Panini Girl

My obsessions-Italy and Cooking

October 29, 2012


Woodland Torte

I still have savory pies on the brain. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what fillings to use for my future attempts and suddenly remembered this torte from my past. The recipe comes from a restaurant where I worked when I first moved to California. I loved just about everything on their menu, but this torte was right near the top of my list of favorites.

The original recipe calls for using puff pastry but I decided to use the same simple buttery crust that I filled my hand pies with. Make the dough ahead of time and then all you’ll have to do is prepare the filling. Of course you can find mushrooms at the grocery store any time of year, but there’s something about the combination of mushrooms with onion and potatoes that screams fall to me.

Woodland Torte (Adapted from Piret’s Cookbook)


2-1/2 cups unbleached flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2-1/2 sticks chilled butter, cut into pieces
4-5 tablespoons ice water

Mix flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Using your fingertips or a pastry blender work in the butter until the mixture looks like coarse bread crumbs. Slowly add the 4 tablespoons water, one tablespoon at a time and mix with a fork just until the dough comes together. If the dough is still too dry, add the other tablespoon. Bring the dough together and divide into two pieces, one being slightly larger than the other. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours.

When you are ready to assemble the torte roll the larger disk out and place in pan. Roll the smaller piece out and set aside until you have put the filling into the pan. (see below)


3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 pound crimini mushrooms, cleaned, stems removed, cleaned and sliced
1/2 cup dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in boiling water for about 15 minutes and then drained and chopped
1 portabello mushroom, cleaned, stemmed and sliced
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup dry sherry
3/4 cup heavy cream, warmed slightly
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
salt and freshly ground pepper
5 yukon gold potatoes, sliced 1/4″ thick
1 egg, beaten

Melt the butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat and cook the onions and mushrooms until all the liquid as evaporated. Stir in the flour and then add the sherry and the warmed cream, blending them thoroughly and simmer the mixture gently for about 8 minutes or until it is fairly thick. Season mixture with parsley, salt and pepper and set it aside to cool completely.

Line a 9″ or 10″ springform pan with larger piece of dough. Press to fit into pan. Arrange 1/3 of the potato slices over bottom in a single layer of concentric circles. Spoon 1/2 of the mushroom mixture over the potatoes. Cover the mixture with 1/2 of the remaining potatoes, the remainder of the mushroom mixture and finally ending with the rest of the potatoes. Place the smaller piece of dough on top of the potatoes and fold edges of dough over and crimp to seal closed.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Brush the beaten egg over the top of the pie and then cut a few slash marks on the top to let the steam escape. Bake the torte for about 50 minutes or until it is golden brown. Remove from oven and let sit on rack for about 15 minutes. Unmold springform and cut into wedges to serve. Serves:8-10

*** if you have the budget for chanterelles or morel mushrooms, by all means use them (about 4 oz.)

It might be fall now, but it’s not too soon to sign up for Spring In Tuscany-Cook With Panini Girl in Lucca

11 thoughts on “Woodland Torte

  1. The name of this post is gorgeous all by itself Janie. You’re an autumn girl!

  2. Yummmmm! I miss Piret’s!!

  3. I love potatoes & mushrooms – This is calling my name!

  4. This sounds like a wonderful fall dish. Earthy mushrooms, potatoes and cream…yum.

  5. Pingback: Tourte Au Chou « Panini Girl

  6. The restaurant must have been Pirets in Costa Mesa! This was the best thing on the menu! I have their recipe book! I’m not keen on making puff pastry again so I will try your pie dough. So glad to come across your recipe. Making it for Thanksgiving instead of turkey!
    Can’t wait!

  7. Valerie-yes it was Pirets! I worked at the one in Encinitas but occasionally was at the South Coast Plaza location. The entire menu was wonderful-they were really ahead of their time in the local food scene here in San Diego. Hope you do make it! Happy Thanksgiving!

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