Shroombake!

Niles Pie Company shares the secrets of mushroom pie.

Here’s a terrific Thanksgiving option from Carolyn Berke of the Niles Pie Company.

mushroom-piesMushroom Pies
We make this pie when there’s an overwhelmingly seductive display of mushrooms at Berkeley Bowl, especially if it’s been a lovely rainy spell. We had some beautiful mushrooms last winter, and are hoping for a repeat. I definitely advise widening your circle of friends to include a reputable mushroomer. You can use any mix of wild mushrooms you care to. We also make this with a mix of California shiitakes and crimini mushrooms.

Mushroom Filling
2 pounds mixed mushrooms
Olive oil, for roasting
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
3 good-size shallots, diced
1 clove fresh garlic, minced
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1/3–1/2 cup brandy, vegetable or chicken stock, water, or a combination of liquids
Shredded Swiss cheese (optional, see note)
Salt and pepper

Brush any dirt off your mushrooms and thickly slice. If you are using a mix of mushrooms, roast them separately. Toss them with a little salt and olive oil and roast in a pre-heated 350˚ oven, about 20 minutes, until golden and any released liquid is reabsorbed. While mushrooms are roasting, sauté the shallots and garlic in butter until translucent. Sprinkle the flour over top and stir. Cook about 3 minutes. Add the liquid slowly, mixing as you go to prevent lumps. If you do get a few lumps, it’s fine. Cook about 5 minutes on low heat. Add the mushrooms and season to taste with salt and pepper. Let cool about 15 minutes before refrigerating until thoroughly chilled.

Note: If you are making this with crimini or button mushrooms, feel free to add a little handful (about 1/3 cup) of finely shredded Swiss cheese to the filling. If you have gorgeous and interesting wild mushrooms, this might be gilding the fungus unnecessarily.

Pie Dough
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
1 cup (2 sticks or 8 ounces) unsalted butter, very cold, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 teaspoon salt
6 to 8 tablespoons ice water

Put flour and salt in the bowl of your food processor and pulse a few times to mix. Add the butter all at once and pulse about 15 times until the butter is the size of baby peas or smaller. Dump the flour-butter mix into a very large mixing bowl and add the water. With one hand, use a plastic scraper to mix the dough. Do this gently but thoroughly. If you need more water, add by the tablespoon until your dough comes together and is not crumbly. Divide dough in two pieces, one just a little bigger than the other, pat into neat circles, wrap in plastic or waxed paper, and refrigerate for an hour or up to overnight.

Remove one crust disk from the refrigerator. Let sit at room temperature for 5–10 minutes in order to soften just enough to make rolling out a bit easier. Roll out with a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface to a 12-inch circle that’s about 1/8-inch thick. As you roll out the dough, check if the dough is sticking to the surface below. If necessary, add a few sprinkles of flour under the dough to keep it from sticking. Carefully place onto a 9-inch pie plate. Gently press the pie dough down so that it lines the bottom and sides of the pie plate. Use a pair of kitchen scissors to trim the dough to within 1/2 inch of the edge of the pie dish.

Mound fully chilled filling into the crust.

Roll out second disk of dough, as before. Gently place it over the filling. Pinch top and bottom of dough rounds firmly together. Trim excess dough with kitchen shears, leaving a 3/4 inch overhang. Fold the edge of the top piece of dough over and under the edge of the bottom piece of dough, pressing together. Flute edges using thumb and forefinger or press with a fork. Score the top of the pie with four 2-inch-long cuts so that steam from the cooking pie can escape.

To make smaller, individual pies, roll the dough the same way, but cut 5-inch circles (for 4-inch pie dishes), using a bowl as a template. You’ll get about 8–10, depending on how thinly your dough has been rolled. Fill, crimp, and bake the same way.

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