Often times for me, a meal gets inspiration from one ingredient. That usually comes from what is on hand and needs to be eaten before it turns to waste. Mushrooms are usually a staple in the kitchen here because we love them and because of their versatility and the flavor they add to almost any dish. Now that summer is finally receding, the time seems ripe for baking and also perhaps, more mushroom eating. I had an open pint of Baby Bellas, my go-to market mushroom, unless of course they are offering something more unique and interesting. Bellas are firm and fleshy and stand up to being sautéed, baked and even roasted. I decided to add more flavor by using dried wild Porcini mushrooms as well. Start by cleaning and soaking your mushrooms.
Cleaning mushrooms can be as simple as a rinse under the kitchen faucet with a drip-dry in a colander but cleaning them this way does tend to leave them water logged. Since I knew I was going to have to soak the Porcinis I opted to clean the Bellas by gently brushing them with a dry towel. Time consuming, slightly, but effective and better for the recipe I believe. The Porcinis I set in a bowl and covered with hot, not boiling, water and left soaking for about a half hour. After straining the Porcinis, I reserved the mushroom "broth" and put it in a ziplock inside the freezer for a future meal. Risotto perhaps.
Now, to the business of making the pastry. This recipe can surely be made with a store bought pastry dough but I urge you to try your hand at making your own. I love making dough mostly because after a few rounds of trial and error I have become good at it and more importantly I love eating it. It is an incredibly rewarding and satisfying pleasure to eat something so simple and delicious that has been created with your own hands. For this crust I used Thomas Kellers pâte brisée recipe. This was definitely a more buttery, flakey crust than I have used in the past for my quiche or crostata rustica doughs. Take note that his recipe is suitable for using with both savory and sweet dishes and it is a doubled recipe so you can make enough to freeze the extra batch and use on a rainy day.
I opted to blend the pastry by hand rather than my food processor but doing either will work equally as well, it is honestly up to you. Putting a physical effort into a dish tends to instill a meditative calm in me while blending the flour and butter together until it turns to a fine crumble. Buster, my kitchen assistant seems to enjoy it as well.
Once the mushrooms have been cleaned and/or soaking and the pastry is finished and is chilling, it is time to prep the filling. I based my recipe off of one that the lovely Miss Beth Kirby posted on the Local Milk blog, but the real beauty of it is that I used what was on hand. Don't limit yourself. Be inspired to use what is in your cupboards, crispers and coolers!
pastry recipe here
ingredients for filling