This is an original cold first course which looks quite elaborate. The baskets are made with the feather-light pastry of the cheese straws and although they seem slightly fiddly to do the first time it is really worth it for their appearance and taste. You need 12 fairy cake or patty tins and a round, fluted pastry cutter approximately
Pastry made to the curried version of the cheese straws. Same quantity.
Roll out the pastry and cut out 12 rounds with the fluted cutter. Press them gently down into the ungreased fairy cake tins. Pre-heat oven to Gas 7 (425°F/220°C). Tear off small pieces of greaseproof paper or foil and put a piece on each uncooked pastry tart. Then weigh each down with some dried beans or rice and ‘bake blind’ in the top half of the oven for approximately 10 minutes. Take out paper and beans and put back in the oven for a further 3 minutes. Let cool.
Chop up the mushrooms quite small, stalks and all, and put into a mixing bowl. Mix the chopped fresh herbs with the mushrooms (reserving just a few herbs for final decoration) and add enough mayonnaise to envelop and bind together all the mushrooms. Fill the curried baskets (2 for each person) with the mixture and sprinkle a very few fresh herbs on the top of each one. If possible, delay making up the filling until shortly before the meal and then leave the filled baskets in a cool place, but not in the fridge, until you are ready to eat.
© 1976 Josceline Dimbleby. All rights reserved.