Along the Grapevine


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Mushroom Puffs

I came across this recipe from About Food for something resembling popovers made with mushrooms. It looked like the perfect base for a recipe using some of my dehydrated mushrooms and dried puffball mushroom flour. You can use any dehydrated mushrooms, and if you don’t have mushroom flour, simply omit that and increase the use of flour to 3/4 cup, as in the original recipe.DSC02888

Using the puffball flour meant I had to change the method a bit, but nothing too complicated, and the use of the flour, mushrooms and the stock made by soaking the dried mushrooms intensified the flavour.

Mushroom Puffs

1/2 cup finely chopped dried mushrooms (I used maitake)

1 3/4 cups boiling water

1/2 cup puffball mushroom flour

4 oz butter

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

4 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup flour

1 1/4 tsp baking powder

Soak the dried mushrooms in boiling water for ten minutes in a saucepan. Add the mushroom flour and simmer, stirring it with a whisk to incorporate the flour. Remove from the heat and add the butter, which will help cool the mixture. When it is cool enough not to cook the eggs, add the rest of the ingredients. The mixture will be the consistency of a crepe batter, and you will have about 4 cups.

Grease your pan/s liberally with oil. Place them in a preheated 400 degree F. oven until the oil starts to smoke. Pour in the batter leaving about 1/2 inch at the top.

I used a muffin tin for 6 muffins and 1 loaf pan. The ones in the muffin pan took 15 minutes to cook, the loaf 25 minutes. The batter will puff up and brown when it’s done.

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They don’t stay puffed for long, but unlike popovers or Yorkshire pudding, there are no big air pockets. They can be eaten hot or cold, on their own, buttered or to accompany a main dish, omelette or salad.

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They keep well, and are delicious with just a little butter and sumac powder – for example.

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Linked to Angie at Fiesta Friday, Steffi at Ginger and Bread and Andrea at Cooking with a Wallflower who are making this week’s Fiesta Friday possible.

 

 


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Puffball Mushroom Flour

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I considered myself lucky this year when I found a healthy puffball behind my tool shed, and referred to it in a recent post on how to identify and use it in cooking. Now these puffballs are mushrooming all over, and by the number of posts from other blogs on the subject, it’s a good year not just in my garden. I recently found four more good sized balls, one of which I left to help ensure some spores remain for next year.

There is no point finding these gifts if you don’t know what to do with them. Their shelf life when fresh is short. Frying lightly and freezing is one option, and I have dehydrated some as well. But when faced with the quantity I had, I wanted to be able to store them in as efficient way as possible, meaning something that required little work and little space.

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I started to search to see if anyone else had dehydrated them, and if so what they do with them. Forager Chef, one of my favourite foraging blogs gave me the answers I was looking for. He dehydrated them, ground them into a flour, and made a very appetizing looking gravy.

So I set about peeling and slicing my puffballs into thin slices resembling sliced bread. He suggests drying them in an oven with the light on which I tried. I also did some in my dehydrator at a low temperature – about 107 F or 42 C. The dehydrator took only about 12 hours – the oven three times longer. However you do it, the slices should still be white when dry and crisp. If the heat is too high they will brown and will affect the colour of the flour.

A really powerful food processor is all you need to turn them into flour in just a few moments, but lacking that I used a not so powerful processor followed by a few seconds in a coffee grinder for a finer powder. This last step can be done on an as-need basis.

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I can think of several ways this flour can be used but so far have just tried Forager Chef’s mushroom gravy recipe. I adapted it for a small quantity since unlike him I am not cooking for large numbers.

I started by heating 1/2 cup mushroom flour and 1/4 cup of water. You need a good deep pan for this, as initially the flour will puff when stirred. Heat and stir until most of the water is absorbed and it resembles a roux. In another pan, mix 3 Tbsp of fat (i used a mixture of butter and olive oil) with 3 Tbsp of flour. Stir over a low heat, and gradually add 2 cups of stock. I used a vegetable stock which had good colour having prepared it with onion skins among other herbs and vegetables, but any meat, fowl or vegetable stock can be used. When the stock has thickened sufficiently, stir in the mushroom mixture and bring to just below boiling. Season with salt and white pepper.

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This gravy was smooth and flavourful. I served it over some roasted vegetables from the garden.

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Puffball Mushroom Flour on Punk Domestics

Because it is vegetarian, and could easily be vegan by omitting the butter, it is a very useful recipe to have, but good enough that there’s no need to be a vegetarian to enjoy.