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Monday, February 8, 2010

Three's a Trend: Mushroom Desserts

Posted By on Mon, Feb 8, 2010 at 10:41 AM

click to enlarge Candy caps, i.e. Lactarius rufulus - DARVIN DESHAZER/BAMS
  • Darvin Deshazer/BAMS
  • Candy caps, i.e. Lactarius rufulus
Don't trip: We've learned to love the unfathomable in desserts: bacon, beer-ice cream floats, and salt. Now S.F.'s avant-garde chefs are pushing further with candy cap mushrooms (Lactarius rubidus and L. rufulus), actual foraged fungus that lends earthy depth and butterscotch or maple perfume to ice creams, cakes, and caramels. The Bay Area Mycological Society says that, fresh from the woods, L. rubidus has only a faint sweetness ― you have to dry candy caps, slowly, for the full fragrance to develop. Look for candy caps in the following forms (after the jump):

click to enlarge Luis Villavelazquez
  • Luis Villavelazquez
Iso Rabins, founder of ForageSF and the Wild Kitchen, is weaving candy cap ice cream ― a pointedly woody compliment to sweet acorn bread ― into Sunday's Wild Foraged Valentine's feast.

Luis Villavelazquez challenges diners by throwing mushrooms on Absinthe's dessert roster. His chocolate ganache panini with candy cap anglaise will pop up at Arlequin in March.

• Vegan chefs like Alive!'s Leland Jung look to candy caps for buttery caramel flavor sans dairy. They're a flavoring in his candy cap mushroom "cheesecake."

Prefer 'shrooming in the privacy of your home kitchen? Check out the recipe for salted pecan candy cap sables at the Bojon Gourmet blog.

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Carolyn Alburger

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