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The best part of an Easter egg is definitely opening it to find out what surprise it contains, so I didn’t want to miss out on this pleasure by proposing a mouth-watering dessert that is perfect for a picnic on the first days of spring: my Little truffles with surprise.

Thinking of the perfect dessert for an Easter Monday lunch, perhaps by the sea or surrounded by nature, a bite-sized treat to be eaten without cutlery is definitely the perfect solution. And do you know how my Little truffles with surprise were born? By pure chance with ingredients found in the fridge after my online cooking course on Fantastic Tarts. I recommend not underestimating the surprise effect by putting whatever you like in the centre of the soft mascarpone cream: in addition to my suggestions, give free rein to your imagination to make each bite unique.

Another added value of Little truffles with surprise is that you can prepare the dough even a week in advance by storing it in the freezer! Simply take it out of the freezer a few hours before completing the preparation… in short, a dessert for busy mums.

And if you want to know what my Easter lunch menu is going to be, here it is: Tuna and pepper quiche, Herb-marinated chicken salad and Little truffles with surprise.

Little truffles with surprise

33.15g carbohydrates per 100g of truffles without filling

Ingredients for about 20 little truffles

  • 250g Mascarpone
  • 180g shortbread biscuits**
  • 45g icing sugar*
  • 30g espresso coffee
  • filling to taste: jam*, berries, chocolate cream*, hazelnut cream*, almonds, hazelnuts, dried fruit
  • bitter cocoa powder*

**Ingredients specific for celiacs

*Ingredients whose labels must read “gluten-free” (or, in Italy, present on  Prontuario AIC)

Preparation

  1. Blend the shortbread biscuits in a mixer, then mix them with Mascarpone, icing sugar and espresso coffee to obtain a homogeneous mixture. Place the mixture in the freezer to harden and make it workable.
  2. When the mixture is firm, weigh out 25g spoonfuls, flatten them on the palm of one hand and place the filling of your choice in the centre, closing to form a ball.
  3. Place the cocoa powder in a soup dish or small bowl and roll the truffles in it so that they are well coated with cocoa.
  4. Place the truffles in paper cups and keep them in the fridge, taking care to remove them about 30 minutes before serving.

N.B.: to use them for a picnic, keep them in the freezer until the last moment, then store them in a cooler until ready to eat.

Tartufini-close-up

Version with gluten of Little truffles with surprise

Replace gluten-free shortbread biscuits with conventional biscuits; all other ingredients are naturally gluten-free, so no adaptations are necessary.

 

Prior to Covid, street food events had become a must-attend event for cooking enthusiasts, and these Supplì with Balsamic vinegar and cooked shoulder ham would have been the perfect protagonists of a snack with friends in the name of good food and regional flavours. So, I wanted to share them with my work colleagues, turning an ordinary day into a special day!

Il supplì con i colleghi di lavoro

But what are Supplì? I told you about them last year for the first SuppliTiamo event with my Suppli Viva l’Italia. And for this new edition of the contest, I wanted to create a much richer and delicious Supplì using three products from my region: Balsamic Vinegar of Modena in its two expressions, PGI and PDO, Cooked shoulder ham from San Secondo and Parmigiano Reggiano.

Let’s start with order. I am not going to tell you about Parmigiano Reggiano because its history has been the protagonist of many other recipes, while I will start with Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PGI. This is the product obtained from partially fermented and/or cooked and/or concentrated grape must and wine vinegar that are subjected to acetification and ageing in wood for at least 60 days. Aging can last up to 3 years for vinegar called “Aged”. This vinegar is the aromatic, sweet and sour product that we are used to using as a condiment and that I love for preparing my sweet and sour onions.

Balsamic PDO is a product that, despite its similar name, has very different characteristics and uses. Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PDO is in fact the product obtained from a single ingredient, cooked grape must, aged in barrels of different woods and sizes for a minimum of 12 years following a unique production process, closely linked to family traditions. Balsamic Vinegar PDO is a thick, glossy black liquid and has an extremely sweet and concentrated flavour. It is perfect to be consumed raw on sweet and savoury dishes.

Finally, Spalla cotta di San Secondo is a typical deli meat from the areas near the river Po in the province of Parma obtained from the shoulder of pigs. It is a product with a long history sought after by cured meat enthusiasts for its very distinctive flavour and aroma: eaten warm, perhaps with the typical Fried dough, Spalla cotta is just unforgettable!

So let’s prepare our Supplì step by step.

Supplì with balsamic vinegar and cooked shoulder ham

29g carbohydrates per 100g

Ingredients for 8 servings

  • 550g meat stock
  • 270g Carnaroli rice
  • 200g onions
  • 120g sliced cooked shoulder ham from San Secondo*
  • 100 g young Pecorino or other cheese that melts
  • 2 eggs
  • 50g breadcrumbs**
  • 40g Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated
  • 40g wholemeal rice flour*
  • 20 g butter
  • 3 tablespoons of Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PGI
  • 1 teaspoon Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper
  • seed oil for frying

**Ingredients specific for celiacs

*Ingredients whose labels must read “gluten-free” (or, in Italy, present on  Prontuario AIC)

Preparation

  1. Prepare the rice by putting the Carnaroli rice in the meat stock and cooking it until all the stock has been absorbed. Stir the rice with butter and grated Parmesan cheese, then spread it out on a plate or tray to cool.
  2. While the rice is cooling, prepare the onions. Slice them thinly and brown them in a non-stick frying pan with a little oil (I used my fantastic Shark Skin pan from Pentole Agnelli discovered at one of the Risate & Risotti evenings last year) and a bay leaf. When the onions are soft, add Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, season with salt and pepper and let the sauce thicken well. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  3. Once the rice has cooled down, put it in a bowl and incorporate an egg. Season the rice with 1 heaped teaspoon of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena.

L'aceto balsamico tradizionale di modena

4. Assemble the supplì. Lightly grease your hands with extra virgin olive oil, place a layer of rice on the palm and fingers of one hand, place a spoonful of sweet and sour onions in the centre of the rice, a few cheese cubes and a slice of cooked shoulder ham from San Secondo. Using lightly greased fingers, take more rice to cover the Supplì and form the cylinder, sealing it well.

5. Beat the second egg in a bowl with a pinch of salt. Dip each Supplì in rice flour, then in beaten egg and finally in breadcrumbs.

6. Put the seed oil in a saucepan, heat it and deep fry the Supplì until golden and crispy. Serve them piping hot and… remember to open your eyes again after the first bite!

dettaglio supplì

Version with gluten of Supplì with balsamic vinegar and cooked shoulder ham

Replace gluten free breadcrumbs with standard breadcrumbs and, if you prefer, rice flour with wheat flour.