Serves 4: Total prep & cook time 1 hour 10 minutes
2 Cloves Garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2 Sprigs Thyme leaves
400g Mixed Mushrooms
1 Small Celeriac
100ml Single Cream
Salt & Freshly Ground Pepper
1/ Heat the oven to 220c/fan 200c/gas 7. Don’t prepare the celeriac until you want to use it as it will discolour fast. Mix the garlic with the thyme leaves and leave until needed.
2/ In a frying pan heat a small knob of butter and fry the mushrooms hard. At first they will be swimming in their own juices and it is most important that this be banished from the pan so keep on frying them until they become coloured and the liquid is gone. At this point, throw in the chopped garlic, salt to taste and the thyme, and stir through the mushrooms, keeping on the heat for another minute or so. Put to one side.
3/ Generously butter a separate non-stick and ovenproof frying pan, about 15cm in width, and season with a little salt and pepper.
4/ Take the celeriac and cut away the skin. You will have to cut a little deeper than with other roots as the outside of this vegetable tends to be woody and fibrous. Spilt the celeriac in two – you may find a little hollow in the middle. Don’t panic, this is perfectly natural. On a mandolin, or with a strong and sharp knife, slice each half of your celeriac crossways into thin slivers.
5/ Using half of them, one by one arrange them in an overlapping star shape around the bottom of the pan. Remember to cover the hole that will be left in the middle. Obstinate celeriac slices might not bend perfectly round the side of the pan at first but, never fear, after the mushrooms have been added, they will do what they are told. Flop in your mushrooms and arrange them in the centre. Pour over the cream. Arrange the rest of the celeriac slices over the top and dot with the remaining butter.
6/ Turn the hob to full and put the pan on the heat. Wait until you hear some cooking sounds then leave the pan there for about 3 minutes. This ensures that what will be the top of the turned-out dish will be well browned. Put an oven-proof plate that fits inside the edge of the pan over the top of your torte before cooking in the oven for 20 minutes. When cooked a skewer will push easily through the celeriac.
7/ Remove the plate from the top and, with a spatula, run the tip round the inside of the pan to help the contents release easily when the dish is turned out. So now turn it out. If it doesn’t go according to plan, don’t worry, it will taste just as delicious.