Canadian Mushroom & Oka Cheese Puffs


If you are looking to make an appetizer for your next party, you might want to make these little golden puffs of goodness...made with a simple choux pastry, potato, cheese and white Canadian Mushrooms they are sure to make you belle of the ball not to mention "hostess with the mostess" (sorry, I was just itching to say that...I haven't used that term since 1982!)

In honour of Canada's 150th. birthday, Mushrooms.ca has invited members of the Food Bloggers of Canada to participate in their annual Spotlight Appetizer Contest featuring our favourite Canadian mushrooms...in addition to having their original appetizer recipe featured at the Mushrooms Canada table at the FBC 2017 Conference in Ottawa, the lucky winner of this recipe "throw down" will receive 1 full conference pass including accommodations, meals and events!! This is an amazing opportunity to showcase Canadian mushrooms, show off our culinary skills and have a shot at winning our entry to the conference this year...and if I don't win, I promise I won't "throw down" anyone...maybe!

Since this is a Canadian themed contest, these little puffs are my savoury take on the iconic Tim Horton's "Timbit"! Each puff is made with with a light pastry dough, is chock full of white Canadian Mushrooms (founded in 1955, Mushrooms Canada started as a voluntary, non-profit organization which was and still is dedicated to the production and marketing of fresh mushrooms across the country), Yukon Gold potatoes (which were developed in the 1960's by G.R. Johnston, R.G. Rowberry, and Dr. Norman Thompson at Guelph University in Guelph, Ontario, Canada), Oka Cheese (originally manufactured around 1893 by Trappist monks located in Oka, Quebec, Canada.), Boursin cheese (although this cheese originated in Normandy, France in 1957, it has been produced locally in Quebec since 2011). These little morsels may be bite sized but each one packs a real Canadian punch, eh?!

To make these Canuck cuties, you will need 8-9 White Mushrooms, 2 green onions, 1 or 2 cloves of garlic, 3 large sized Yukon Gold potatoes (or another mashing type), fresh or dried thyme, salt, pepper, Oka cheese (or swiss, gruyere, emmental etc.) Boursin cheese (or another soft herbed spreadable cheese), 2 large eggs, butter, all purpose flour, water and oil for deep fat frying.

First, wash, peel and dice 3 large potatoes (should equal about 3, 1/2 cups diced), add to a saucepan with water, a tsp. of salt and bring to a boil until potatoes are tender. Drain then mash...set aside.

Wash and roughly chop about 8 or 9 white mushrooms (should equal about 2 cups, chopped), slice 2 green onions and mince 1 or 2 cloves of garlic...in a frying pan, saute on medium heat in a tbsp. of butter until tender and all of the liquid has evaporated (about 8-9 minutes)...

...remove from heat and transfer the cooked vegetables to a plate to cool...set aside.

Remove the rind from a half block of Oka cheese (the rind stinks but trust me, the cheese is good!) and using a cheese grater, shred the half block (you should have a scant cup of shredded cheese)...set aside.

Next, in a medium saucepan, set over medium heat, bring a 1/4 cup of butter, a 1/2 cup of water and 1/8 tsp. of salt to a boil...

...all at once, add a 1/2 cup of all purpose flour and stir quickly...

...until the mixture pulls away from the sides of pot and forms a dough...stir for about 45 seconds...remove from heat and let cool for about 5 minutes.

To the warm dough, add 2 eggs one at at time, stirring vigorously after each addition, ensuring that the egg doesn't cook in the dough...

...beat with a wooden spoon until smooth and velvety.

Scrape dough into a large bowl then add the mashed potato, mushroom, onion and garlic combo, a 1/2 tsp. of salt, a 1/2 tsp. of dried or fresh thyme, a 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper....

...and a cup of shredded Oka cheese.

Stir to combine...

...then heat some safflower or vegetable oil (about 3 or 4 inches) in a large (5 quart) pot until it reaches about 325-330 degrees...you don't want it too hot as you will need the inside of the dough to cook before the outside gets too brown.

Drop by spoonful into the hot oil taking care not to splash yourself...hot oil and skin do not mix! ( I used a dessert spoon for this step)

...and fry in small batches...

...until dough is golden brown on all sides and puffed up (approximately 4-5 minutes, turning the puffs often). Remove with slotted utensil and drain on a paper towel lined plate.

Transfer to a wire rack (to prevent getting soggy) and repeat steps until all of the dough is fried (allow oil to come back up to 330 degrees for each batch)

This step is optional: place boursin soft, herbed cheese into a piping bag (or a ziploc bag with the corner snipped off)...

...and fill each puff with some of the soft, herbed cheese. Although, the soft cheese centre is divine, this step is optional as the puffs taste amazing without it too!

Serve these Canadian Mushroom & Oka Cheese Puffs right away or reheat in a 400 degree oven on a parchment paper lined baking sheet for about 10 minutes...enjoy the taste of Canada in each bite!

Canadian Mushroom & Oka Cheese Puffs

pastry

1/2 cup cup of all purpose flour

1/2 cup of water

1/4 cup of butter (salted or unsalted)

1/8 tsp. of salt

2 large eggs

filling

8-9 white mushrooms, roughly chopped (about 2 cups, chopped)

2 green onion, sliced

1 or 2 garlic cloves, minced

3 large Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled & diced ( about 3, 1/2 cups, diced)

1 cup of Oka cheese, rind removed & shredded

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. fresh of dried thyme

1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

boursin soft herbed cheese (optional)

1. Wash, peel and dice the potatoes, boil in a pot of water with 1 tsp. of salt until tender...drain then mash potatoes and set aside.

2. Roughly chop the mushrooms, slice the onions and mince the garlic...saute in a tbsp. of butter over medium heat until vegetables are tender and all of the liquid has been evaporated...about 8-9 minutes. Transfer mixture to a plate to cool and set aside.

3. Shred a half block of Oka cheese (rind removed)...you should have a scant cup..set aside.

4. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add a 1/2 cup of water, a 1/4 cup of butter and 1/8 tsp. of salt...bring to a boil then add the flour all at once...stir quickly with a wooden spoon until the mixture pulls away from sides and forms a dough...stir for about 45 seconds...remove from heat and let cool down a bit ( about 5 minutes).

5. Add 2 eggs to the warm dough, one at a time, stirring vigorously after each addition until smooth and velvety.

5. Transfer pastry mixture to a large bowl then add in the mashed potatoes, vegetables, shredded cheese, thyme, salt and pepper...stir until combined.

6. Carefully drop dough by spoonful into a 5 quart pot with about 3-4 inches of oil heated to about 330 degrees. Fry until golden brown and puffed up...about 4-5 minutes (watching carefully and turning puffs often).

7. Remove puffs with a slotted utensil and transfer to a plate lined with paper towels. Transfer to a wire rack to ensure the puffs don't get soggy. Repeat steps until all of the dough has been fried allowing the oil to come back up to 330 degrees for each batch.

8. Optional step : Fill a piping bag with boursin soft herbed cheese and fill the centre of each puff.

Serve warm or room temperature...enjoy!

* Makes about 25 appetizer puffs