This is a great special occasion dish and would be wonderful for Christmas for any vegetarian. The original recipe comes from The Cranks Bible by Nadine Abensur. If you are into vegetarian food I can’t recommend this book enough. It’s not one of those “food porn” recipe books full of delicious looking photos, instead it is packed with great recipes that work with wonderful ideas when cooking vegetarian food.

I have adapted this recipe slightly, using more mushrooms as well as some dried mushrooms for more depth of flavour.

If making these for a special occasion they can be prepared ahead of time and chilled once you have wrapped the pastry around the mushroom filling ready to be baked just before serving.

If serving this for Christmas serve it with steamed asparagus and cranberry chutney.

3 large onions
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
500g mushrooms (if available use a mixture of mushrooms)
20g (approx ¼ cup) dried mushrooms
1½ tbsp dried tarragon
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp Marsala sherry
6 tbsp hot water
1 cup cashew nuts
1 cup ground almonds
100g fresh breadcrumbs*
salt and pepper
ready made flaky pastry

Soak the dried mushrooms in the soy sauce,Marsalaand water.

Chop the onions and sauté with two of the cloves of garlic in a little oil. You want the onions to be browned but not burnt.

Once happy with the colour of the onions, set them aside and add a little more oil to the pan along with the mushrooms, remaining garlic and tarragon. There is no need to chop the mushrooms but I do remove the stalks of the large ones.

Cook the mushrooms at quite a high heat for five minutes and then add the dried mushrooms and their soaking liquid. Continue to cook for another five minutes.

While the mushrooms were cooking I ground the bread crumbs and then the cashew nuts up in the food processor then combined these with the ground almonds. Set aside and add the onions and mushrooms into the food processor and whizz until smooth.  Add the breadcrumbs and nuts and process until smooth. Season with a good pinch of salt and some pepper.

Now to wrap the mixture in pastry. I use ready rolled pastry sheets. You can simply divide the mixture into four and wrap the mixture like a parcel in the pastry. Or for a more sophisticated look see below.

At first this may appear complicated but once you start to do them you will find it’s not that hard.  Plus once cooked many of your little mistakes will disappear.

Place ¼ of the mixture in the middle of the pastry sheet. Shape it into a rectangle log taking up the middle third of the pastry.

Using a sharp knife cut a line at a 45° angle from the left hand corner of the pastry to the left hand corner of the mushroom mixture. Continue making similar cuts down the left hand side approx 1cm wide. Once done repeat this on the right hand side.
I have found it easier to cut the last cuts down to a point where the meet so you have a triangle you can then fold in at the bottom.  For the top I cut a line directly up from each side of the mushroom mixture creating a triangle of pastry on each side that can be removed and a square flap to fold over the mushroom mixture.

Now starting on the left fold one strip of pastry over the mushroom mixture followed by a strip from the right. Continue doing this until the entire mixture is covered. You may have an extra strip or two left at the end, I simply cut these off.

Repeat the whole process again for the remaining mix, you should get 4 in total. Brush with beaten egg all over and bake in a pre-heated 200°C oven for 25 minutes until golden brown.

*I made my breadcrumbs from a couple of day-old ciabatta, but any slightly stale bread will work. Alternatively panko breadcrumbs should do the trick too.

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