Sweetbread and Chanterelle Tartlets

One of the things that first got me interested in exploring Eastern European cooking was the great potential for what high-end Hungarian cuisine could be. To help illustrate this, I adapted a recipe from Le Camélia in Bougival, France.

We start with a trio of Hungarian ingredients: wild mushrooms, offals and paprika. Of course one might object that chanterelles and sweetbreads are not that frequent in Hungarian cuisine, and I will answer that their scarcity doesn’t make them any less Hungarian. I know plenty of French people who never eat wild mushrooms or offals either!

Sweetbread and chanterelle tartlets
Yields 4 tartlets

8 oz sweetbreads (preferably from the nut)
8 oz milk
7 oz pâte brisée
5 oz cleaned small chanterelles (or larger chanterelles, halved or quartered)
1 1/2 oz butter
2 oz heavy cream
1 egg
ground pepper
ground nutmeg
Hungarian sweet paprika
1 tbsp chives, thinly chopped

  • Soak  the sweetbreads in the milk mixed with 3% salt and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.
  • Rinse and drain in a conical sieve. Place the sweetbreads in a pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, then boil for 2 minutes. Drain, rinse under cold water, and reserve.
  • Roll the pâte brisée and cut four 4 1/2″ discs. Line four tartlet molds with greased parchment paper. Transfer the discs to the molds and prick with a fork. Cook in a 375 F oven for 15 minutes, then remove the tartlets from their molds and reserve.
  • Season the chanterelles with salt and sauté in a hot pan with 1/3 of the butter until soft.
  • Whisk the heavy cream and egg with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Place half of the chanterelles on the tartlets and fill to the rim with the custard mixture. Bake in a 350 F oven for 15 minutes.
  • Remove the membranes from the sweetbreads, then cut into 8 pieces. Liberally season with paprika, and sauté in a hot pan with the rest of the butter over medium-high heat. Remove from heat when the butter turns brown.
  • Arrange the sweetbreads and remaining chanterelles on the tartlets, then bake for another 2 minutes. Sprinkle with chives and serve immediately.