Wild mushroom pizza

The abundance of autumn can get a little overwhelming – not only is there all the garden produce to take care of, store or preserve, there are also a lot of wild delicacies available for free in the nature. But because I often work on the weekends at this time of year, some windows of opportunity close before I get around to making use of them. For example, I never got around to making the rowanberry compote I was planning to make. Or to baking elderberry muffins. But luckily we managed to forage some wild mushrooms!

This is mostly thanks to my husband who basically dragged me into the forest and away from my to-do list one Sunday morning, couple of weeks ago. The thing is, there is always stuff to do but sometimes you just have to tear yourself away and go for a walk in the woods.

Most people in the Netherlands grew up fearing wild mushrooms, so even though the beautiful weather draw out lots people, they ignored the gorgeous ceps and porcini basically growing on the paths. And so we filled our basket and started contemplating all the delicious things that could be made with the mushrooms.

The same day I made this pizza, inspired by a recipe in my pizza bible, Jim Lahey’s book on no-knead pizza. I shared his brilliant no-knead pizza dough recipe before but this time I actually made my second favourite dough, one that did not require an overnight proofing. There is an addition of a little corn and rye flour, contributing an earthy flavour (but you can totally just use more all-purpose) and because it uses milk, the dough is also a little richer.

As for the mushrooms: Jim Lahey’s recipe uses chantarelles, shiitake and oyster mushrooms, so you can always use those, but he also says one kind would do. But if you can, use ceps (porcini), because their flavour is incomparable. They are also some of the safest mushrooms to forage since they are not too difficult to identify and unlikely to get confused with anything deadly. I think they are a good place to start, if you’d like to learn more about wild mushrooms!

Wild mushroom pizza
Inspired by Jim Lahey My Pizza: The Easy No-Knead Way to Make Spectacular Pizza at Home
For one pizza
1/3 pizza dough (recipe follows)
1/3 cup béchamel sauce (recipe follows)
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup finely grated parmiggiano cheese (or grana Padano)
Chili flakes
150 g (about 5 ounces) wild mushrooms (we mostly used ceps), thinly sliced
Olive oil

Preheat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius (420 F). I use the bottom heat + broiler stand.
Stretch/ roll out the dough into about 4 mm (1/8 inch) thick, roughly  30 x 25 cm (12 x 10 inch) oval shape (or a large round shape if you have a baking sheet large enough). (I bake the pizza on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper because I do not have a pizza stone) Spread the béchamel evenly over the dough, leaving about an inch of the rim untouched. Sprinkle with the chopped garlic, grated cheese and chili flakes. Scatter the mushrooms on top and add a few torn sage leaves. Drizzle a little olive oil on top. Bake the pizza in the preheated oven until the top is slightly blistered, about 15 minutes.

Pizza dough
This amount works well for our family of four but we do like pizza!
3 tbsp active dry yeast
180 ml (3/4 cup) warm water
180 ml (3/4 cup) warm milk
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp fine cornmeal
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp rye flour
500 g (3 ½ cups) all-purpose flour

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water and set aside for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the milk, oil and cornmeal in a large bowl. Add the yeast mixture, salt and rye flour and then start gradually adding the all-purpose flour, until a soft, workable dough forms. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes, then cover the bowl and leave it to rise in a warm place until it has doubled in bulk, about 40 minutes.

Béchamel sauce
250 ml (1 cup) whole milk
55 g (½ stick) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
a pinch of ground nutmeg

Pour about 1/3 of the milk into a saucepan, add butter and heat while stirring, until the butter melts.
Meanwhile, put the flour in a medium bowl, add remaining milk and whisk into a slurry. Ladle some of the warm mixture into the cold flour mixture to warm it. Pour the contents of the bowl back into the saucepan and whisk it in. Add salt.
Over medium-low heat, whisk the mixture frequently, as it cooks and thickens. The béchamel is done when it has reached the consistency of a runny sauce or heavy cream.
Grate in the nutmeg and allow to cool to room temperature. It will continue to thicken as it cools. Use the béchamel immediately or cool, cover and refrigerate for up to 5 days. Bring it back to room temperature before using.


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