David the Gnome: Cheese Pie with Dandelion Greens & Wild Mushrooms

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I know this is a little early this week, but today’s post will be a little different from what I normally do on the Gluttonous Geek. So if you were a kid in the nineties like I was, you probably remember a little gem of a TV show called “The World of David the Gnome”. This originally Spanish, then dubbed English cartoon was based off children’s book The Secret Book of Gnomes by Dutch author Wil Huygen and illustrator Rien Poortvliet.

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A work of art spanning several years and countries.

The series follows gnomish doctor David, his wife Lisa, and their fox companion Swift and their adventures all over the world helping all sorts of creatures. Whether saving animals from trolls and corrupted humans, or helping each other through their customs and magical lives, the characters teach lessons of environmental responsibility, self-sustainability, and undiscriminating compassion (unless you happen to be a troll, that is). Now why is this show the subject of my post this week, you may ask? Well, this kind of happened on Twitter last week:

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Yay collaboration!

So that’s right, thanks to a little bit of collaboration and random whim, you’ll not only get one David the Gnome inspired recipe, but three! Make sure to also check out Diane of Fiction Food Cafe and Carrie of the The Witchy Kitchen.

Now the series mostly describes gnomes as vegetarian foragers sustaining on a number of indigenous items including mushrooms, acorns, sunflowers, berries, and dandelions. They also mention their cooperation with birds and humans and are often gifted with eggs and milk. This actually is rather befitting since the modern version of gnomes resemble the nisse and tomte, nature spirits from Scandinavian folklore who protected livestock and farms, and whom were deeply offended whenever disrespect was shown to land and animals.

Now being greatly influenced by Scandinavian folklore and aesthetics, I wanted to create a recipe that showcases that style of cooking, as well as a woodland themed flair. It was a bit difficult re-watching all 26 episodes ( I did, btw, the theme song is still stuck in my head), but I was on episode 6: “The Wedding that Nearly Wasn’t” when I saw this at a wedding feast.
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Tasty, pixelated goodness.

This pie highly resembles Swedish smorgasbord item Västerbottensostpaj  (thank goodness this is not an audio blog, I have no idea how to pronounce that!). Directly translated as Västerbotten’s cheese pie, its a traditional item from Northern Sweden made from eggs and cheese, with a quiche-like texture. Ideally you would be using cheese from the region, but an aged white cheddar is reportedly comparable. I ended up using two other Swedish cheeses: Prast and Swedish Fontina, and I recommend you give them a try especially since Swedish Fontina is “noted for its earthy, mushroomy, and woody taste”.
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Pastry crust is still the bane of my existence.

To add a little gnomish style to the pie, I cooked up a mix of wild and gourmet mushrooms, and dandelion greens in Glogg – a Scandinavian wine mulled with spices and raisins. If you’re unable to find glogg, there are recipes all over the internet, but I will note that it tastes like a spiced late harvest red or port. The mushrooms I used were chanterelles (considered a delicacy in Sweden), morels, and oyster. The pie from the show shows a cherry, so I used pitted cherries we had on hand, though I would also recommend some lingonberry jam.
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Swift makes the expression my cats make when I cook something.

Gnomish Cheese Pie with Dandelion Greens and Wild Mushrooms

Serves 6-8

Equipment: 8 inch pie dish, small skillet, cheese grater, oven, coffee filter and rubber band, jar or cup, plastic wrap, rolling pin

Ingredients

Crust:
  • 10 Tbs unsalted butter
  • 3-4 tablespoons ice water
  • 1 and 1/4 cup all purpose flour
Filling:
  • 1/2 cup glogg
  • 1/4 cup water
  • heaping 1/4 cup dried chanterelle mushrooms
  • 2-3 dried morel mushrooms
  • handful fresh oyster mushrooms
  • 1 cup of finely chopped, fresh dandelion greens
  • 3/4 cup shredded prast cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded swedish fontina cheese
  • 1 Tbs minced garlic
  • 5 oz heavy cream
  • 4 eggs
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • dried dill weed
  • Pitted cherry or lingonberry jam for garnish

Instructions

  1. Rehydrate dried mushrooms with glogg and water in a jar at room temperature for a least 30 minutes to about 2 hours.
  2. Cut butter into tiny pieces and mix into flour with hands or spatula, add one tablespoon of ice water at a time. When fully incorporated into a dough, cover with plastic wrap and let chill for about 30 minutes.
  3. When ready to cook fillings, put coffee filter on a cup and secure edges with rubber band. Pour liquid from jar into filter and let drain. Rinse all mushrooms thoroughly and then roughly chop.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°F. Take dough out of fridge and roll large enough to fill pie dish with 1/2 inch pressed over the sides to prevent it sliding down while baking (as you can see, I was not so lucky). When in dish, poke the bottom of the dough several times with a fork to let steam out while baking. Pre-bake the dough 15-20 minutes when at temp.
  5. Heat up skillet on medium heat. Add strained mushroom liquid, mushrooms. Let cook for a few minutes and add dandelion greens, season with salt, pepper, and dill. Cook until the greens have wilted.
  6. Beat eggs and cream in separate bowl, then add cheese, and other filling ingredients. Mix thoroughly.
  7. Pour filling into pie crust and bake in oven another 30-40 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and let cool 15 minutes before serving. Garnish with pitted cherry or lingonberry jam.
 

The Gluttonous Geek