- Food & Drink
Let’s time travel again, back to Christmas when I served up Meaty mince pies to my friends. Tentative interest turned into a battle for the last warm mince pie and there was general joy and rejoicing, apart from the vegetarians. They couldn’t join in. But I’m a nice hostess so I baked them a batch of Mushroom and tarragon pies (although I have a suspicion that most of these pies got scoffed by the meat eaters who missed out on mince pies).
The recipe below is for 10 individual pies. If you want to make one large pie to eat with, say, buttery mashed potatoes and heaps of kale or cabbage, then double the mushrooms, tarragon and crème fraîche. Mushrooms are like spinach; you have a huge pot of them and you think that this is surely a ridiculous amount of mushrooms. Then you cook them and they reduce down to barely a cupful.
Use a 23cm pie plate, but don’t line it with pastry. Instead, just heap in the mushrooms and cover with a puff pastry lid. Reserve the mushroom liquor and use it as the base for a gravy made with vegetable stock, a splash of white whine and a flour and butter roux to thicken it.
Mushroom and tarragon pies
Butter, for greasing and frying
500g mixed mushrooms (I used closed cap, chestnut and field), chopped, thickly sliced or quartered, depending on size
1/2 bunch tarragon, leaves only, roughly chopped
2 heaped tbsp crème fraîche
1 x 500g pack all butter puff pastry
Flour, for rolling out
1 Melt a slice of butter in a large pan (about 30g should do it) and add the mushrooms. Fry, stirring frequently, over a low heat for about 20 minutes, until the mushrooms have softened and there is a lot of liquor in the pan.
2 Drain the mushrooms. Melt a smaller lump of butter in the pan, return the mushrooms and cook for a further 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and stir in the tarragon and crème fraîche. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
3 Preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180°C/fan oven 160°C. Melt some butter and brush it in 10 holes of a 12-hole bun/cake tin to coat. Dust your work surface with a little flour and roll out the pastry quite thin – about 1/2 as thick as a £1 coin. Stamp out 10 8cm rounds and use them to line the bun tin. Fold the pastry trimmings back together (don’t scrunch them into a ball, because that ruins the flaky layers that have been folded into the pastry) and reroll. Stamp out 10 5-6cm rounds.
4 Spoon the mushrooms into the pastry cases and brush the edges of the pastry with milk. Press the smaller rounds on top and pinch the edges together to seal. Brush the tops with milk to glaze. Bake for 20–30 minutes, until the pastry is risen and golden. Cool for a couple of minutes, then serve warm.