"I’m not actually sure when the 90s called and demanded to be part of this book, but they certainly did and got waaay past security. In those days, cream and carbs were abundant, and the rich regret that follows eight mouthfuls of fettuccine alfredo was always forgotten when you were handed a menu. A soufra is a very new experience for me, and I appreciate that this adaptation may not be doing the original as much justice as it should. But if I can somehow consume steamed pastry along with some crispy flaky bits and a rich custard of eggs, cream and milk, plus some madly aromatic fungi, then you have me, regrets and all." – Lucy Tweed
- For the duxelles:
- 350 g mixed fresh mushrooms, coarsely chopped
- 30 g shallots, thinly sliced 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 T thyme leaves
- ⅓ cup vermouth or dry white wine
- 1 t fine salt
- 1½ T cream
- For the soufra:
- 18 sheets phyllo pastry
- 60 g salted butter, melted
- 1 cup cream
- 5 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup finely grated parmesan, plus extra for sprinkling
- 1 T chives, snipped
- 1 T flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
- salad, for serving
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1. Combine the mushrooms, shallots, garlic, thyme and vermouth in a frying pan over medium heat and cover for 15 minutes to wet fry. Remove the lid and continue to cook for 10 minutes, or until the mushrooms are soft and the liquid has evaporated.
2. Let the mushroom mixture cool before placing into a food processor with the salt and blending until finely chopped. Add the cream and blend until smooth.
3. When you are ready to assemble, make sure your filo pastry and mushroom mixture is at room temperature. Preheat the oven to 180°C fan-forced.
4. Lightly grease a shallow 20 x 31 cm ovenproof dish – no deeper than 3 cm.
5. This is the tricky bit – take a good look at the little photo there, it will help you. Lay one sheet of filo pastry on top of some baking paper. Keep the remaining filo pastry moist by covering with a slightly damp cloth.
6. Spread/brush some of the duxelles on the sheet. Place a second layer of filo pastry on top. Beginning at the short end of the pastry, gather the ends in a scrunching concertina fashion until it is a tight rectangular parcel. The concertina scrunching does not need to be perfect.
7. Place this closed concertina of pastry into the dish, snuggled up against one end. Repeat this process, tucking the scrunched pastry parcels into the dish as you go, until you have used all of the sheets of pastry.
8. Adjust the parcels in the pan so they are evenly placed by spreading apart or pushing together as necessary. Brush the top of the pastry with lots of lovely melted butter.
9. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the pastry is beginning to turn golden. Meanwhile, whisk together the cream, eggs, milk and parmesan in a bowl.
10. Remove the dish from the oven and slowly pour the cream mixture into and around the crevices of the pastry. Allow time for the mixture to settle in place before adding more and filling up every little spot.
11. Place the dish back in the oven for 20 minutes, or until just set. Sprinkle generously with chives, parsley and extra parmesan. Serve while still warm with a fresh salad.
Extracted with permission from Every. Night. of. the. Week. by Lucy Tweed. Published by Murdoch Books.