Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Mushroom Croustade - an easy-to-make favourite

Croustade is a general French term for a savoury pie. They come in various forms, most commonly a topping on a baked bread base and in individual servings. My version is like a straight veg tart but with a more interesting base I think, and of course toppings can be varied. 

The recipe would take 35-40 minutes from start to serving, and makes one croustade to serve two. The base should come out a little crispy and the topping soft and luscious. I'd recommend prepping all the ingredients at the start, then switching on the oven (to 180C) once that's done.

A medium bowl, a medium saucepan and a baking sheet lined with parchment are needed. I'm not a great fan of 'rubbing in' flour and butter, and using a mixer with whisk attachment at lowest speed seems to work just as well.
by Rae Allen
Mushroom Croustade


60g plain flour
30g + 10g softened butter
30g flaked almonds, chopped finely
1 tbsp fresh basil, finely snipped
1 medium egg separated
200g mushrooms, sliced coarsely
2 tbsp white wine, sherry or veg stock
1 tbsp double cream
1 tbsp fresh parsley, finely snipped
20g Cheddar cheese, grated

1  Place the flour and 30g of the butter in the bowl and mix to breadcrumb consistency
          with fingertips or a slow beater.
2  Add the almonds, basil and egg yolk and use fingers or a blunt knife to blend the
          ingredients together to a dough consistency. (It it's still crumbly, add 1 tsp water.)
3  Either roll out thinly and place on the baking sheet, or put the dough directly on the
          sheet and press down by hand until thinly spread. Pinch up the edges to about
          15mm all the way round to make sure the filling won't spill over. Use a pastry 
          brush to make a very thin coating of egg white over the base.
4  Place in the middle of the heated oven for 8 mins, then remove but leave the oven on.
5  Meanwhile, melt the remaining 10g of butter in the pan and fry the mushrooms gently 
          for 5 mins, stirring occasionally. Stir in the wine/sherry/stock, cream and parsley
          and simmer for a further 5 mins. Use a slotted spoon to place this mixture on the
          base (so as to leave out any remaining liquid) and spread it evenly. Sprinkle the
          cheese over the croustade and bake for another 8-10 mins until the base is
          browning and the top sizzling.

Good 'sides' would be a green or mixed salad, battered onion rings (baked at the same time as the croustade), honey-roasted parsnips, or buttered Chantenay carrots tossed in dry-toasted pine nuts. Wine: could be a dry white or indeed a light red. For the Spanish touch, serve with a dry nutty fino sherry!

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