Wild Mushroom “Chawanmushi”

“This dish came about after the owner of Esty Street, Kim Costagliola, attended a dinner party at which chef David Bouley made a mushroom flan with miso and truffles,” says chef Adam R. Weiss of Esty Street Restaurant in Park Ridge. “This dish inspired me to create an appetizer based around the idea of a savory flan called chawanmushi."

Photo by Laura Moss.

“Chawanmushi classically is a Japanese style flan made from a stock or broth and thickened using eggs to create a molded custard,” Weiss continues. “What I did was combine a classic royal custard using heavy cream instead of stock with wild mushrooms and miso dashi . The chawanmushi blends a rich mushroom infused flan with the slight smokiness of the mushroom dashi broth scented with bonito. My style is to create eclectic dishes using influences from America, Asia and Europe to combine in an American melting pot.

4 appetizer portions


1 pound mixed mushrooms, such as portabello, trumpet, shiitake, oyster
½ cup olive oil
Kosher salt to taste
1.    Make sure to clean all mushrooms to remove any soil or other particles, Cut into similar size: no bigger than ½ inch.
2.    In a saute pan, heat the oil to the smoking point. Add the mushrooms and saute until golden brown. Season to taste with Kosher Salt. Cool.
3.    Reserve half of the mushrooms for the flans and the rest for garnish.


1 cup heavy cream
1 ½ teaspoons soy sauce
1  ½ teaspoons white miso paste
2 eggs
Kosher salt to taste
1.    Bring the heavy cream, soy sauce, and white miso paste in a small pot to a boil. Set aside.
2.    Whisk the eggs in a mixing bowl. Gradually add the hot cream mixture to the eggs, beating constantly.
3.    Strain through a sieve to remove any shells or scrambled egg.
4.    Grease 4 glass or metal custard cups and set inside a baking dish.
5.    Fill the custard cups with one tablespoon of sautéed wild mushrooms,
6.    Pour the custard base over the mushrooms, filling about two-thirds the way up.
7.    Place inside a 325 degree oven. Pour hot water inside the baking dish to create a water bath for the custards to gently cook.
8.    Close the oven and cook about 30 to 45 minutes or until the flans pull away from the edge and browned. Cool in the water bath for 30 minutes.
9.    Remove and cover and refrigerate. The custards can be made three days ahead.


2 quarts broth
½  pound mushroom stems or trimmings left from the sautéed mushrooms
2 quarts cold water
½ cup bonito flakes: dried fish flakes: one of the ingredients used in miso soup:  available at specialty markets
½ piece kombu seaweed: available at specialty markets
Kosher salt to taste
1.    Bring the mushroom stems and water to a boil.
2.    Reduce to a simmer. Simmer for two hours.
3.    Finish with bonito flakes and kombu seaweed and let steep for 30 minutes.
4.    Strain through a sieve.  Season to taste with Kosher salt.
5.    Refrigerate.


1 cup scallions, finely diced
1 cup edamame, no pods, defrosted

1.    Heat the mushroom custards carefully in the oven just to heat through.
2.    Bring the dashi broth to a simmer.
3.    Turn out the mushroom flans into soup bowls by running along the edge with a knife if necessary.
4.    Garnish the bowls with warmed sautéed wild mushrooms, fine dice scallions, and edamame.
5.    Pour the mushroom dashi broth (from a teapot) into the bowls not touching the flans as they get damaged as they are slightly delicate.
6.    Serve immediately with Asian soup spoons if desired.

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