Mushrooms are probably the last thing you’d expect to find in a dessert. Most of us are familiar with supermarket mushrooms that have a deeply savory, earthy aroma that pairs best with meat or cream sauces. Wild mushrooms don’t follow those same rules, and they can smell or taste like just about anything.
Chanterelle Mushrooms smell fruity, more like apricots or sweet cider than mushroom. Like many mushrooms, their flavor infuses easily into heavy cream or butter, but once it’s there, the sky’s the limit, and they’re just as at home in a savory chanterelle risotto as they are in a sweet chanterelle ice cream.
I made this chanterelle cheesecake with yellowfoot chanterelles, which are available in the fall months in my home state of Vermont. In warmer areas, they can be found throughout the winter. The cheesecake itself has mushrooms infused into heavy cream and then pureed with a stick blender so that they permeate the entire dish. It’s then topped with caramelized chanterelles, similar to the ones featured in this candied chanterelle panna cotta.
Any cheesecake recipe containing heavy cream can be modified to include chanterelles. I used this one from the NYT Cooking. Simply start by infusing about ⅛ of a pound of chanterelles (roughly 1 cup) in the heavy cream. Bring the cream and mushrooms to a low simmer for 2-3 minutes, then turn the heat off and allow them to infuse and cool for about an hour. Use an immersion blender to completely pulverize the mushrooms and then proceed with the recipe as it’s written.
Once the cheesecake is cooled, leave it as it is, or top it with caramel covered chanterelles. To make caramelized chanterelles, follow a basic stovetop caramel recipe and once it’s cooked, stir in chanterelles that have been sauteed in butter for about 8-10 minutes. Keep in mind you might not need all the caramel, so use your best judgment and adjust to your tastes.
Ashley lives in a solar and wind powered home in Vermont with her husband and two young children. She writes about gardening, foraging, DIY and all things off grid at Practical Self Reliance. You can find pictures of her adventures on Instagram, or follow along on Facebook or Twitter.
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