The local markets are rich right now as the first local pears and apples arrive from orchards, the plum season continues, grapes are displayed in sweet smelling crates and of course it is mushroom season.
To get good crops of autumn mushrooms the weather needs to be damp and sunny, which means that is has to rain and in between the rain we need a little autumn sunshine. And because that is exactly what we have had these past few weeks, the mushrooms are abundant.
I think I already told you about the strange goings-on in the forest when mushroom season comes around. Mushroom hunters are very protective and secretive about where they find the precious funghi. They hide behind trees for fear of being seen in the prime picking parts of the woods, and baskets of mushrooms are often covered with a cloth, to avoid arousing interest.
Personally I buy mushrooms from the market, I’m not confident enough in recognising the different varieties to be sure of eating everything that can be found in the forest … besides which I rarely have the time to forage!
This is a recipe from my new book, a mushroom bake that is quite easy to make and delicious as a snack or to accompany a meat.
For this recipe I use a filo or flaky pastry, bought from my local baker.
400g or 14oz mushrooms
15cl or 5 fl oz cream
2 cloves garlic
Roll out the pastry into a square approx 12” or 30cm wide, place on a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper. If you want to plait the top of the pastry bake, then draw two light lines on the pastry so that it is visually divided into three equal parts. Using a knife, cut diagonal slits into the two outer thirds of the pastry. This is to form the strips that you will plait together later on.
Clean and slice the mushrooms. Crush two cloves of garlic and cook gently in a pan with a shallot onion and a little olive oil. Add the sliced mushrooms and cook over a medium heat until the mushrooms smell divine and any liquid has evaporated. Add 15cl of cream, salt and pepper and cook lightly until the cream has evaporated a little.
Spoon the mushroom mix onto the central third part of the pastry, and bring the strips over first from one side then from the other, to form the pastry plait over the mushrooms. Seal the ends of the pastry using a little milk to help the pastry stick together, and coat the entire plait with a beaten egg glaze.
Pop into a hot oven and bake for around 25 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm as a snack or to accompany a meat.
All photos by Franck Schmitt
My French Country Home – Entertaining Through the Seasons available HERE