So the last time that we talked about mushrooms, we were covering duxelle. The key lesson with the duxelle had been patience, and how you couldn't rush it – if you cooked it too fast, you'd scorch the mushrooms and get that nasty burnt flavor.
For the mushroom en croûte, we're going to go back to talking about patience, but this time in regards to baked goods.
The first thing to cover would be the dish we're preparing in the video – the mushroom en croûte. The pastry we wrap around the duxelle-stuffed portabella mushroom is what's called "puff pastry". Reason why? It puffs up! Hmmmmm... ; ) Puff pastry is technically known as a laminated dough, since it consists of many layers, like laminate flooring. Croissant and danish dough are also laminated, and they all share the similar attribute of layers of butter and dough. The butter melts and steams, causing the pastry to rise up. There's a specific temperature you want to use when baking these kinds of dough, and 375-400º F is about right.
Now, some people tend to crank the oven up even higher than that, which can work for an en croûte – up to a point. The higher heat browns up the pastry rather nicely, which looks great, but this all goes back to the patience thing. One problem is that the pastry doesn't cook all the way through, so you don't get all the crispy, crunchy layers out of the pastry that you should. The innards of the en croûte won't heat up either, so you'll have a nicely browned and attractive appetizer, but it won't be as crunchy or as hot inside as you'd like.
It may pain you to have to wait by the oven for the en croûte to cook all the way through, and you may want to pull it out when it gets golden brown. But the important thing about puff pastry is that you cook it longer than you'd think, since it really needs that extra time in the oven to get completely crisp. Puff pastry is tough – don't worry about it, it can handle the long time – and don't stress about it drying out, either. You've got all that delicious, moist filling inside to counterpoint the crunchiness of the shell.
So bake it hot (but not too hot) and for a while, and you'll have an en croûte that's just right.
- Chef Savage
MUSHROOM EN CROUTE
6 PORTABELLA MUSHROOMS
½ C BALSAMIC VINEGAR
6 CLOVES GARLIC
4C MUSHROOM DUXELLE
1C FETA CHEESE
1 SHEET PUFF PASTRY
Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
Take mushrooms, flip them upside down and take the stem off and scrap the fins with a spoon. Place in a baking dish.
Chop garlic and shallots in a food processer and slowly add in vinegar and water till combined. Pour vinegar mixture evenly over mushrooms and then cover with foil. Cook in oven for 1.5 hours. Most of the liquid should evaporate but not all and the mushrooms should be fork tender. Cool mushrooms in refrigerator.
Mix together Duxelle and feta. Split mixture between the six mushrooms.
Steam the spinach and place over the Duxelle covering it entirely.
Take thawed puff pastry and using a lattice cutter roll it over the pastry cutting the whole pastry in one direction. Very gently cut the pastry sheet into 4x4 squares. Take one square and carefully spread open trying to keep the each opening the same. Then place over the mushroom and tuck the extra pastry under and repeat till all are covered. Spay each with a vegetable spray and bake in a 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 140 degrees.
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