Make the most of flavoursome mushrooms with this rich and creamy dish served in a puff pastry basket.
1-2 sheets ready-rolled puff pastry
1 free-range egg, lightly beaten
knob of butter
110g/4oz oyster mushrooms, torn into 2.5cm/1in strips
110g/4oz shiitake mushrooms, cut in half
110g/4oz brown beech mushrooms, separated (you could substitute chestnut mushrooms)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp brandy
3 tbsp sherry
100ml/3½fl oz beef or vegetable stock
100ml/3½fl oz cream
Preheat the oven to 180C/400F/gas 4.
Cut out two 13cm/5in squares of puff pastry and place on a baking sheet. Cut a border around the edge of the pastry, 1cm/½in in from the edge, leaving it intact at two opposite corners. Lift one of the cut corners of pastry and fold across to the opposite corner. Repeat on the other side to form a basket. Repeat with the second pastry square.
Seal the strips with the beaten egg then brush all over with beaten egg and bake in the oven for 10 minutes until puffed up and golden-brown. Leave to cool slightly then use a small sharp knife to cut around the central squares of the baskets and push the pastry down to form a dip. Keep warm.
Melt the butter in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat and add the mushrooms with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Fry for 4-5 minutes, or until golden-brown.
Carefully pour in the brandy and flambé the liquid by slowly tilting the pan towards the gas flame, or light it with a match. Let the flames flare up then die down. (Caution: keep your face and hair away from the flames. Do not leave unattended.). When the flames have died down pour in the sherry and flambé again. Pour in the stock and cream and simmer for 3-4 minutes, or until reduced to a thick sauce. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper then remove from the heat.
To serve, place the pastry baskets onto serving plates and spoon in the mushrooms and sauce. Drizzle a little extra sauce around the plate. Drizzle with a little mushroom-infused oil, grind over some black pepper and serve.
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