Pondering the Fungi – Shiitake and Crimini Mushroom Cheese Crust Pie

Looking through the latest issue of Donna Hay magazine while pondering what to eat for dinner I turned a page and beheld the most fabulous photographs of savory pies, crusty quiches, deep dish tarts…whatever you want to call them…and knew exactly what we would be having for dinner. A quick trip to the market and a couple of hours, and much pondering later, our Shiitake-Crimini Mushroom-Cheese Crust Pie was in the oven.

While I was taking photographs of the mushrooms and later while the pie was baking I spent some time pondering nature and how fantastic it is that we have environments where these little, almost precious looking, edible fungi thrive.  Relaxing musings.

This  led to me pondering about what would make any foolish person or persons in charge of overseeing the balance of our natural world want to change, damage or undo environmental policies that protect such environments. Anxious thoughts.

This line of thinking led me to reading about the world of mushrooms. I needed a diversion from the political path I was going down while  waiting for my pie to bake.  I was pretty happy to learn how adaptable they are to multiple and risky environments. Fungi can adapt in amazing ways to changes in the earth and still thrive. Happy ponderings.

Which led me to realize we humans are not in any adaptable league with fungi.  Sad thought.

The last 10 minutes of bake time I spent writing a note or two to a few congressman and the White House about their recent disregard for the environment, fungi and life on earth as we know it.  Hopeful Act.

Pie ponderings. No matter how much I cook I still learn new “tricks” that make so much cooking sense.  Such is the making of this crust. Once the springform pan is prepped and the cheese dough is well-chilled I grated it into and over the bottom. It’s so much easier to press down and up the sides. Grating the chilled dough also created a finished baked pie with a ruggedly ragged crust that is very striking. Thank you Donna Hay.

It looks a lot like fresh pasta doesn’t it?

Sauted mushrooms, Gruyère shredded, eggs, cream, fresh thyme leaves fill the crust……

….to be baked to a toasty brown perfection.

This is one of the best things I have made in a while. Crisp crust, velvety filling with the earthy mushrooms and the sharpness of Gruyère cheese. After all that pondering so very satisfying with a salad and glass of wine. Delicious thoughts.

Shiitake and Crimini Mushroom Cheese Crust Pie

                        

Ingredients for crust:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour with 1 teaspoon salt mixed in
  • 1 1/2 cups cold butter chopped
  • 3/4 cup shredded aged white Cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1 large egg
  • a few tablespoon cold water if needed
  • parchment paper cut to fit 9″springform pan
  • 1-2 tablespoons butter for springform pan
  • a smear of Dijon mustard for the baked crust

Ingredients for filling:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped small
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt & 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 pound mixed shiitake and crimini mushrooms, trimmed
  • 1 cup heavy cream, warmed in the microwave
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 cup shredded Gruyère cheese (divided)
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves

Directions for crust:

  1. Place all ingredients except for the ice water in a food processor and pulse until well mixed. Remove lid and using fingers test dough to see if it will hold together. If not, replace processor lid and drizzle in, by tablespoons, cold water until dough starts to hold together. It can still be loose and slaggy.
  2. Dump dough onto a flat work surface and form into a firm ball. Cover with plastic and chill for 1 hour. (This could be done the day before just as well.)
  3. When ready to make pie preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  4. Butter the sides and bottom of a 9″ springform pan. Cut a piece of parchment to fit the bottom of the pan. Place in pan and butter paper.
  5. Grate well-chilled dough over the bottom of the pan evenly. Press in bottom and up sides of pan halfway leaving an uneven somewhat ragged edge.
  6. Line dough with a sheet of parchment or waxed paper, fill with pie weights or beans and bake for 25 minutes on a large sheet tray.
  7. Remove the paper and weights and cook for another 10-12 minutes or until light golden brown. Turn heat to 325.
  8. While crust is cooking saute onion and garlic, salt and pepper in olive oil in a large skillet or saute pan over medium heat until onions are softened. Remove and set aside.
  9. Melt butter in same skillet and add mushrooms. Saute until lightly browned stirring often. Remove from heat.
  10. Slowly add the warm cream to the eggs, whisking as you add. Stir in half of the Gruyère cheese and thyme leaves. Add the cooked onion mixture.
  11. Smear the Dijon mustard over the bottom of the baked crust. Sprinkle mushroom over the crust. Gently pour the egg cheese mixture over the mushrooms. Sprinkle remainder of Gruyère and additional thyme if you like over the top.
  12. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, on a sheet pan, or until the center is set and pie is golden brown and puffy. Remove to a wire cooling rack for 30 minutes to cool before cutting. Serve cut into wedges to serve 4 or 6.

Adapted from a recipe from Donna Hay magazine.

” Pink Grapefruit Juice & Coconut Water Cocktail, or Mocktail?”

2015

Here is a somewhat healthy drink to end this year, or to start your 2015 off deliciously.

A mixture of fresh pink grapefruit juice, coconut water, vanilla beans, a honey or agave nectar based simple syrup, seltzer water and a bit of fresh fruit for a garnish with or without a splash of Vodka is pretty healthy…..no?

Totally and absolutely inspired by Donna Hay Magazine  Dec/Jan 2015 Issue.  Pages of beautiful cocktail ideas for the Holiday season..lovely photographs..an intriguing mix of ingredients.

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A Mocktail…no Vodka, a Cocktail with a generous splash!

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I stumbled upon some fresh red cherries in the supermarket. In December? These along with some of my candied Buddha Hand citrus pieces..perfect garnish.

Big chunks of candied citrus. Citrus & honey simple syrup. (Go here for how to make candied citrus and a simple syrup. Any citrus works the same. If you want use either honey or agave nectar.)

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Serve over ice…sip..relax. Here’s a toast to a Happy and Interesting New Year Y’all.

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Pink Grapefruit Juice & Coconut Water Cocktail/Mocktail

  • Servings: 15-20
  • Difficulty: very easy
  • Print

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Ingredients:

  • 4 cups pink grapefruit juice (fresh)
  • 4 cups coconut water
  • 1 vanilla bean, split to allow seeds to come out
  • 1/2 to 1 cup citrus/agave simple syrup (to taste)
  • 2 bottles of seltzer water
  • Good Vodka for Cocktail, or not for a Mocktail
  • candied citrus peel or candied ginger for garnish
  • fresh fruit – cherries, mango or pineapple chunks for garnish

Directions:

  1. A few hours before serving mix together the grapefruit juice, coconut water, split vanilla bean & simple syrup in a large container. Stir well. For this you can use a punch bowl or glass jar dispenser as I did. Cover and chill.
  2. Meanwhile make garnishes by spearing fresh fruit & candied citrus peel or ginger on a short skewer. Cover & chill.
  3. When ready to serve add seltzer water to the drink container & the Vodka to taste. If you prefer to have “kid or non-alcohol drinker friendly” mocktails add Vodka to individual drinks as desired.

Note: This drink mixture will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week…if it lasts that long! Cut recipe in half for a smaller crowd.

Based on “Fomo” a cocktail recipe in the Dec/Jan 2015 Issue of Donna Hay Magazine. I felt the original version was just too tart for my palate, so I added the simple syrup which gave this drink a more rounded flavor, which brought out the essences of the vanilla & coconut water.

Teresa Blackburn       teresablackburnfoodstyling.com          foodonfifth.com