles laying on top of a white cushion of fluffy cheese. It really wasn't that difficult to develop this recipe! That ugly little truffle makes a heavenly pizza!
White Truffle Cheese Pizza
Preheat your oven to 500 degrees. Take your refrigerated dough ball out of the fridge and let stand for 30 minutes before stretching into shape.
If you have a pizza stone, this is the time to put it into the bottom third of the oven. I don't use a stone, and I know that it produces a superior pizza. I have a pie pan that has holes in the bottom and that allows the heat to reach the bottom and brown the crust. My pan is 14 inches in diameter and it is large enough for 4 people.
- 3/4 cup whole milk ricotta ( yes, you can use part skim if you want to)
- 1/3 cup sour cream ( yes, you can use reduced fat)
- 2 T half and half
- 1/8 t. kosher salt
- 1/8 t. cracked black pepper
- 1/8 t. dried oregano
set this ricotta mixture aside as you stretch and form the dough into your pizza pie. brush your dough lightly with olive oil andplace in the oven and pre-bake for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven once your dough is crusty and very lightly browned.
Spread the ricotta mixture on top of the pizza pie, leaving a 1/2 inch border. I like to pull my dough in such a way as to leave a bountiful lip on the pie for a nice crust. Then, top with about 3 ounces of Asiago cheese or some other strong hard cheese (like Parmesean). Top your pizza with your truffles remembering a little goes a long way. Place your pie back in the oven and cook for 5-7 minutes depending on your preference for brown.
Once the pizza comes out of the oven, a generous drizzle of truffle flavored olive oil gives the pizza a nice robust flavor of truffles. You can also sprinkle just a tad of truffle salt on your pizza. Of course , this is extravagant and you have to be a real truffle snob to have all three of these on hand.
Well, the next thing you want to do is invite your friends over to enjoy your luscious pie!