Thursday, December 6, 2012

Wild Mushroom Pasties

I love dough, bread, crust, you name it. Put shortening/oil/margarine/whatever together with flour and some salt and water and I'll eat it. Wrap it around something mouth watering like sauteed mushrooms and I'll probably knock down your 80 year old grandmother to grab the last bite!

These particular stuffed morsels are called "pasties" after the Cornish Pasties that are sold all over England and it is how the dough is made that qualifies them as such. Instead of cutting the shortening into the flour, it is melted in boiling hot water and then the flour is added to it along with salt and some baking powder. The result is an incredibly flaky crust that boggles the mind.

(By the way, I am well aware of the sniggling from the peanut gallery since the term "pasty" has a different connotation on this side of the pond! Us cooks who are focused on the origins of food will simply ignore the giggles!)

Traditionally pasties are made with ground lamb or root vegetables but mushrooms were screaming at me since L.A. has hit its rainy season and 'shrooms are popping up all over! If you can find fresh, local mushrooms at your farmers' market, mix it up by all means!

Wild Mushroom Pasties
(makes 6 large or 8 small)

1/2 lb white mushrooms, chopped
1 portabello mushroom, chopped
10 pieces dried porcini mushrooms (about 1/4 ounce)
1/2 onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoons salt
1 cup boiling water
1 tablespoon cognac or brandy
2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, minced

Pasty Dough
1/2 cup margarine or shortening
1/4 cup boiling hot water
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Set margarine or shortening out on counter to come to room temperature. In heat proof cup or jar pour boiling water over porcini pieces and set aside.

In large skillet, saute onion and garlic in olive oil until softened. Add chopped white and portabello mushrooms, salt, and thyme and saute over medium high heat until mushrooms give up their juices, stirring occasionally, 10-13 minutes. When mixture begins to stick to pan, strain porcini soaking liquid into skillet, no more than 1/2 cup and deglaze the pan, scraping up any bits that have stuck. Strain remaining liquid from porcinis and minced porcini pieces and add to pan. Stir mixture until liquid is absorbed and then add cognac or brandy for a second deglazing. Once all liquid is absorbed, add parsley and stir to blend. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside to cool.

To make the dough, whisk or shift flour, salt and baking powder in large bowl. Heat water and when boiling pour over shortening in small metal bowl, stirring to melt it. Once it is all dissolved, pour over the flour mixture and stir well to make dough. Chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Divide dough into 6 balls and roll out into circles. Place 1/6 of mushroom filling on 1/2 of the disk of dough and fold dough over filling. Press down edges to seal, using the tines of a fork to seal it. Brush tops with a little oil and poke holes to allow steam to escape. Bake for 30 minutes until dough is lightly browned. Allow to rest 5 minutes before eating to cool.


Recipes currently inspiring me:

Vegan Sausage and Kale Stomboli at Wholly Vegan
Quinoa with Brussels Sprouts, Leeks and Almonds at Stacey Snacks
Curried Carrot Soup with Roasted Pepitas at Eats Well With Others

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