Sunday, October 14, 2018

Wild Mushrooms for Dinner: Hedgehog Hand Pies with Acorn Crust

Our autumn mushrooms include hedgehogs, in the genus Hydnum. On the underside of the caps these are small teeth, or spines instead of gills or pores. They are cousins of chanterelles in taste, and cook up wonderfully once browned with a bit of butter. We generally refer to the smaller ones with a small central depression in the cap as the bellybutton hedgehogs, Hydnum umbilicatum.The larger ones, up to 10" caps with an offset stem, we call Hydnum redandum. Off course, rumor has it that DNA isn't going to let us get away with it that easily and that there are many, many species lurking around in the mix. The golden hedgehogs that we find in the fall in mixed woods in southern New England all tend to be quite tasty, however. There are some more pale varieties, and some that tend to be a bit bitter, but the buttery-golden ones are good for the plate.

For the ones we collected this past weekend, we decided to go really wild and make a savory hand pie with an acorn pie crust, and added to the filling diced butternut squash, new red potatoes, freshly dug ramps bulbs, thyme, a thick vegetable gravy, and the foraged hedgehogs. The filling was mostly cooked and chilled beforehand, and the rolled acorn crust filled right before cooking. The pie crust was made with ground acorn flour from white oak acorns that we leached, ground, and toasted last year and had kept in the freezer. I dug the ramps bulbs yesterday from a large patch, taking only what I needed and replanting the mature seed heads into the holes I made by removing the fat bulbs. We are both intuitive cooks, so I don't have a recipe, I just cooked with what I thought would taste good!

Acorn flour

Ramps bulbs

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