Truffle hunting is like a delicious game of hide and seek. They hide underground, so farmers rely on animals to sniff out the treasure.

Country New South Wales may not be the spot where one would typically expect to find black Périgord truffles, but there are few magical locations in our Orange region that are champions of growing this tasty fungi.

Every winter, truffle fever hits Australia. In restaurants, you’ll see tiny black curls topping everything from pasta to roast potatoes, where they impart an intense umami flavour. If one whiff of black truffle is enough to make you reach for your wallet, why not try this truffle recipe at home.



500 gm pork sausages, skins removed
10 gm fresh black truffle, finely chopped
1 tsp thyme leaves, finely chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten with ½ cup milk

375 ml chicken stock (1½ cup)
125 ml dry sherry (½ cup)
8 leaves gelatine (gold strength), softened in cold water (15gm)
10 gm fresh black truffle, finely chopped

60 ml milk (¼ cup)
125 gm lard, coarsely chopped (see note)
450 gm plain flour, sifted (3 cups)
Watercress and beetroot salad
2 bunches baby golden beetroot, trimmed (about 2 cups)
½ bunch watercress, washed and stems trimmed (about 150gm)
1 small white onion, thinly sliced
60 ml extra-virgin olive oil (¼ cup)
1 tbsp white wine vinegar



For jellied truffle aspic, heat chicken stock and dry sherry in a saucepan over medium heat until warmed, then transfer to a bowl. Squeeze excess water from gelatine and add to stock, whisking to dissolve gelatine. Add truffle, season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground white pepper. Transfer to a jug and cool.

For pastry, combine milk, lard and 150ml water in a saucepan and bring to the boil over high heat. Place flour and 2 tsp sea salt in a food processor and with motor running, slowly add hot milk mixture, in a thin stream, and process until a smooth dough forms. Cool dough for 2-3 minutes, then place in a lightly oiled bowl, turn to coat, cover and stand in a cool place for 20 minutes. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead lightly for 5 minutes.

Halve dough and roll out one half to 5mm thick. Using a 10cm-diameter round pastry cutter, cut out 4 rounds, reserving scraps. Repeat with remaining pastry, so you have 8 rounds altogether. Press pastry rounds into 8 lightly greased holes of a 12-hole, ½-cup capacity muffin pan.

Preheat oven to 200C. Combine sausage meat, truffle and thyme in a bowl and season to taste, then divide sausage mixture among the pastry-lined holes. Roll out reserved scraps to 5mm thick and, using an 8cm-diameter round cutter, cut out 8 rounds, then, using a 2cm-diameter round cutter, cut out a hole in the centre of each round. Place rounds over the pies, pressing edges with fingers to seal, and trim excess pastry. Brush tops of pies with eggwash and bake for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 180C and bake for another 15-20 minutes or until pastry is golden. Remove from oven, allow to cool a little, then pour jellied truffle aspic into the holes of pies. Cool completely, then chill in refrigerator. Pies will keep refrigerated, in an airtight container, for up to a week.

For salad, cook beetroot in boiling salted water for 8-10 minutes, drain, then peel and halve and place in a bowl with watercress and onion. Whisk olive oil and vinegar in a bowl to combine and season to taste. Drizzle over beetroot mixture and toss gently to combine. To serve, bring pies to room temperature and serve with salad.