02 December 2010

Mushroom Croustade

I found this tasty recipe in the Nut Dishes section of Rose Elliots "Vegetarian Cookery". You can make this with any suitably prepared nuts. I've used almonds and my granary loaf breadcrumbs in the croustade. (The original recipe calls for fresh whole wheat breadcrumbs. Mine were a bit moist so use freshly crumbed stale breadcrumbs in preference to off the shelf processed ones.)

4 -6 servings from an 8" (21cm) loose bottomed flan tin

75g flaked almonds
75g freshly made stale granary breadcumbs
75g ground almonds
1 small onion, skin removed and grated (if your eyes are sensitive to onions, mince in a food processor)
1 garlic clove, crushed and chopped finely
90g softened butter
Salt and ground black pepper
450g small button mushrooms, sliced
300ml soured cream
Freshly grated nutmeg

1. Heat the oven to 180°c gas mark 4.
2. Keep a few flaked almonds for garnish (you can toast them to enhance the flavour). In a bowl, stir together the breadcrumbs, ground and remaining flaked almonds, the minced onion, garlic and 75g of the butter. Season well with salt and pepper. (add the butter gradually until the mixture holds together. Depending on the amount of moisture in your breadcrumbs and onion, you may not need all of the butter)
3. Mould the mixture into the bottom and up sides of your loose bottomed flan tin. Place in the centre of the oven and cook until golden and crisp, (about 20 minutes).
4. Melt the rest of the butter in a frying pan and cook the sliced mushrooms for 15 -20 minutes until they have shrunk and lost all of their moisture.
5. Cover the base of the croustade with the mushrooms, season well with salt  pepper and nutmeg and spread 150ml of the soured cream over them, allowing some to show through the cream. Add a generous shake of paprika.
6. Place the croustade back into the oven to warm through for 10 - 15 minutes, remove from the tin and serve on a warm plate garnished with the reserved (toasted) flaked almonds. Serve the remaining soured cream separately.

This dish is also delicious served cold as buffet food made in 10cm mini flan tins. They also make ideal individual starters with a green salad. If you're going "nuts" at Christmas, why not try this to kick off your Christmas lunch?

The Photograph
Nice even soft lighting was achieved with the large soft box above the table, white reflectors below the lens and a small soft box from the rear at 45°above to give the specular highlight on the cream. Unfortunately the depth of field was not sufficient to bring the front of the croustade into focus but this was the best shot to show the texture and colour of the crust. The aperture was f11, f16 may have done it! Must try harder.

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