Much as chocolate makes the ‘power couple’ in desserts, when incorporated in small quantities, chocolate lends silkiness and complexity to a plethora of savoury dishes too. Originally, cocoa was consumed, crumbled, in some drinks which were anything but sweet, in fact, they were enriched with chilli pepper.
This mushroom pie features a complexity of flavours like no other. The crust is delectably flakey and crumbly while the filling is the perfect mingling of umami notes from the mushrooms and bitter flavours of cacao.
I really do hope you will try this recipe and it will prod you further in the direction of culinary experimentation.
What you will need – (for a 9 inch pie)
For the stock –
- Olive oil – 3 tbsp
- Onions – 2 large, sliced 1 cm thick
- Coconut sugar – 1 tsp
- Carrot – 1 large, roughly chopped
- Mushroom stems/trimmings – 1/2 cup, chopped
- Bay leaf – 1 large, torn
- Rosemary – 1 sprig (sub with dried rosemary)
- Water – 1 litre
For the mushroom & cacao filling –
- Mushrooms – 400g, stems removed and divided. (Use part of the stems for the stock mentioned above)
(highly recommend using a mix of Button, Shiitake, Portobello and Oyster)
- Butter – 20g, or use vegan butter if preferred
- Olive oil – 1 tbsp
- Onion – 1 large, chopped
- Garlic cloves – 5-6, finely chopped
- Fresh red chillies – 1, minced
- Black pepper – 1 tsp
- Stock – 300ml (from above)
- Lime juice – 2-3 tbsp
- 100% unsweetened Cacao – 10g, grated or use unsweetened cacao/cocoa powder
- Soy sauce – 2-3 tbsp
- Salt – 1 tsp or to taste
- Cornstarch slurry – 1 tsp cornflour mixed with 2 tbsp water
- Flat-leaf parsley – 3/4 cup, chopped, or use fresh coriander
For Pastry –
- 500g of pie dough (I use 1 cup sorghum flour, 1/2 cup whole wheat, 1/2 cup all purpose, 150g frozen butter, 2-3 tbsp ice cold water and salt to make mine)
- To begin, make the stock. Remove stems from about 100 g mushrooms and finely chop them. Slice the onions 1 cm thick. Heat olive oil in a large pot, add the onions, sugar and salt. Fry over low heat until they are very brown and caramelised. Take care not to burn them as this will make the stock bitter
- Add all the remaining stock ingredients along with cold water and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and leave to simmer till the liquid is reduced to about 300ml (roughly 1 hour). Strain and set aside.
(Add dried mushrooms, if using, to this hot stock. Cover and allow to rehydrate)
- Next, prepare the filling. Remove stems from all mushrooms, finely chop and set aside. Chop heads either in half or into fat chunks, depending on shape and size. Leave the smaller mushrooms whole.
- Divide chopped mushroom heads into batches (depending on the size of your pan). Cook each batch over medium heat until soft (don’t overcook or you will lose the individual flavours of the mushrooms). Set aside and repeat with the rest of the mushrooms.
- Heat olive oil in the same pan, add the chopped onions and fry until they are a nutty brown. Add finely chopped mushroom stems, garlic, chillies and black pepper. Pour in the prepared stock, then add the cooked mushrooms, cacao, soy sauce, lime juice, cornstarch slurry and salt. Bring to a boil and cook gently over low heat until thickened, about 5–7 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. (You may want to add a tsp of sugar if the filling is too salty or bitter). Stir in the parsley and allow to cool completely.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C
- Divide pastry dough in half. Roll out one half to a thickness of about 3mm. Add to a prepared pie tin. Blind bake for 12 mins. Meanwhile, roll out the remaining pastry dough to 3mm thickness. Then add prepared filling to the tin and lay the sheet of rolled-out pastry on top. Press down firmly along the edges to seal, then trim off any excess. Cut a few slits in the pastry topping and glaze by brushing with beaten egg.
(If you are a pastry beginner, I highly recommend baking hand-pies instead. Roll the dough out to an even thickness and use a small circular bowl to cut out discs. Spoon 1 tbsp filling onto half of the discs, cover each one with another dough disc. Firmly press down the edges with a fork to seal the pies. Use a knife to make a tiny slit on top of each hand-pie. This method does not need any blind baking. Reduce baking time by 5-8 mins)
- Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown. Serve immediately.
Storage notes –
Store covered in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven, microwaving will make the pastry go soggy.
If you make this recipe, you know the drill: Let me know!