Black trumpet mushrooms are our favorite summer mushroom and black trumpet mushroom & smoked gouda soufflé is the best recipe we’ve ever made with them. In this article, you’ll find out how to make your own!
Summer mushroom season is in full gear here in Upstate South Carolina, which means our woods are filled with a wide range of gourmet & medicinal mushrooms. If we had to pick a favorite summer mushroom, it wouldn’t take us long to come up with an answer: black trumpets (Craterellus fallax).
Black trumpets are a close relative of chanterelles, however their flavor is totally different. Chanterelles offer fruity, nutty notes vaguely reminiscent of apricots and almonds. Black trumpets are way more on the umami side of the flavor scale, with rich, earthy notes reminiscent of truffles.
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Chanterelles’ bright orange color makes them easy to spot on the forest floor. However, the color and patterning of black trumpets makes them very hard to spot.
This means our foraging basket may be filled with chanterelles after a hike, but we might not find a single black trumpet. When we do find black trumpets, we jump for joy because of their rarity and because we know it means we’re going to have an unforgettable meal.
A new black trumpet mushroom recipe
On a recent hike, we found a terrific patch of black trumpets. The Tyrant harvested while I kept our toddler sleeping in his Osprey backpack/child carrier.
Afterwards, we mulled over what to do with our treasures. When we want to keep things simple, we use our black trumpet mushroom pasta recipe. However, we wanted to come up with something new to add to our repertoire.
I’m nor sure why, but soufflé popped into my head. After drafting a recipe, I felt ready to take on the task of making our first ever black trumpet mushroom soufflé. The Tyrant then brought our toddler outside to play in the garden and sprinkler giving me a one hour deadline to get things done.
Translation: being in a bit of a rush, some of the instructional/process photos below are a bit blurry. Hopefully, they’ll still help guide you to culinary victory when you’re making this recipe!
Step-by-step: how to make black trumpet mushroom soufflé
Making a good soufflé is all about the right ingredients, ratios, and techniques.
The extra details, instructions, and process photos below are intended to help you get this recipe right your first time out.
1. Size and shape of your baking dish
This recipe makes about 4 cups of uncooked soufflé. Soufflé is meant to rise significantly while baking. That means you’ll want to use either a large 5+ cup soufflé-style baking dish or multiple small one cup soufflé dishes.
An ideal soufflé pan is round and has straight sides, not angled. You want the soufflé to go straight up and have a nice fluffy crown on top.
In addition to picking the right size and shape soufflé dish, you’ll also want to:
- butter your dish before pouring in the ingredients, and
- put a small amount of fresh-grated parmesan cheese on the bottom of the dish before pouring the ingredients in.
These steps also help give your soufflé some extra umph as it’s rising.
2. Whole wheat organic pastry flour
Classic French soufflé makers might gasp at this notion, but we used organic whole wheat pastry flour in our soufflé rather than the standard all-purpose white flour. Why?
For health reasons, we prefer to eat whole foods, including whole wheat. A quality whole wheat flour uses 100% of the wheatberry, bran and germ included. (Organic = no synthetic pesticide residues + farming practices we support.) Eating whole foods with fiber keeps your gut microbiome fed so they don’t get desperate and start eating your mucosal lining.
“Pastry flour” is better than standard flour when you want a lighter, fluffier texture. More processed white flour with the bran and germ removed will probably give a better rise to your soufflé, but we err on the side of wanting to eat whole grain.
3. Preparing your black trumpet mushrooms
Black trumpet mushroom preparation actually starts in the woods while harvesting. We pull chanterelles and black trumpets out of the ground at harvest, rather than cutting them at the base to remove them from the ground. Research has shown this is actually better for the organism and leads to larger future yields/fruitings in subsequent years.
To reduce sand and grit in your mushrooms:
- only harvest mushrooms that aren’t covered in dirt/sand,
- cut the bases off and brush your mushrooms off before you put them in your harvest bag or basket.
An Opinel mushroom knife really comes in handy here. These steps significantly reduce cleaning time back home and makes for a better meal.
Before cooking your black trumpets, you still need to clean them to remove any remaining dirt and grit. I put them in a bowl, fill the bowl with water, then give them a vigorous stirring by hand. The sand and dirt fall to the bottom and the mushrooms float.
Carefully remove the mushrooms by hand and place them in a strainer, leaving the heavier sand and dirt in the bottom of the rinsing bowl. (You can pour this rinse water around a nearby hardwood tree in hopes that the spores will inoculate the roots!)
Next, you’re going to finely chop your black trumpet mushrooms. You don’t want large chunks of mushroom in your soufflé. Smaller pieces equal more even flavor distribution and better rise on your soufflé.
Once chopped, toss the mushrooms into a pan over medium low heat (4 on our stove) with butter and about a teaspoon of finely diced thyme leaves and/or flowers. Cook for about 10 minutes, then add diced garlic and cook for another minute.
Remove the cooked mushrooms from the pan and set aside in a bowl. Now it’s time to pre-heat your oven and start in on the soufflé!
4. Ingredient prep
Before you start cooking, prep the following ingredients:
- separate your egg yolks from your egg whites;
- grate your smoked gouda cheese;
- measure out your flour and milk and have them ready.
5. What should your soufflé look like as you’re making it?
Sometimes, pictures are worth a thousand words. Actually, pictures are worth 2,000 words when you’re making a new recipe for the first time.
Below are some process photos so you know what the various components of your black trumpet mushroom soufflé should look like as you go.
First, you’re going to start making your soufflé base, which is butter, flour, milk, and egg yolks, added at just the right time as per the recipe card at the bottom of this article:
Second, you’re going to make the fluffy magic portion of your soufflé. This is the whipped egg whites + cream of tartar that give soufflé its characteristic fluffy, moist texture.
These fluffy ingredients are then combined with your soufflé base before being poured into the baking pan.
6. When is a soufflé done?
Temperature – Soufflés should be cooked at 375°F. Let your oven fully pre-heat and consider using an oven thermometer to make sure it’s at this temperature or the texture may not be right.
Placement – Put your soufflé in the bottom third of your oven, not the middle. This helps ensure the crown doesn’t burn before the soufflé is fully cooked.
Time – A large soufflé like this recipe will take about 35 minutes to cook. (We checked ours at 25 minutes and it definitely wasn’t done.) If you’re turning this recipe into multiple small soufflés, they’ll take 15-20 minutes to bake.
Visuals – Soufflés are intended to be eaten immediately out of the oven, while still warm. That’s because they will slowly fall after you remove them from the oven as the small interior air pockets cool and collapse. The interior of a finished soufflé will still have quite a bit of moisture in it, meaning poking a toothpick in won’t tell you whether it’s done.
If you’re in doubt, give your baking dish a wiggle and if your soufflé wobbles wildly it’s still probably not done. If it just jiggles but remains firmly grounded, it’s probably ready. Again, if you have the temperature and time right relative to the size of soufflé you’re cooking, much of the guesswork is removed.
Now to the recipe!
Recipe: Black trumpet mushroom & smoke gouda soufflé
Black trumpet mushroom & gouda soufflé
A delicious, savory soufflé made with foraged black trumpet mushrooms & smoked gouda cheese.
- 2.4 ounces black trumpet mushrooms, weighed before rinsing (or measure to 3 cups)
- 4 ounces freshly-grated smoked gouda (or measure 1 cup grated)
- 2/3 cups whole organic grass-fed milk
- 3 eggs, separated into yolks and whites
- 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese half for bottom of baking dish, half sprinkled on top of soufflé before baking
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter 1 tbsp for cooking mushrooms, 2 for making soufflé base
- 3 tbsp organic whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 tsp finely diced thyme leaves and/or flowers
- 1 clove garlic, finely diced
- 1/4 tsp Himalayan pink sea salt
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
Finely chop black trumpet mushrooms and cook in pan on medium low heat (4 on our stove) for about 10 minutes with two tablespoons of butter + thyme. Near end of cooking, add diced garlic and cook until garlic is slightly browned. Remove cooked ingredients to bowl and set aside.
Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Butter your baking dish and sprinkle half your grated parmesan cheese evenly over the bottom of the dish.
Melt 2 tbsp butter in small saucepan over medium low heat (3.5 on our stove). Once fully melted, add flour and whisk vigorously for about 1 minute. Then add milk and whisk vigorously for 1-2 minutes until mixture has thickened (see process photos in article). Remove from heat and immediately add salt + begin adding egg yolks - not all at once, but slowly over the course of about 30 seconds, whisking to incorporate as you go. You're not trying to cook the yolks. Transfer out of pan into larger mixing bowl. Then add the black trumpets and grated smoked gouda. Set aside.
Put egg whites + cream of tartar into bowl under electric mixer. Mix for 1 minute on medium speed until cream of tartar fully incorporated and the mixture has a frothy appearance. Then turn speed up to high and whip until smooth, creamy, and peaks form when you pull the beaters back (see photos in article), about 2-3 minutes.
Pour 1/3 of your egg white mix into the mushrooms mix then fold in with a spatula. Then another third and another third until done, folding in each time with a spatula.
Pour combined ingredients into baking dish, then sprinkle other half of parmesan cheese on top. Bake on LOWER THIRD of oven (very important) for 30-35 minutes until done. Serve immediately!
If you’re lucky enough to have a nice harvest of black trumpet mushrooms at your disposal, we hope this soufflé recipe provides you with as much ooh-ahh pleasure as it did us. Yes, our toddler loved it too!
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