Ah, another truffle season, another visit (or two) to the wonderful Madame Truffles, (now also open at Queen Victoria Market)!
Okay, so I’ve been pretty busy with work and life and what-not, so I’m not going to write a big story or blurb with this one. There’s always time for truffles and cooking with truffles… but superfluous writing to pad out blog posts? Not so much.
My first truffle of 2015 was another from Pemberton, Western Australia – which is apparently becoming one of my favourite truffle growing regions – and with one half of it, I decided to make pies. Buttery, flaky, hearty, cheesy pies – the kind you’d find freshly baked and definitely not reheated at your little local corner bakery in New Zealand… the kind that you can also find (*cough* in an inferior form *cough*) in Australia. My favourite pie growing up was always the classic mince and cheese, with a good gooey gravy. I always try and do something vegetarian with my truffles, though, so I decided to use mushrooms and leek instead, but kept the dark, hearty, rich and flavourful gravy (made even better by having a mushroom base, I have to say).
To ensure I had a strong and solid base yet that all-important fluffy, flaky upper crust, I made the bottom of the pie casing with shortcrust and the top with puff pastry.
Now, it had been a few years since I last made pies and it was the first time I made shortcrust from scratch, so I was pretty happy with the delicious result!
So without further ado:
Mushroom, leek & cheddar pie with black truffle
This recipe is designed to make individual-sized pies in pie tins or ramekins, and it would make about 6 to 8 pies depending on their size.
For the truffle butter, I just sliced a block of good cooking butter into 5 pieces and stuck very thin fresh truffle shavings in between them, and put them back together into one block. I surrounded the block with more truffle shavings, and wrapped everything in up in cling wrap, put it back in the fridge overnight.
The next day, I took out the butter and let it soften at room temperature for about 20 minutes. Then I put it into a metal bowl and used a spoon to work and mix it until the truffle was distributed pretty evenly throughout the butter.
2 1/4 cups flour
80g truffle butter
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cold water
- Mix the flour, salt and both types of butter with your fingers until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
- Whisk eggs and the cold water until combine.
- Pour liquid mixture into the flour mixture, combine evenly, and knead gently until it comes together. Don’t overwork it.
- Break dough into 6-8 pieces (depending on how big your pies will be) and roll out into 2-3 mm thick sheets. This will be the pie bottom, so you will want it sturdy and a little thick.
- Stack pastry sheets on a plate with baking paper and a tiny bit of flour in between to keep them separated. Refrigerate for 2 or more hours.
I just use store bought puff pastry as I couldn’t be bothered making two types of pastry this time around. You can do the same, or find a good puff pastry recipe online.
12 swiss brown mushrooms (sliced)
10 white button mushrooms (sliced)
2/3 leek (chopped roughly, no long pieces)
1/2 large brown onion (diced)
thyme (chopped finely)
parsley (chopped finely)
cracked black pepper
120mL dry white wine
300mL cup (approx) vegetable stock
1 1/2 tablespoons Massels Supergravy granules
100mL thickened cream
a little corn flour (see method below)
fresh black truffle shavings
cheddar cheese (sliced – one slice per pie)
dried beans or pie weights
black or white sesame seeds
- Preheat the oven to 180C.
- Add about a tablespoon of truffle butter to a saucepan. Saute mushrooms, garlic and onion with a pinch or two of salt and pinch of thyme for 5 minutes.
- Add white wine to the saucepan and simmer until reduced by about 1/3, then add vegetable stock and continue to simmer until reduced a little more.
- Dissolve approximately half of the Supergravy granules in cold water (according to instructions on pack). Add to the saucepan, stir until mixed evenly and the mushroom sauce starts to thicken. Repeat with the other half. Remember, you are adding cream after this, so it’s ok if the gravy is quite thick at this stage.
- While that sauce is going, lightly grease your pie tins or ramekins, then line them with the shortcrust pastry you made and refrigerated earlier, making sure the sheets go a little over the lips/edges of the tins. Fill the pastry-lined tins with a layer of dried beans (these act as pie weights, so the pastry doesn’t lift up off the base). Blind bake these pastry bottoms for about 10-12 minutes, or until they are a little golden. Once done, remove from oven and set aside.
- Go back to the saucepan; slowly stir in the cream.
- Check the consistency of the sauce – it should be a reasonably thick gravy mixture that would hold in a pie but not too gloopy. If it’s too thin, add some corn flour to thicken (after dissolving first in cold water) – start with a third of a tablespoon at a time. If it’s too thick, add more vegetable stock.
- While mushroom sauce is simmering, in a separate pan, melt half a tablespoon of truffle butter. Saute leek until a little brown, then add into the mushroom sauce.
- Add a little more fresh thyme and simmer the sauce for 5 more minutes.
- Add a generous amount of cracked black pepper to season, as well as more salt to taste. I used some smoked salt, which is amazing stuff.
- Fill the pastry-lined pie tins with the mushroom gravy mix to three quarters full. To each pie, add a few black truffle shavings, then add a slice of cheddar cheese.
- Increase the oven temperature to 200C. Cover the top of each pie tin with a sheet of puff pastry (pre-cutting the sheet to shape and size will help), pressing gently and sealing the pie.
- Beat the egg lightly until mixed, then brush a thin layer of the mixture to cover the top pastry of the pie. Make 2-3 thin cuts to the pie top, then sprinkle with some sesame seeds.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes until the tops of the pies are golden brown.