Follow Me Foodie to Candied Chanterelle Panna Cotta!
A recipe from The Deerholme Mushroom Book by Bill Jones.
Mushrooms. It’s probably one of my favourite vegetables – except that it isn’t, a vegetable I mean. It is often considered a vegetable, but it is not a plant and does not have seeds, leaves or roots, so therefore it is technically not a vegetable. It’s a fungus, and a delicious one for that matter.
There are thousands of varieties of mushrooms, so anyone that says “I hate mushrooms”, I doubt you’ve tried them all. Even if you think you hate a kind of mushroom, you should try it prepared another way. There are not many people who have issues with the beloved chanterelle, but this is a rather new way of using it.
I recently attended one of Vancouver’s mushroom master’s book launch at Forage. Forage is one of Vancouver’s leading sustainable restaurants and they feature a foraged and cultivated mushroom dish with Okanagan goat cheese and grilled caraway rye. Top it with an egg and I could have it for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
While flipping through Bill Jones’ newest cook book featuring mushrooms, the dessert category caught my attention. I mentioned vegetables in desserts as a food trend for 2013, and despite mushrooms not being a vegetable, it plays on a similar idea. It is using an ingredient associated with savoury, and pairing it with something sweet. The following is a guest post by Brenda (@mightyvanilla).
The Deerholme Mushroom Book: From Foraging to Feasting is primarily a mushroom cookbook but it also contains good introductory information on foraging for wild varieties, as well as purchasing cultivated varieties. (For those who are serious about gathering wild mushrooms in the Pacific Northwest, I highly recommend having a look at Mushrooms Demystified by David Arora. Widely considered to be the Bible for regional mushroom foragers, this 1000+ page reference tome has just about everything you would want to know about the subject and much much more.)
The recipes in the book are divided into a number of categories:
- Pantry Recipes
- Tapas, Mezes, and Pickles
- Pâtés and Charcuterie
- Breads, Flatbreads, and Savoury Cakes
- Appetizers and Starter Plates
- Side Dishes
- Rice, Grains, and Beans
- Soups and Chowders
- Sauces for Pasta, Rice and Gnocchi
- Meat and Poultry
Wait a minute, desserts? I love mushrooms; they’re flavourful, versatile, delicious as a primary ingredient or incorporated into a more complex dish but I’ve only ever had them in savoury preparations. However there’s an intriguing recipe for candy cap mushroom ice cream in the Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream Book that I want to try making someday. The Deerholme Mushroom Book is the only other cookbook that I’ve come across which contains mushrooms as a feature ingredient in a dessert.
Mijune suggested trying out the Candied Chanterelle Panna Cotta using some mushrooms that she got from Ponderosa Mushrooms, a local specialty company based in Port Coquitlam. The cookbook recommends using small button chanterelles for best results due their firmer texture but they’re harder to find and dicing the larger ones was a good substitute.
The recipe was simple and straightforward: dice and simmer the mushrooms in a sugar syrup that’s flavoured with a cinnamon stick, make a standard vanilla panna cotta base using cream and gelatin, fill ramekin molds and chill, make a caramel using the leftover sugar syrup and additional cream.
Chanterelles naturally have a sweeter flavour and I was surprised at how delicious the mushrooms tasted once they were candied. The syrup also had a noticeable chanterelle flavour which faded somewhat once it was used to make the caramel sauce, but the mushrooms in the panna cotta still came through very well.
While I still think of mushrooms as more of a savoury ingredient, I was glad to discover a new and interesting way to use them, and would make this dish again. It would work especially well as a lighter dessert after a hearty autumn dinner and I think adding a hint of cinnamon spice to the vanilla base would be a delicious variation. Diced apple or pear could be used instead of fresh berries.
Candied Chanterelle Panna Cotta Recipe
Adapted from The Deerholme Mushroom Book by Bill Jones
- 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
- 1 cup (250g) water
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 cups (~210g) thinly sliced chanterelles, preferably button chanterelles
- 2 cups (500g) milk, divided
- 2 Tbsp gelatin powder (2 packages), or 6 sheets of gelatin
- 2 cups (500g) whipping cream
- seeds and pod from 1 vanilla bean, or 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ cup (86g) honey
- pinch of salt
- vegetable oil for ramekins
- Reserved liquid from the Candied Mushrooms
- ¼ cup (60g) whipping cream
- fresh berries or seasonal fruit
Notes for success
- Pour the panna cotta mixture into a large liquid measuring cup to make it easier to pour into the ramekins.
- All components of the dessert can be made ahead of time, up to several days in advance.
In a saucepan, combine the sugar, water, and the cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil and let all the sugar dissolve, then add the chanterelles. Skim off any scum that forms on the surface. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the stove and let cool. Remove the cinnamon stick.
If you are using powdered gelatin, place 1 cup of the milk and the gelatin in a small bowl. Stir to dissolve and set aside for 5 minutes to steep and soften the gelatin.
– or –
If you are using gelatin sheets, place the sheets in a small bowl with enough cold water to cover. Let the gelatin soften for 5 minutes, then drain the water from the bowl and squeeze the excess water out of the gelatin with your hand
In a large saucepan, combine 2 cups of the whipping cream, the rest of the milk (if using powdered gelatin) or all of the milk (if using sheet gelatin), vanilla, honey, and salt. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat immediately and add the gelatin milk mixture or the softened sheets, stirring gently to mix and dissolve the gelatin. Test for sweetness and add more honey to taste if desired. If using a vanilla bean, remove the scraped pod and strain the mixture into a bowl or a large liquid measuring cup.
Rub 8 custard ramekins (each approximately ¾ cup in size) with a little oil, which helps to release the end result.
Drain the chanterelles well, reserving the liquid. The mushrooms will have shrunk to less than half of their original volume. Distribute them evenly among the ramekins.
Divide the cream mixture overtop of the chanterelles in the ramekins. (Note that if a vanilla bean was used, the seeds will sink to the bottom of the ramekin. This will result in a layer of vanilla seeds showing at the top of the panna cotta once they’re unmolded. While this is purely a cosmetic preference, I like to have the seeds evenly dispersed throughout the panna cotta. This requires cooling the cream mixture in the refrigerator for several hours before it’s poured into the ramekins, and the mixture needs to be stirred approximately every 30 minutes until it has thickened enough so that the seeds stay suspended once the ramekins are filled.)
- Pop any large bubbles that have formed at the top of the ramekins after the cream mixture was poured in. Cover the ramekins with plastic wrap and chill them in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours or preferably overnight.
- Take the chanterelle syrup and reduce over medium high heat until the sugar starts to caramelize. The syrup will boil and become very foamy. Once some of the syrup foam starts to change colour, turn the heat down to medium. When the foam starts to turn a amber reddish colour, add the ¼ cup of whipping cream and swirl to dissolve the caramel. The caramel should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Reduce it further if necessary.
- Let the caramel cool to room temperature and check its thickness for pourability, keeping in mind that it will thicken further in the refrigerator. If it is too thick, add a little cream or water to thin it out. Transfer to a container and chill.
- Just before serving, check that the caramel is of pourable consistency. If it is too thick, warm it slightly over low heat or for a few seconds in the microwave.
- Place the ramekins in warm water that comes up to the height of the panna cotta for 10 seconds, then flip them onto plates. The panna cotta should slip easily from the ramekins. Give a gentle shake to release them (if needed) or dip them back into the warm water. Some liquid may pool onto the plate from the candied mushrooms or from the melted outer edge of the panna cotta.