February 23, 2015
champignons en croûte
A sign of laziness is using a food processor to “dice” mushrooms for a duxelles. The results can hardly be called a dice, and the practice lacks a certain Zen. There is a certain feeling of satisfaction that comes from producing a uniform dice from something as irregular and friable as a common mushroom. Since mushrooms readily expel some of the internal water when cooked, even mushrooms diced to a coarseness of 3 mm (1⁄8 in) will shrink significantly to produce an attractive result.
Another sign of laziness is using factory‑made puff pastry when the genuine article is easy to prepare at home. Plus the premade pastry usually contains ingredients other than butter, flour, and salt. It may not even include butter.
I guess I’m one for two. For this preparation I diced the mushrooms by hand, but I couldn’t pass up the little, 625‑g (20‑oz) package labeled 13‑cm (5‑in) European‑Style Puff Pastry Sheets. The ingredient list isn’t very exciting, but the convenience of being able to remove one or two sheets at a time and leaving the remainder frozen was too good to pass up.
Combine the homemade duxelles with the store‑bought puff pastry, and you come to recipe below. About a quarter of the rolls tried to unroll when baked, but they still tasted good.
2 13‑ by 13‑cm (5‑ by 5‑in) sheets
egg yolk beaten with 1 T water
brown mushrooms, 3‑mm (1⁄8‑in) dice
shallot, 3‑mm (1⁄8‑in) dice
leaves from 6 sprigs
flat‑leaf parsley, minced to match the mushrooms
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. To prepare the filling: Melt the butter in a small frying pan over medium‑low heat. Add the mushrooms, shallot, and parsley. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Cook the mixture until the mushrooms give up their water, and everything is cooked. Sprinkle with a little black pepper.
2. Spread the mixture into a single layer on a plate. Refrigerate until chilled.
3. Roll the puff pastry pieces in opposite directions until they are each about 18 cm (71⁄8 in) long. Cut each piece into four rectangles, each 61⁄2 cm (21⁄2 in) wide by 9 cm (39⁄16 in) long.
4. Working with each piece separately, lay the rectangle in front of you so the long dimension is parallel to the front of your work surface. Using your rolling pin, gently roll the far edge so it is thinned out.
5. Spread a 1‑cm (3⁄8‑in) wide strip of the filling along the closest edge of the pastry. Be sure that it is just a single layer and goes all the way to the edge. Very lightly brush the remaining exposed surface of the pastry with water. Lift the edge with the filling and roll the pastry into a tight roll. Set aside.
6. Repeat the process with the remaining 7 pieces of pastry dough.
7. Cut each pastry tube crosswise into two pieces. Arrange the pieces on a plate and lightly brush the tops of each with the diluted egg yolk.
8. Freeze the pieces, and vacuum pack.
9. For service, preheat your oven to 200 °C (390 °F).
10. Arrange the still‑frozen pieces on a baking sheet. Bake until golden brown, about 12 minutes.
11. Cool slightly on a rack before serving.
Yield: 16 pieces.