To carry along with an autumnal mood, here are two recipes which welcome nuts. Use walnuts for a mouth melting starter which can be a main dish if you serve these stuffed mushrooms on a bed of vegetables (Savoy cabbage for instance); prefer cobnuts for an easy to prepare but impressive nougat glacé. Why not try both?
A sweet: Nougat glacé and caramelized apricot
3 eggs (white)
80 g caster sugar (2 x 40g)
3 tsp running honey
50 g cobnuts (plus a few for decoration)
50 g pistachios
50 g almond (flaked or whole)
50 g dried apricots
50 ml whisky
300 ml whipping cream
1 tin of apricot halves
- The day before, cut the dried apricots into four and soak them in the whisky.
- Chop the different nuts, and toast them lightly in a pan. Then sprinkle 40g sugar to caramelize the nuts. Stir gently until the caramel coats the nuts. Let cool on a sheet of greaseproof paper and divide into small pieces. Don’t forget to do the same with whole nuts for the decoration.
- Beat the whites to stiff peaks. In a pan, pour the honey and add the remaining sugar. Bring to the boil until you reach 120°C (about 4 min). Carry on beating the white and slowly pour the warm honey. Continue beating until the meringue has cooled (this is what we call Italian meringue).
- Whip the cream to stiff peaks and add to the Italian meringue. Then add the fruit (with the whisky) and the caramelized nuts. Stir delicately. Place in a cake tin and freeze for 12 hours.
- Before serving, reserve 6 apricot halves, blend the rest with a little of the syrup to obtain a thick coulis.
- Sprinkle brown sugar on the halves and caramelize under the grill or with a blowtorch.
- Mould the nougat glacé, place a slice on each plate, a caramelized nut and an apricot half and finish with the coulis.
I like my nougat glacé to be really “nutty”. The original recipe does not include other fruit. Though I like adding dried apricot, especially when I serve it with an apricot coulis. Of course I’d rather use fresh apricots in season. You can vary the coulis: if you choose to make it with red fruit, then use dried cranberries in the nougat glacé; if you prefer mango, put dried pineapple in the icecream. I tend not to use candied fruit as this dessert would become an Italian cassata. But don’t hesitate to be creative!
Go for a reasonably matured fruity whisky, according to the nature of the fruit you will add. With apricot, I like Glenmorangie Nectar d’Or (Glenmorangie Ealanta is perfect as well). Most Speyside whiskies (more on the bourbon side than the sherry one) will match well. This dessert allows a large spectrum of matchings, depending on the nature of the coulis. Caramelized nuts make a flexible bridge with all fruity whiskies.
6 big portobello mushrooms
100 g matured cheddar (cut in small dice)
50 g grated comté
100 g pancetta
80 g shelled walnuts and chopped
1 small bramley apple (cut in small dice)
1 shallot chopped
1 celery branch chopped
40 g butter
1 glass of white wine
- Preheat the oven (180°C). Place pancetta in a pan. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain and set aside.
- Break off mushrooms stem. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat, Cook and stir chopped stems, shallot, celery and apple dice, adding white wine after 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. When the vegetables have taken a golden colour, remove from heat and put in a large bowl.
- Add walnuts, pancetta and cheddar. Mix and place on top of the mushrooms. Sprinkle with grated comté.
- Cook for 12 to15 min in the oven.
The earthy character of the mushrooms is the key. I will go for whiskies with a spicy, slightly oaky character, whiskies which remind of autumn scents: wet leaves, damp warehouse, humus, cider apples, cinnamon, ginger or pepper. Glenrothes 1998 or Aberlour 18 Years Old. A hint of peat can make good matching. Tomatin Cù Bocan would be perfect. The rustic profile of Old Pulteney 12 Years Old allows an harmonious combination as well.