“My neighbor to to ro totoro to to ro totoro
if you ever meet him, a wonderful happiness will
come to you!”
-Japanese Theme, My Neighbour Totoro
Such a cute and endearing movie, it’s one of the first Studio Ghibli movies I ever watched. This was before I even knew what Studio Ghibli was! Miyazaki always crafts such unique and magical worlds in his movies, and the characters are endearing an compelling. Even though Totoro himself can be a little scary at times, mostly he is mystifying and charming! This recipe captures the essence of forest and fall flavours, a little sweet and mostly savory. I’m sure Totoro would dig in heartily!
Totoro’s Forest Custards with Sweet Potato and Mushrooms
- 1 1/2 lbs Sweet Potato, about 3 Medium Sweet Potatoes
- 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
- 2 Cups Shiitake Mushrooms
- 1 Tbsp Butter or Coconut Oil
- 1/2 Cup Whole Milk or Coconut Milk
- 3 Large Eggs
- 1 Tbsp Maple Syrup (Optional)
- 1 tsp Dried Sage
- 1/2 tsp Ground Nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
- 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
- 1/2 Cup Raw Pecans
- 4 10 oz. Ramekins, or other Oven-safe Individual Portion-sized Bakeware
Preheat oven to 350. Peel and wash Sweet Potato, and cut into fairly uniform medium-sized cubes. Place the cubes in a large pot, and fill with water until they are just covered. Add the 1/2 tsp of Sea Salt to the water, and bring to a boil over high heat on the stove. Cook covered for 12 to 15 minutes, or until fork-tender. Once cooked, drain the water and allow to cool slightly.
While the Sweet Potatoes are cooking, wash and cut the Shiitake Mushrooms. Cut off any woody stems, and slice the caps. Don’t chop them. You want to have identifiable pieces of Mushroom in the final product. Over Medium heat, melt 1 Tbsp of Butter in a pan. Cook the Shiitakes until softened, and then set aside.
Using an immersion blender and a bowl, or using a food processor, blend the cooked Sweet Potatoes until they are fluffy. Beat in the Milk, Eggs and Maple Syrup until well combined. Then add the Salt, Nutmeg, Sage and Pepper. Using a spoon, mix in the cooked Shiitakes.
Butter your 4 Ramekins, and then divide the Sweet Potato mixture between them. Roughly chop the 1/2 Cup Pecans, and sprinkle evenly on top of the 4 Custards. To simplify transferring the dishes in and out of the oven, place them on a small metal tray. Pop them into the preheated oven, and then bake at 350 for 50 to 60 minutes, until the Nuts are toasty and the tops are golden. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.
This recipe may also work if you bake up the mixture in one large soufflé dish, but increase the baking time and keep an eye on it. You might have to cover the top with foil so that the Pecans don’t burn before it’s cooked through.
It’s a dish fit for a furry forest king!