Foraging is very popular in Sweden due to the wide range of fruits, berries and mushrooms that grow in the country, and a law called allemansrätten (every man’s right) which allows for the picking of food, flowers, etc. all over the country. We’ve baked pies from foraged blueberries, raspberries and blackberries, found patches of wild strawberries, and made cordial from elderflower but, until yesterday, I had not succeeded in locating any wild mushrooms.
Armed with a small dog, a young boy and a plastic bag, I stubbornly walked into the forest yesterday afternoon in search of fungus.
Specifically: Craterellus tubaeformis (otherwise known as winter mushroom, Yellowfoot, Funnel Chantarelle and trattkantarell in Swedish).
We walked around Ulvön (the forest island near Felix’s grandma Birgitta’s place in Ulvesund) for hours and, while we found plenty of mushrooms, none of them were what I was looking for.
Not being certain my target mushrooms were even there to be found, I was considering giving up when all of a sudden I spotted a bunch of ugly looking brown caps.
Maybe… I thought to myself. I googled them and, sure enough, I’d found the less attractive and less tasty sibling of the famous and beloved Cantharellus cibarius (or chantarelle or girolle or kantarell).
I picked a bagfull and tore myself away to return home and show off my find.
Birgitta made a pie crust while I cleaned and prepared the shrooms, and before long we had the makings of the world’s best mushroom pie.
I have included the recipe for anyone who wants to have a go at it.
- 150g butter
- 210 g flour
- Pinch salt
- 2tbsp cold water
- 600g fresh mushrooms
- 1 yellow onion
- 2tbsp butter
- Pinch salt
- 150g grated cheese (we used Västerbottensost)
- 3 eggs
- 200ml thickened cream
- 100ml milk
- Pinch Cayenne pepper
- Teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius.
- Pie crust: cut the butter into pieces and mix with the salt and flour until it is a crumbly mix (food processor or by hand is just fine). Add the water and work it quickly together into a dough.
- Press the dough into a pie tray approximately 28cm diameter for four portions. Prick the dough with a fork and put it in the fridge for around half an hour.
- Cook the dough in the oven for around 10 minutes with pastry weights.
- Trim the crappy bits off your mushrooms and (if they’re big) cut them up a bit. We just put ours in whole which looked pretty good in my opinion.
- Let the mushrooms sweat out their water in a frypan on fairly hot heat. You might have to tip the excess water out now and then. You’ll be surprised at how much water they’re holding! No wonder the Swedish word for mushroom (svamp) also means sponge.
- Finely slice an onion however you like your onion sliced.
- When your mushrooms stop seeping water, add the butter and increase the heat.
- Put in the onion when it feels right.
- Fry, mixing, until all the liquid has boiled off and season with salt.
- When the mix has cooled a bit, mix in the cheese and lay it all in the pie crust evenly.
- Whisk together the egg filling ingredients and pour evenly over your mushroom mix.
- Put it in the oven for about 40 minutes or until it’s a nice colour and the egg is all cooked. If the top starts browning and there’s still 20 minutes to go (like it did for us) put some foil over it and keep cooking.
- You have pie! Share it with your friends.
We tried other spots on the island after we exhausted the supply where we found them, but had no more luck until we checked a spot by a path right next to the shoreline recommended by Felix’s aunty, Cissi, who is the family mushroom queen, as far as I can gather.
There, in the middle of the path, shining up at us with its golden gills swaying in the breeze (read: just sitting there, really) was a kantarell! A normal one! The main act!
We were very excited and started looking around for more. They were more sparse than the others but easier to spot with their vivid egg-yolk yellow colour.
We frolicked on the shoreline, looking under rocks, sifting through moss and leaves, and squeezing ourselves through branches of spiky trees and blackberry brambles.
Pretty soon we had a bag full.
The plan is a slow cooker risotto with the trattkantareller and maybe a creamy pasta with the golden ones.
More recipes to come!