Horn of Plenty Mushrooms (Craterellus cornucopioides)
For a forager autumn is the time of mushrooms: forest has been generous in the last few days and, to my surprise, I stumbled across a wide spot of Horn of Plenty mushroom (Craterellus cornucopioides) in my field surveys. Needless to say, my concentration on the job was a bit reduced but, damn, I’ve been looking for them for over 3 years!
Black chanterelle is highly sought after for its very rich taste: pleasant smell, slightly fruity and sometimes resembling truffle. The flesh is firm and elastic, even when cooked. A mushroom to chew, really! It lends itself very well to drying for long storage. The dried mushroom can also be powdered and used as a seasoning, thing that seems to me a real waste, since its more remarkable feature is rubbery consistency even after cooking!
Horn of Plenty & Pumpkin: a perfect marriage!
My wonderful Mantua pumpkin is patiently waiting on the table. I found some Horn of plenty mushrooms and, suddenly, the idea: the perfect fall wedding! I want to try a new experimental savory tart with them both. For the pastry I took inspiration from MP Cuisine brisée, made with cream instead of butter. I replaced some of the wheat flour with buckwheat flour, with a more distinctive flavour that could pair well with the pumpkin sugary taste. The outcome? A delicious savory tart, to taste as appetizer, single course or side dish. Hard to describe: soft and sweet the pumpkin, strong and elastic the mushroom, tied by buckwheat. Next time I will use more Horn of Plenty mushrooms..in this experiment they were held back by pumpkin. Let me know your verdict!
Pumpkin & Horn of Plenty Mushrooms Quiche Recipe
- 100 g Wheat Flour (all-purpose will be fine)
- 100 g Buckwheat Flour
- 125 ml Single or Whipping Cream (mine was 24%fat)
- 500 g Raw Pumpkin without shell (Mantovana or Marina Di Chioggia type)
- Horn of Plenty Mushrooms (Craterellus cornucopioides), a full pan!
- 2 Potatoes
- 2 Goat-cheese (I used those made with cow milk, pretty common in Italy. You can use any mild-tasting fresh cheese or greek yogurt)
- 3 Eggs
- 1 Onion (leek or shallot will be fine)
- Salt and Pepper
This quice is really easy to make, and all the steps can be carried out simultaneously. So don’t be scared: it’s easier to do it than to write it down!
First thing, the mushrooms: if freshly foraged , they will surely need a quick shower. Unlike porcini and champignons, Horn of plenty mushrooms collect a lot of sandy soil that you will find under your teeth if not washed (I made the mistake to clean them only with a damp paper towel once, and it turned out a sandy sauce very difficult to chew). If they are dried, soak them in water for 30 minutes (you can make the pastry and the filling, meanwhile). Once ready, cook them in a frying pan with some olive oil for 15-20 minutes, adding water as needed.
Tastry Pastry: a “light” version of pate brisée
Sift the two flours, salt and cream in the food processor and pulse the mixture until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Tip onto a worksurface, use your hands to gently press the dough. Wrap it with clingfilm and chill for at least 30 minutes. Let’s make the filling, now!
Wilt the onion with a pinch of salt and a little water. This will make them more digestible than the traditional quick frying (sauté onions).
Clean the raw pumpkin, removing shell and seeds, dice it and put it the microwave for a few minutes (you can boil it, too).
Add the sliced potatoes and pumpkin to the onions in the frying pan, salting to taste, and sauté for a few minutes (until potatoes are cooked). Add a pinch of pepper and put it all in the food processor with the eggs and goat-cheese. I like to add the sour taste of goat-cheese or greek yogurt, to reduce the extra-sweet taste of pumpkin.
Let’s assemble the Quiche: roll out the dough, gently tuck the pastry into the pan, without stretching it, then pinch the edge into an upstanding rim. Pour in the pumpkin filling and cover with the mushrooms, gently pushing with the back of a spoon to sink them in the filling. Bake in preheated oven at 356°F (180°C) for about 45 minutes.