Mushroom Pie – Sienipiirakka

In a couple of days, it’ll be time for the Holiday Baking Season. ´┐╝clunis posted a really yummy-sounding roll recipe, so I thought I’d post a holiday recipe, too.

Last year, I started a new tradition of baking a savory Finnish mushroom pie. I made it for Thanksgiving and for Christmas last year, and haven’t made it since. I’m looking forward to it. ­čÖé

Here’s the recipe.

It’s not difficult to make and holy crap is it ever worth the effort you do put in. Keeps for at least several days…but it probably won’t make it that far.

Mushroom Pie – Sienipiirakka

2 1/2 c chopping onions
3 Tbps butter
8 cups chopped mushrooms – wild varieties better. I used mostly crimini with about 1/3 shitake due to expense. Use fresh – the texture of dried doesn’t work well, even when properly rehydrated. As always, but more importantly than usual, BRUSH the dirt off – don’t wash!
1 tsp dried thyme (maybe a smidge less)
1/2 tsp salt (I leave this out)
“lots” of freshly-ground black pepper
8 oz. cream cheese

2 1/2 c unbleached white flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt (out, out, out – leave it out! But that’s just me.)
1 c butter
1 c sour cream
flour for coating the dough and board for rolling

1 egg
1 Tbsp milk

To make the filling, saute the onions in the butter in a large skillet (I used a large Calphalon pot – I didn’t have a “skillet” that’d hold 8 cups of mushrooms and everything else.) When the onions are soft and translucent, add the mushrooms and thyme, and saute for a few more minutes, until the mushrooms release their juices. Per ´┐╝tammylc, I’d cook them until a lot of those juice actually evaporate, in order to keep the moisture content lower. Add the black pepper, and, if you absolutely think you can stand the salt, add the salt. For me, the thyme also triggers my “salt” sensors, so additional salt is too much. Cut the cream cheese into smallish pieces and then stir it into the mushrooms until it melts. Remove from heat and set aside until the crust is ready.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

For the crust, combine the flour, baking powder and possible salt in a large mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer, or by hand, cut in the butter just enough to achieve an evenly-textured crumbly mix. Stir in the sour cream to form a soft dough. Generously dust the dough with flour and form it into a ball.

On a heavily-floured board, roll out 2/3 of the dough to fit a 10-inch pie plate and gently press it into the pan. Trim the edges. Fill with the mushroom mixture. Roll out the remaining dough about 1/4″ thick (thicker than a usual pie crust) and cut it into strips 1″ wide (a pizza cutter works far better than a knife for this.) Weave the strips into a lattice over the filling. This is a pain in the ass, but it looks pretty if done properly (which I, for the life of me, cannot manage.) Fold the strips of the lattice strips under the bottom crust and pinch the edges together. Flute if you feel like the effort and want it to look nice.

For the glaze, beat together the egg and milk. With a pastry brush, thoroughly coat the pie crust – give the excessive left-overs to your critter or use for french toast.

Bake the pie for 25 to 35 minutes, until the crust is puffy and golden. Allow to rest at least 10 minutes after coming out of the oven, so that the juices have time to redistribute.

Serve hot with green vegetables of some form.

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