This Season's Last Wild Mushrooms – Funnel Chanterelle Tartlets with Herbed Crust

Funnel Chanterelle Tartlets | My Blue&White Kitchen

Guys, this is probably going to be this season's last mushroom post and recipe. At least when it comes to fresh wild mushrooms... To be honest, I'm already planning to make a risotto with the funnel chanterelles I dehydrated, so I'm not ready to give up on mushrooms for good. I hope you're okay with that.

Last week, I spent a couple of days at out summer cottage enjoying the silence, fresh air, and woods. I knitted (currently working on this project using this wonderful yarn), read (finally finished the heart-breaking The Fault in Our Stars), and sat by the fireplace; watching the burning logs and listening to the crackling fire. The weather was rather nasty: rainy, cold, and windy. Typical fall days one might say. Even stormy. On the first night I actually was terrified of trees falling down on our house which, of course, didn't happen. 

Thursday turned out to be a great day; the rain had stopped and the wind wasn't that fierce anymore. Perfect weather to go mushroom foraging. Most often, I do have a certain mushroom variety in my mind when I head into the woods. This is mostly because different varieties grow in different environments and during different times of the year. To know where and when to look, you have to know what you're looking for. Pretty logic, right?

Funnel chanterelles (Craterellus tubaeformis / yellowfoot) can be found in great numbers here in the Nordic woods until late fall; basically until they get buried under snow so that you're unable to spot them. It's one of my most favorite mushrooms to forage as one often gets rewarded with a phenomenal catch – we came home with around 15 liters / 4 US gallons. Did we spent much time in the woods you might ask. No, a bit more than two hours. That's it. 15 liters of mushrooms for 2 hours wandering in a forest isn't that bad a reward, don't you agree?

It's quite obvious that there's no way I could consume such an amount within a few days. Luckily, funnel chanterelles are perfect for dehydrating so that's what I've done with most of them. They'll keep well for years when fully dried and are wonderful in risottos and in soups. Actually, I prefer a mushroom risotto made with dried mushrooms as the mushroom aroma is more intense. That's also why I've decided to share a mushroom risotto recipe at another time.

But of course I also use some of them fresh, such as in these lovely tartlets. I made them not only once but twice, both on Saturday and Sunday; they make a great lunch when served with a simple, fresh green salad. Truth to be told, I already tried to photograph these tartlets on Saturday without much success. I'm still trying to get used to these short days. I stood there,  watched the sun beginning to set, my tartlets still in the oven...at 3pm! Yes, these are the downsides of living here in the north. On Sunday, I was better prepared, and caught the perfect light. It was a gray, rainy day, and the light was lovely and soft. Hope you like these pics as much as I do. It's like I got rewarded for all the frustration I experienced the day before.

A few notes on blind baking:

  • Blind baking is the process of pre-baking a crust without the filling. It prevents the crust from becoming soggy due to the (usually wet) filling. A recipe usually clearly states should a crust be blind baked. Don't skip this step! It's not as intimidating as it may sound but actually quite quick and easy to follow.
  • Always use pie-weights, such as ceramic baking beans, when blind baking your pie or pastry to prevent it from losing its shape. If you don't have ceramic baking beans in your pantry, you can use dried lentils, peas, beans, or rice instead. 
  • Refrigerating the lined molds will keep the crust from shrinking during the blind baking. Therefore, lined molds should be refrigerated for at least half an hour before you blind bake them. [Give these pics a close look and you'll notice that I didn't have the patience to chill the crusts for long enough – the sides have shrunk a little.]
  • Remember to prick the base of the crust with a fork before baking! It will prevent the crust from bubbling up and the slides to slouch.

A few notes on storing & preparing mushrooms:

  • Wild mushrooms should be cleaned directly in the woods as it's much more difficult to remove the dirt afterwards.
  • Foraged mushrooms will keep well in the fridge for 2 to 7 days, depending on the variety. Don't cover the mushrooms and avoid storing them in plastic as they need to breath. I usually store them in the refrigerator's veggie compartment that I line with newspaper. If the mushrooms are really moist, I make sure to change the newspaper every few days. A paper bag would be perfect as well!
  • Never ever wash your mushrooms! I see this all the time, but it's really the worst idea one can have. Mushrooms are like sponges, soaking up all the water. It's bad both for texture and taste. Don't spoil your gorgeous mushrooms!
  • Instead, simply brush the mushrooms or wipe with a damp cloth. That's really all you need to do.

Funnel Chanterelle Tartlets with Herbed Crust

makes eight 10 cm (4") tarts OR one 22 cm (9") tart

for the crust
300 g (5 ½ dl; 2 ⅓ cups) all-purpose flour
155 g (1 stick) cold, unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 ½ tsp finely chopped rosemary
1 ½ tsp thyme leaves
½ tsp fine sea salt
4 – 6 tbsp ice cold water

for the filling
2 tbsp olive oil
15 cm piece of leek (white and light green parts only), finely sliced (you should end up with about 3 dl / 1 ⅓ cups sliced leek)
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
225 g funnel chanterelles or other (preferably wild) mushrooms
1 ½ tsp finely chopped rosemary
1 ½ tsp thyme leaves
¾ tsp fine sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
60 ml (¼ cup) dry white wine
1 tbsp finely chopped parsley

150 ml (⅔ cup) single cream
3 eggs (M)
40 g grated Västerbotten cheese or other flavorful, firm cheese, such as Comté or Gruyère


To make the crust
In a medium-sized bowl, combine the flour, butter, herbs, and salt. With your fingers, quickly rub the butter into the dry ingredients until well incorporated and crumbly. The dough should now resemble coarse bread crumbs with plenty of pea-sized pieces of butter remaining. Add water gradually just until the dough holds together when pinched. Try to work as fast as possible to avoid over-working the dough. Alternatively, you can use a pastry cutting tool or a food processor to make the dough. 

Form the dough into a disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for half an hour or until ready to roll.

Grease the molds. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Lightly dust a clean work surface with flour. Alternatively, you can roll out the dough between a piece of parchment paper. Roll out the dough into eight 3 mm (1/8") thick circles. Line the molds with the dough. Refrigerate for half an our.

Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F).

Prick the crust bases with a fork. Place a piece of parchment paper into each mold and fill with ceramic baking beans (or alternative baking weights). Prebake for 15 minutes, remove the baking beans and parchment paper and bake for further 5–10 minutes, or until the crust is light brown in color. Reduce the temperature to 180°C (355°F).
 

To make the filling
While prebaking the crust, prepare the filling. In a medium-sized pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the leeks and cook for about 3 minutes, or until soft but not brown. Add the garlic, mushrooms, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, or until tender. Add the white wine and let cook for about 1 minute. Add the parsley. Set aside and let cool slightly.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the single cream, eggs, and cheese until smooth. Set aside.
 

To arrange and bake the tartlets
Fill the prebaked tart shells with the mushroom filling. Pour the egg mixture over the filling making sure to spread it evenly. Bake the tartlets for 20–25 minutes, or until golden brown. Let the tartlets cool for around 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!


Note: If you decide to make one 22 cm (9") tart, you need to adapt the recipe a little: Roll the dough to 4 mm (1/6") thickness. Blind bake the crust for 15 minutes, remove the baking beans, and bake for further 10–15 minutes, or until light brown. Bake the tart with the filling for 25–30 minutes, or until golden brown.


Funnel Chanterelle Tartlets | My Blue&White Kitchen

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Into The Woods – Crostini with Wild Mushrooms & Ricotta

One of the biggest reasons why I love fall so much is because it's the season of numerous mushroom foraging trips. As I see the leaves slowly burst into vibrant colors and watch mist linger on the fields, my mind starts to wander in those deep forests; the forests that are not only a home to rich and diverse wildlife but also to edible berries, herbs, and mushrooms. As I've mentioned before, foraging is one of the greatest things that defines the Nordic kitchen and way of life. It's one of the most wonderful ways of living in harmony with the surrounding nature. It's a feeling of deep gratitude for those thick forests, blue lakes, and fresh air in our lungs.

We have a thing called every man's rights aka freedom to roam here in the north. This basically means that the nature is something that is to be shared with everyone. Everyone has the right to enjoy the wilderness amidst we live. As long as you don't harm nature or disturb other people's privacy, you're free to forage berries, plants, and mushrooms as well as walk, ski, cycle, and camp. It's a downright wonderful thing.

So last week I picked up my wooden basket and mushroom knife and headed into the woods to forage mushrooms. It's a brilliant mushroom year, they say. Porcini, one of the most delicious mushrooms, are growing like mad ones. It's such a good porcini year that even commercial exporters (every year we export large amounts primarily to Italy) have a hard time figuring out how to get the most of this unexpectedly phenomenal harvest. I too wasn't disappointed and returned home with a lovely harvest of porcini, hedgehog mushrooms, and something I've never foraged before, amazing parasol mushrooms. I had a basket full of possibilities.

Quite quickly I decided to make crostini. I wanted to highlight the flavors of the wonderful wild mushrooms and felt that these appetizers would truly do them justice. I toasted slices of homemade Bread in 5 baguette, rubbed them with garlic, topped them with creamy and oh-so-luscious ricotta as well as herby panfried wild mushrooms. To finish, I drizzled some high quality extra virgin olive oil on top.

Quick to make, simple, and delicious. In other words, a perfect fall appetizer.

A few weeks ago, I received a sample of Feel IT extra virgin olive oils to test: Casaliva from Lombardy, in the north of Italy, Dolce Agogia from the north of Umbria, a region in central Italy, and Cerasuola from the northern parts of the lovely island of Sicily. Before tasting the Feel IT extra virgin olive oils I just thought that an olive oil was either good or bad. Never did I sample it like wine; tasting all those different nuances, noticing the differences, and wondering with what kind of food it would pair perfectly. What I had on hand were three very different extra virgin olive oils made of three different olive varieties harvested in three different parts of Italy. I truly did feel it.

Feel IT was created out of a passion for high quality, truly Italian extra virgin olive oils. Their oils are monocultivar meaning that they are pressed from a single type of olive, whereas, most olive oils are made of blends. Feel IT not only praises family owned local olive farms but also the unique flavors of different olive types. These olive oils are like a love letter from Veronica Motto, the 26-year-old Milan-based founder, to her country. And I love it.

I tried all three oils with these crostini and found Casaliva to be my favorite. Casaliva from Lombardy with the mighty Alps, the fertile Po Valley plain, and the great Lombard lakes, such as Lake Garda.

Update: Feel IT is now available through My Fabulous Collection!

Feel IT High Quality Extra Virgin Olive Oils | My blue&White Kitchen

On another note, I'll be traveling for the rest of the month which basically means I'm going to put on my dirndl and raise a Maß or two. I haven't planned any posts for my absence so it may be a bit quieter around here. However, I do have my camera and laptop with me so in case inspiration hits and I'm not too busy stuffing my face with Zwetschgendatschi,
SpätzleGrießnockerlBrezn (aka soft Pretzels)SauerkrautLeberkäse, and other deliciousness, I may surprise you with something Bavarian inspired.

But for now I'm leaving you with these absolutely delicious fall crostini. Enjoy!


Crostini with Wild Mushrooms & Ricotta

This is not really a recipe as I'm not going to give you exact amounts of what you need. Why? Because you don't really need to. Cook with your senses; use your eyes, your nose, and taste as you go. For 6 crostini I used around 1 cup of roughly chopped wild mushrooms and 2 small shallots. I prefer to use a mix of different mushroom varieties to keep things more interesting. The mushroom mixture can be prepared beforehand; just reheat it before assembling.
 

baguette or ciabatta-style bread, sliced
1 garlic clove, halved lengthwise

wild mushrooms, roughly chopped (remember that they'll shrink considerably as they cook)
butter
fresh thyme leaves
salt & freshly ground black pepper, to season
shallots, finely sliced
dry white wine
more fresh thyme leaves & finely chopped parsley

high quality ricotta

high quality extra virgin olive oil, such as Casaliva


Toast the bread slices on a dry frying pan until golden brown in color. You can also grill them for even more flavor. Rub the fried bread slices with garlic on both sides.

In a frying pan, melt the butter on high heat. Once the butter has melted and stopped to bubble, add the mushrooms and thyme. The mushrooms will first release quite a bit of moisture but as it evaporates, the mushrooms will start to get color. Season with salt and pepper. When the mushrooms are golden brown in color, lower the temperature to medium-low and add the shallots. Cook until the shallots have softened. Add a splash of white wine and let it evaporate. Add more thyme and parsley. Taste and season (or even add more wine) if necessary. Set aside.

To arrange, top each bread slice with ricotta, mushroom mixture, and more herbs. To finish, drizzle extra virgin olive oil over the crostini. Serve!


Crostini with Wild Mushrooms & Ricotta | My Blue&White Kitchen

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Feel IT. However, all opinions are my own.


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A Forager's Meal: Flammkuchen with Funnel Chanterelles, Black Forest Ham & Goat Cheese

My Blue&White Kitchen

The quiet transition from autumn to winter is not a bad time at all. It's a time for protecting and securing things and for making sure you've got in as many supplies as you can. It's nice to gather together everything you possess as close to you as possible, to store up your warmth and your thoughts and burrow yourself into a deep hole inside, a core of safety where you can defend what is important and precious and your very own. Then the cold and the storms and the darkness can do their worst. They can grope their way up the walls looking for a way in, but they won't find one, everything is shut, and you sit inside, laughing in your warmth and your solitude, for you have had foresight.

– Tove Jansson, Moominvalley in November


My Blue&White Kitchen

I was foraging mushrooms with my mom last Friday. It was a chilly day, snow lying here and there in the forest. We were looking for funnel chanterelles. They are quite common at this latitude. They don't mind frost and not even a little snow bothers them much. They grow in groups - the rule is: if you find one, you'll most probably find more. Most often, you'll find more than enough.

In some parts of the world foraging is seen as a thing only hipsters do. But here in Scandinavia most people do it. It's an important part of our culture. For me mushroom hunting is almost meditative. Surrounded by woods and quietness. But actually, if you listen very carefully for a moment, you'll notice that the forest is full of sounds... You also need to focus – keep your eyes open! The mushrooms can so easily be overseen. Last Friday it was even harder than usual as the forest ground was full of fallen leaves that had exactly the same color as the mushrooms we were looking for.

And the joy when you finally spot some! It's the kind of joy one felt in childhood. The purest kind of joy. 

Trumpet Chanterelle :: My Blue&White Kitchen
Chanterelles :: My Blue&White Kitchen

We came home with 3 kilos of funnel chanterelles (and some of this season's last chanterelles too!). Funnel chanterelles have a wonderful flavor. They can be easily dried for preservation. That's what I do with them. That way I can enjoy them all year round! You can find more about drying mushrooms and using them in this previous post.

The first thing I made, after we came home, was a simple but nourishing mushroom soup. There's really no better way to end a foraging day. A couple of days later I made a Flammkuchen, an Alsaser flatbread, topped with funnel chanterelles, some Black Forest ham, and goat cheese. It was so good that I wanted to share this recipe with you, dear readers. 

The base, which is slightly adapted from the delicious:days blog, is a staple in my kitchen. It works every single time. {Nicky uses bread flour instead of all-purpose flour. I'm sure the crust will turn out even better that way but since bread flour is hardly ever available here in Finland, I use all-purpose flour instead.} I recommend to use fresh yeast as baked goods rise far better with fresh than active dry yeast. The topping can of course be adapted to your liking. If you can't find Black Forest ham, use pancetta instead. Or leave the meat out completely. I wouldn't substitute the flavorful funnel chanterelles with button mushrooms as they often lack taste. However, black trumpets would be great!

Red Onions :: My Blue&White Kitchen

Flammkuchen with Funnel Chanterelles, Black Forest Ham & Goat Cheese

crust slightly adapted from delicious:days by Nicole Stich
yields 2 Flammkuchen, serves 4

250 g all-purpose flour
50 g rye flour
½ tsp fine sea salt
175 ml lukewarm water
15 g fresh yeast
1 tbsp olive oil

200 g crème fraîche
2 tbsp heavy cream
fine sea salt & freshly ground black pepper, to season
100 g Black Forest Ham {or pancetta}, chopped
350 g (about 4 small) red onions, finely sliced
~150 g (3-4 handfuls) funnel chanterelles (or black trumpets), cleaned & the bigger ones sliced
140 g soft goat cheese

parsley, chopped, to finish
 
 
To make the dough: Combine both flours and sea salt in a bowl of a standing mixer {or a large bowl if making the dough by hand}.  Make a well in the center. Dissolve the yeast in lukewarm water. Pour it into the well and add the olive oil. Knead for 3–5 minutes at medium speed. The dough is ready when it's elastic and comes clean off the sides of the bowl. Shape into a ball and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Let the dough rise in a warm place for 45 minutes. After the dough has risen, punch it down, shape into a ball again, and let rise for further 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 250°C (480°F) or as hot as your oven gets. If you want, you can place a baking tray at the bottom level so it gets preheated. It works like a pizza stone and ensures a perfect crust! 

To make the topping:  Combine the crème fraîche and heavy cream. Season with salt and pepper.

To arrange: Divide the dough into 2 equally sized portions and shape into a ball. Flatten the ball with your hands. Using a rolling pin, roll it out on a lightly floured surface. We want to have a thin crust! Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Evenly spread half of the crème fraîche mix on top and top with the other toppings {starting with the ham and ending with the goat cheese}.

Bake for 10–15 minutes, or until the crust has gained a golden brown color. While the first Flammkuchen is in the oven, you can arrange the other one. Remove the Flammkuchen from the oven when ready and sprinkle with some chopped parsley. Slice and serve hot or at room temperature.


flammkuchen with funnel chanterelles, black forest ham, & goat cheese :: my blue&white kitchen
flammkuchen with funnel chanterelles, black forest ham, & goat cheese :: my blue&white kitchen

Looking for more topping ideas for flatbread? Here are some of my favorites:  

swans :: my blue&white kitchen

We spotted some swans on our way home!

Purr Therapy & Lemony Mushroom Salt

kitten :: my blue & white kitchen

A 13-week-old black kitten has kept me busy for the last week. Lots of purring and sleeping on my lap, shoulders, and chest. {Actually it's sleeping on my lap as I'm typing these words.} Minced meat & kitten milk. Running around the apartment, and hissing at my coffee mug & a power plug {quite a smart lady, I would say}. 912 grams of pure love. 

Thanks to Elsa, life is full of wonders, laughter, and cuteness. Purr therapy, as I call it.

flavored salt :: my blue & white kitchen

I woke up to a misty fall morning. For the first time this year, I realized that October has finally come. It stayed gloomy for the whole day, rain falling every now and then. A chunky wool scarf was wrapped around my neck, as I walked into the crisp fall morning. The colors are amazing these days - shades of yellow and red. In a week or two, the trees will be bare, their branches casting long shadows on the leave filled ground.

lemony mushroom salt :: my blue & white kitchen

I like flavored salts a lot. They are ridiculously easy to make at home AND they are wonderful as edible gifts! The great thing is, you can make a large batch even a few weeks ahead. Find a few pretty canning jars and fill them with the homemade goodness. Don't forget to tie a ribbon around the jar and add a gift tag. The flavor combinations are endless - just use your imagination!

This fall inspired recipe can easily be doubled or tripled. I used dried funnel chanterelles which I still had from last year but any other mushroom variety like porcini or chanterelles would work too.

I think the best way to preserve mushrooms is by drying them. The easiest way to dry them is by slicing the cleaned mushrooms thinly {the thinner the slices, the faster they will dry}, spreading them in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet, and drying them in a 50°C (125°F) oven. Prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon to vent steam. When completely dried {they will be hard and crispy}, remove from the oven and let cool completely. Transfer to jars and cover with lids.

When stored in a dark, cool place, they will keep for years. Before using dried mushrooms, you need to soak them in water for 15 to 30 minutes. You can use the soaking liquid as well but, depending on the mushroom variety, it often has quite a bitter taste. Dried mushrooms can be tossed into soups, sauces, pastas, risottos... This way you can enjoy mushrooms all year round!

lemony mushroom salt :: my blue & white kitchen

Lemony Mushroom Salt

recipe inspired by a mushroom salt recipe of ELLE mat och vin 7/2013, p. 60
yields about 1 dl (0.4 cups) of finishing salt

 
zest of 1 small organic lemon
1 tbsp chopped thyme
3 tbsp fleur de sel (or a flake salt like Maldon)
2 handfuls (about 10 g) of dried mushrooms (I used funnel chanterelles), finely ground 

 
Preheat the oven to 100°C (225°F).

Using a mortar and pestle, grind the lemon zest and thyme to make a green paste. Add salt and mix well. Spread the salt mixture over a parchment lined baking sheet. 
 
Bake for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the salt is completely dried out. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.

Add the dried mushrooms and mix to combine. The salt should be stored in an airtight container. The intensity of flavor will diminish over time, but it can be stored for up to a year.  


Like Gold Nuggets - Chanterelle Potato Gratin

In this week’s newspapers they were guessing the date of the first snowfall. Seriously? Calm down, everyone. It's fall. FALL! Let’s not freak out, okay? So no talking about snow, snowstorms, ice, or ice cold winds from the North Pole. Thank you. I appreciate it.

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They sit on my kitchen countertop like gold nuggets. Fragile and beautiful. Only hours before they were hiding in the woods, living with their best friends, the birch trees. It's called symbiosis.

For me the chanterelle is the queen of mushrooms. They don't even need a crown - they are the crown.

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I decided to make a chanterelle potato gratin. A fall favorite. I think it’s at its best as a side for a Sunday roast beef. But feel free to enjoy it at any day of the week. You won't be disappointed.

As cheese I used another royal - Västerbotten cheese. It's one of Sweden’s oldest and best-known brands. A very flavorful and versatile hard cheese.

Feel free to use any other wild mushroom or flavorful cheese variety.

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Chanterelle Potato Gratin

Adapted from Leilas guldkant på vardagen by Leila Lindholm, p. 55
Serves 4-6

1 kg (2 pounds 3.5 oz) potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced {use a mandolin if you have one}
¼ (about 140 g; 5 oz) celeriac, peeled and thinly sliced
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic gloves, thinly sliced
4 dl (1.7 cups) light cream
1 tbsp chopped thyme
½ tbsp fine sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

200 g (7 oz) chanterelles, cleaned and halved/quartered {depending on the size}
butter
60 g (2 oz; 1 dl) grated cheese {I used Västerbotten cheese but a Swiss-type cheese like Emmentaler would be great too}
fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Butter a 28-by-24-cm (11-by-9-inch) baking dish and set aside.

In a medium-sized pot, combine the cream, thyme, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Add the sliced potatoes, celeriac, onion, and garlic. Simmer for 15 minutes.

In a frying pan, sauté the chanterelles in butter. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the mushrooms and cheese to the potato mixture. Pour into the buttered baking dish.

Bake on the middle rack for 25-30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.


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