Crispy and flaky puff pastry and rich balsamic vinegar are the base for this wild mushroom goat cheese pizza. A simple appetizer that is perfect for casual winter entertaining. The crust is light and flaky, pairing nicely with the rich fall flavours of the mushrooms and goat cheese. Serve in small slices.
Puff pastry makes everything feel a little bit more formal and fancy. Don't ya think? Even pizza becomes elegant and guest-worthy.
When I want a quick, kinda fancy dish to impress a few friends on a Friday night, or maybe just impress my husband, I reach for a package of frozen puff pastry dough. It's easy. And it always feels like a treat.
TIP: Puff pastry is always impressive. It's great to have on hand for easy entertaining. So keep some in your freezer, especially during the holiday season. This puff pastry pizza would be just perfect on the night you are decorating the tree.
You might also want to try these little puff pastry cheese bites with sundried tomato another easy appetizer using puff pastry.
How to use puff pastry
You will find Puff Pastry in the freezer section at most grocery stores. Right next to the frozen pie shells. I usually find it in rolled sheets, two per box. I've also seen other brands that come in folded sheets.
Tip: Keep a box of puff pastry in your freezer for emergency entertaining!
Keep puff pastry frozen until you are planning to use it. Typically you will find two sheets in a box. Of course, check the brand you buy. You will need one sheet for this recipe.
How to thaw puff pastry
Since I rarely plan ahead I usually will thaw puff pastry on the counter at room temperature.
I find the rolled variety takes a little bit longer to thaw than the folded variety. But not much. So I wouldn't worry about this too much.
Thawing puff pastry at room temperature
To thaw puff pastry at room temperature remove the sheet you need from the box and the plastic wrap it comes in and place it on a clean baking sheet. Set it on the counter. You might want to throw a clean tea towel over it. Let the puff pastry sit for about 40 minutes.
I recently discovered this thawing tray at Amazon. It definitely helps thaw anything a little bit faster.
How quickly the puff pastry thaws will depend on the temperature of your kitchen. So keep this in mind. It will thaw much faster in a warm kitchen on a summer day.
After about 40 minutes, unroll the puff pastry onto your work surface, or right onto a baking sheet for this recipe.
If you find you are forcing it to unfold or unroll, it might be not thawed enough and it will crack and tear. If this is the case, just walk away for a few minutes then come back to it. Puff pastry takes a little bit of patience.
If you let it get too warm, it will be too soft to handle. You will never want to work with puff pastry again. And it will not rise as you want it too, so the final results will be disappointing. Even once thawed, puff pastry should still be cold and a bit stiff to handle.
Thawing puff pastry in the refrigerator
If you can manage to plan ahead just a little bit, thaw the puff pastry in the refrigerator. Overnight is fine, or place it in the fridge first thing in the morning for this pizza in the evening.
If you have used the refrigerator to thaw your puff pastry, take it out of the fridge about 15 minutes before you want to unroll it and work with it.
Again only thaw what you will need. Once thawed puff pastry only lasts a few days in the refrigerator. So keep it frozen until you need it.
How to make wild mushroom pizza
Start with the mushrooms. Saute a combination of mushrooms. Cremini are inexpensive and are a good place to start. I like to use about half cremini mushrooms and then a mix of other wild mushrooms to add complexity of flavours.
Choosing wild mushrooms:
The type of wild mushrooms you use will depend on what is available and looks good. I like oyster mushrooms and shitakes. For this pizza, I wouldn't bother with portobellos they will over power the others. If you can find some morels or porcini - go for it! Those tiny little enoki work as well, this variety is rather delicate, so add them towards the end of cooking.
The point is -- when it comes to fresh mushrooms, choose what you can get your hands on so don't frett about getting specific kinds. Fresh is best. And if all you can get is white button mushrooms, this pizza will still be great. I promise!
Do not use dried mushrooms in this recipe.
Preparing the mushrooms:
Saute the mushrooms in a little bit of olive oil until wilted and slightly brown. About 10 minutes. While they saute I sprinkle them with just a bit of salt to help with the process. I also add a sprig of rosemary. Rosemary adds a nice woodsy flavour and scent to the mushrooms. Perfect for fall or winter appetizer.
Just when the mushrooms are done add a splash or worchestershire sauce (or soy sauce). Worchestershire adds more unami to the mushrooms, deepening their flavours.
Saute for just a minute more until all the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat and allow to cool while you prep the rest of your ingredients.
To assemble the puff pastry pizza
Spread the sauteed mushrooms on top of the pastry, leaving about ½ inch all the way around the edge so you get a nice crispy crust.
Sprinkle crumbled goat cheese and shredded cheese as well. I love red onions on this pizza, I just throw a few thin slices over the top. Don't forget a few rosemary leaves! Rosemary adds such a nice woodsy aroma.
Bake in a 425 oven for 12-15 minutes. Leave it cool for a few minutes before you slice into it.
Drizzle with balsamic vinegar just before serving. Use your best, thick, aged balsamic vinegar for this. The balsamic is essential to add some zip and acid to an otherwise very rich dish.
Serve & enjoy
Goat Cheese and Wild Mushroom Pizza
- 1 sheet puff pastry prepared and frozen
- 2 cups chopped mixed mushrooms creamini, oyster or other wild mushrooms, any kind
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire or soy sauce
- salt and pepper
- 4 oz goat cheese
- 2 oz grated sharp cheese, like aged white cheddar
- 1 -2 tablespoon aged balsamic vineager for drizzeling on top of pizza before serving
- Preheat oven to 425 and line a baking tray with parchment paper or Silpat silicone baking sheet sheet.
- Heat oil in a 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and saute until browned, about 8-10 minutes. Sprinkle with salt partway through cooking. Once mushrooms are fully cooked, add Worcestershire sauce (or soy sauce) and continue to saute until liquid completely evaporates. Remove heat and set aside.
- Unroll puff pastry onto prepared baking tray. Gently push into a rectangle. Prick pastry with the tines of a fork all over. This will prevent the pastry from puffing too much underneath the filling. Just focus on the center of the pastry, leave about an inch all the way around the edge untouched.
- Crumble goat cheese all over top of the pastry, again leaving about 1 inch around the edge empty. Then layer sauteed mushrooms and sliced red onions. Sprinkled grated old cheddar on top. Toss on a couple of fresh leaves of rosemary. Bake in the hot, 425 oven for 12-15 minutes. The pastry will be golden brown and crispy around the edges. Check the bottom, it shouid be nicely browned as well. You don't want to floppy pizza.
- Allow to cool slightly before serving. Drizzle with thick rich balsamic vinegar and cut into wedges to serve.