Several times for Canterbury Faire, Lady Cecily de Montgomery and I made a vast number of pies, the quantity and work of which was fearsome. Here I have included our modern recipe for 400 serves, and also a smaller domestic level for the home or household cook. To make the approximately 400 pies you will need around 14 hours of man-labour in a home kitchen. The pies are tasty, popular and freeze well in sealed containers. While the origional recipe calls for the mushrooms to be boiled, they are far tastier fried in vast amounts of butter. Variations on this to save labour are to oven-roast the mushrooms with the butter, and the addition of onions and/or garlic are not amiss.
Mushrooms of one night be the best and they be little and red within and closed at the top; and they must be peeled and then washed in hot water and parboiled and if you wish to put them in a pasty add oil, cheese and spice powder.
The Goodman of Paris (Le Ménagier de Paris). A Treatise on Moral and Domestic Economy by A Citizen of Paris (c. 1395). New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1928.
For 400 pies;
- 9kg button mushrooms
- 2kg butter
- salt, pepper
- Roughly 3 tspn ginger,
- 4 tspn nutmeg,
- 6 tspn fine ground white pepper,
- 2 tspn ground cloves
- 750g-1kg Parmesan grated
- 10 pkts pre-rolled savoury short pastry (50 sheets) (7-9 per sheet)
For 20 pies;
- 500g mushrooms
- 200g butter
- salt, pepper
- half a packet of Parmesan cheese (~100g)
- One packet of pastry
Cook mushrooms until soft in generous amount of butter, set aside to cool and then add cheese and spices and mix thoroughly. Mushrooms should be thoroughly softened and coated, but shouldn’t be drowning in butter, or the pastry will be soggy, drain butter before this step if neccesary. Cut pastry to fit greased mufffin tins and put mixture in. Bake about 15 minutes, at 180c degrees, or until pastry is golden. Cook at a slightly lower temperature if using fan.
This recipe is fairly vague, because we usually do it on a large scale, and to a certain degree by eye, the important bit is just – mushrooms cooked in butter until soft, some combination of those spices, and a bit of parmesan, you can vary stuff up a fair bit. In theory each kilo of mushrooms makes about 30-40 tarts, depending on how enthusiastic you are with filling them, and if you are willing to reroll pastry scraps. These freeze quite happily in sealed containers for few months. They can be served cold, but are really yummy warmed up in the oven. The spices may seem a bit odd for a savoury flavour, but are delicious with mushrooms. You can cut the pastry with a round cutter/glass to make tidy ones, or just whack in some squares with pointy bits up, as long as it makes a cup shape to hold the mushrooms.
~Kotek Torzhokskoi and Cecily de Montgomery