Wild mushroom tart, a surprise dinner.

I ran a private fungi course in a friends wood on Sunday and we had a fantastic morning exploring the wide range of mushrooms growing there. As well as the biggest group of the deadly Death cap (amanita phalloides) I have ever seen, we also had huge array of delicious edible varieties.

  • Pied de mouton
  • Brown birch bolete
  • Bay bolete
  • Bulbous honey fungus
  • Ochre brittlegill
  • Deer shield
  • Purple brittlegill
  • Shaggy inkcap
  • The flirt
  • Amethyst deciever
  • The deciever

We returned with our laden basket only for me to find out that everyone on the course was heading to L’enclume for dinner and couldn’t take any of the mushrooms home with them.

All for me! What a treat!  But what to cook?

With beautiful mushrooms and not a lot of time on my hands decided on this tasty puff pastry tart, and it went down a treat.

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Easy Mushroom tart

Ingredientsimg_9877
85 g Breadcrumbs
100g Cheddar finely grated
zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp fresh Thyme leaves
2 cloves Garlic minced
200g Mixed mushrooms sliced
150g Puff pastry  (bought or homemade)
a little milk for glazing
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

Method

Put a large saucepan over a high heat and add a large glug of olive oil. Fry the mushrooms at a high heat, if you only have a small pan then do it in batches so you can evaporate the any moisture quickly and get a little caramelisation on the mushrooms. Remove from the pan and set aside to cool. Whilst the mushrooms are cooling, roll out the pastry  to an oblong shape about 3mm thick.  Put the pastry onto a greased baking sheet, take a small knife and score a line around the pastry sheet 2cm from the edge.

Add the breadcrumbs, garlic and thyme to the cooled mushrooms and mix well.  Season the mixture with salt and black pepper then pile it onto the centre of the pastry base, keeping inside your scored line.  Sprinkle the cheese on top, glaze the pastry edges with milk and bake in the centre of the oven at 170 degrees C for 20-25 minutes until the pastry is golden and cooked through.

I served this hot with a winter vegetable slaw, but it would be great cold too.

Mushroom macaroons with truffled ganache filling.

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I had a chocolate covered cep lollipop as a pre-dessert a few weeks ago.

It was really good!

Chocolate with mushroom turns out to be a great, though unusual food combination.
Apparently science backs this up,

“both mushrooms and chocolate contain aldehydes (a compound that imparts nuttiness) and pyrazines (which enhance roasted flavours), says Bernard Lahousse, partner and science director at FoodPairing.com, a Belgium-based site devoted to exploring the chemical underpinnings of flavour combinations. This explains why the two foods, while seemingly dissimilar, work so well together. “The mushrooms also [bring out] umami in the chocolate,” further intensifying its depth of flavour, Lahousse says from his office in Bruges.”       The Globe and Mail.

We had some dried wild mushrooms left over from a great fungi season so I thought I would have a play.

These are the result……and they are good.

Mushroom macaroons with truffled ganache filling
Based on Andre Morton’s plain macaron recipe.

Ingredients:
For the Macaroons.
110g Icing sugar
40g Ground almonds
2 Medium egg whites
40g Caster sugar

For the Ganache.
100g Dark chocolate, chopped finely
100ml Double cream
1 tsp  Truffle oil

Method:

First make the Ganache. Put the cream into a pan over a medium heat until just below a simmer. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate and truffle oil to the pan, stirring until completely melted and combined. Pour into a container to cool.

Now for the macaroons.

1. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper. This is a different thing to greaseproof paper and is worth the slightly inflated price. In a food processor (or using a blender/stick blender if you don’t have one), grind together the icing sugar and ground almonds until there are no lumps – you want them as powdery as you can.

2. In a large bowl , whisk your egg whites and caster sugar. It helps to own an electric whisk. It might take a while, but they will eventually become filled with air and quite stiff, although it doesn’t matter if you don’t quite reach stiff peaks.

3. Add about half your sugary almond powder to your airy sugary egg whites and very, very carefully fold together with a large metal spoon. This just involves gentle mixing, making sure you scoop from the bottom in order to keep the air in.

4. Add the rest of your powder and  mix everything well. You want to force most of that air you’ve captured out, so that the mixture tumbles from your spoon, gradually but gloopily. Stop when it reaches exactly the consistency of flowing lava – when you drop some into your bowl, the surface should slowly flatten out to leave no visible peak. This might well be looser than you were expecting.

5. If you own a piping bag, great. If not, a freezer or sandwich bag is just as good. Scoop your mixture into your bag and twist the open end to force the mixture into a corner. Cut this corner off using scissors, leaving a hole about 1cm wide. Use this to squeeze little circles onto your prepared baking sheet. You want them anything between 1-2 inches in diameter. Leave plenty of space between each one.

6. Once your macaroons are piped, lift your baking tray about a foot or two above your work surface and drop it so it smashes down dramatically. Repeat 2-3 times – it’s just to remove any big bubbles that might be left in the mixture.

7. This is the most important step. Leave your piped macaroons uncovered and at room temperature for, at the very least, 30 minutes. The longer the better. You want the surface to dry out and a skin to form. At this point, preheat your oven to 180C/160C fan – fan is better. Your oven must be properly preheated for at least 30 minutes.

8. Bake for between 10 and 12 minutes, depending on the size you’ve gone for. You must take them out before they begin to go brown. A good tip is to open the oven fully, then quickly close it again, at least twice during cooking. This will remove excess steam.

9. Once baked and cooled, remove from the tray, spread the underside of half of them with Ganache and sandwich together with the other half.

Store in an airtight tin.

 

 

Wild chicken pie!!!

 What a find, three different summer fungi in as many days: Chicken of the woods, Dryads saddle, and St chicken of the woodsGeorge’s mushrooms. We are really lucky to have found them all, and in perfect condition to eat. Below is a recipe using all three, I’ve called it wild chicken pie because the chicken of the woods fungi has a flavour and texture similar to chicken breast. There are also very nice photos from our wild food foraging day course on Saturday 18th May 2013 …we braved the rain!

The warm weather we had a couple of weeks ago has been followed by recent cold nights and rain, this has brought out the fungi. Chicken of the woods or Sulphur polypore is a bracket fungi which usually grows on rotting oak stumps. It can also be found on living trees including oak, chestnut and beech. It is easy to identify by its tiered golden brackets, the underneath of which are sulphur yellow. Although Chicken of the woods is commonly eaten a small minority of people do experience nausea and dizziness after eating it so we advise you to be cautious.

summer fungi and wild garlicThe Dryad’s Saddle often grows on large logs and the stumps of broadleaf trees, particularly sycamore, horse chestnut, beech and ash. The story goes that Dryad’s are little woodland elves and this fungus is the one they use to saddle their mythical horses. This bracket fungus can only be eaten when it is young and soft, by the time it is large and flat it not only looks like a saddle it has the same texture! Look up this fungi in a book you should find it an easy one to identify. With distinctive brown scales on a light brown upper side and creamy white pores underneath.

St George’s mushroom is named after St George’s day when it is meant to be found. Although these mushrooms are usually a week or two after the event they are really quite late this year. It grows in grass often on calcareous soil. It has densely packed white gills under a creamy cap, the stem is also white and it does not have a ring. I could go into great detail but if you are a novice then you should really learn more about fungi before risking a positive identification. There is a similar poisonous mushroom with a brown spore print. The spore print for St George’s mushroom is white.

The fungi courses at our own wood are all full, but we are looking at more locations. We will announce new fungi course dates through our facebook site but if you prefer please email us at info@tastethewild.co.uk and will let you know when new courses are available.

Wild chicken pie – serves 4

  • 1 small onion, skinned and chopped small
  • 125g butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 100g wild garlic, stalks and leaves chopped separately
  • 275g Chicken of the woods, torn into strips
  • 175g Dryads saddle, sliced into bite size pieces
  • 100g St Georges mushrooms, halved and sliced
  • 250ml double cream
  • 100-200ml milk
  • Salt and pepper
  • 200g readymade puff pastry
  • 1 egg

Saute the onion in a good knob of butter for 2-3 minutes until soft but not coloured, add the chopped wild garlic stalks to the pan, cook for another minute then set aside. Now fry each of the wild mushroom types separately in butter with a little oil added (this stops the butter from burning) You need to fry on a high heat to seal the mushroom pieces and get a little colour on to them. They will take about 3-4 minutes for each type and probably use up all the butter in your ingredients list!

Don’t be tempted to put them all in together as cooking times may vary.fungi and garlic in pan

Now put the fried onion and garlic and all the mushrooms back into the pan, add the cream, half of the milk, the chopped wild garlic leaves and salt and pepper to taste, stir well and cook for a couple of minutes. Add more milk and seasoning if necessary to achieve a nice consistency and flavour to the sauce. Pour in to a suitable pie dish and leave to cool.

Pre heat the oven to 190 degrees C – gas mark 5. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured board to 5cm larger all the way round than your pie dish. Cut a strip from the outside edge of the pastry, moisten the rim of the pie dish and stick the strip to the rim. Moisten the pastry on the rim and then lay the remaining pastry over the whole pie to form the lid. Trim off any excess and brush with beaten egg. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until the pastry is cooked. Serve hot with steamed vegetables.

'wild chicken pie'

wild food foraging day course on Saturday 18th May 2013