Student Recipe from PLANTLAB Culinary’s Fundamentals of Raw Cuisine: Surprise Truffles

20 Aug 2018

@samyuktakartik profile image

Note from @vikasgarg: like a lot of us we’ve eaten at restaurants associated with the founders of PLANTLAB and had wonderful experiences. What we didn’t know when this article was written was some of the past history with this brand and its founders, including numerous financial and legal problems. As of Sep. 2018, it looks like history repeats itself, and while we still think the article and recipes are inspiring, we advise anyone considering attending or working alongside PLANTLAB to do their research first. We’d love to hear your thoughts so please post your comments at the end of the article.


Soon after I learnt to make basic truffles, I wanted to push myself a notch higher and create something bold and exciting. One good habit I picked up from the PLANTLAB course that I recently completed was to pay ample attention to every subtle detail to make the dish truly memorable. These truffles are meant to reflect that.

When you first look at this plate, you see a plain chocolate truffle and a matcha one. But when you bite into them, you’re greeted with entirely new layers. The chocolate truffle has a layer of matcha covering a hazelnut, and similarly, the matcha truffle has a layer of chocolate sandwiched inside.

I thought a wonderberry compote would be a special addition to this dish. Wonderberries, also known as sunberries or ‘manathakali’ in Tamil, are wild black berries that grow in small quantities. Since I’d grown up eating them – picking them straight off the plant at our old family house, it was exciting to suddenly discover a totally new way of using them. They’re extremely nutritious, have a wonderful color, and add the perfect sour/tangy note to this dish to balance the sweetness of the truffles. The almond chia crisps add some crunch and complete the dish.

It’s always fun to eat food that’s interesting and full of surprises in terms of components, texture, and flavor. That’s what I’ve aimed to achieve with this dish and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!


Surprise Truffles

Wonderberry compote, almond crisps, hazelnut, cacao, matcha.
Makes: 12 pcs
Active time: 2 hrs

Making the Matcha nut butter


  • 2/3 cup cashew butter, homemade (thick consistency)
  • 2 tsp agave
  • 1 tsp matcha
  • Pinch of sea salt


  1. Blend until fully combined. Should be a firm consistency.

Making the Cacao truffles


  • 12-15 hazelnuts, skins removed
  • 6 tbsp almond butter, homemade (thick consistency)
  • 2 tbsp cacao powder
  • 1 tbsp agave
  • 1 tbsp date paste*
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of sea salt
* To make date paste, blend ½ cup soft dates with ¼ cup lukewarm water until smooth.


  1. Mix the almond butter and date paste in a glass bowl with a spatula
  2. Fold in the remaining ingredients until fully combined and keep aside
  3. Use about a teaspoon of the matcha nut butter to form a mini truffle around a hazelnut. Roll into a 0.5 x 0.5 inch ball
  4. Gently cover it up fully with the cacao truffle batter, and roll into a 1x1 inch round ball, making sure the matcha hazelnut layer is no longer visible
  5. Repeat this process for all the truffles or switch it up by rolling matcha truffles with the cacao layer on the inside

Making the Almond Crisps


  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 2 tsp chia gel*
  • 1 tsp agave
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
* To make chia gel, whisk 1/2 tbsp chia seeds with 1 tbsp water in a small bowl, and keep aside for 10 minutes


  1. Pulse the almonds in a blender until sandy. Make sure not to over-blend as it will start to release oils

  2. Transfer to a bowl and add sea salt

  3. Gently mix in the agave and chia gel, and work on it with your hands until a soft dough is formed

  4. Spread into a thin 1/8” layer on a non-stick sheet and dehydrate at 50˚C for 15-18 hours or until crisp

  5. Break into shards once crisp

Making the Wonderberry Compote


  • 1 tbsp + 8 pcs. fresh wonderberry
  • 1 tsp agave
  • 1/2 tsp lime juice
  • Pinch of sea salt


  1. Keep aside 7-8 whole berries for plating
  2. Whisk the remaining ingredients in a bowl until the seeds get released, and form a chunky sauce


  1. Use a silicone brush to spread a neat, sharp layer of the compote off-center of the plate.
  2. Layer 3 - 5 truffles on top and place the almond crisps in between them so they stand tall.
  3. Drizzle some of the remaining whole wonderberries on the plate to garnish.

. . .

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@lou profile image
ooh i never knew about wonderberries and what they looked like till this post!
@vikas profile image
vikas4 YEARS AGO
That makes two of us!
@vikas profile image
vikas4 YEARS AGO
Great recipe!
@bigfatnyancat profile image
bigfatnyancat4 YEARS AGO
These look too beautiful to eat!
@ruchikabatra profile image
ruchikabatra4 YEARS AGO
looks good!!