Saffron milk cap (Lactarius deliciosus) tarts recipe

The saffron milk cap (Lactarius deliciosus) recipe for puff pastry tarts is something you’ll want to make every autumn.

The more I know about Lactarius deliciosus, the more I am sure they are one of the most underrated mushrooms in the world.

There was not one time when I’d be looking for mushrooms and that I’d not bring home some of these orange-colored beauties. These mushrooms have been eaten in many ways, but making them with puff pastry will paint your autumn days with a special flavor.

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lactarius deliciosus

The not-so-well-known facts about Lactarius deliciosus

The mushroom was first described in 1753 by Carl Linnaeus, at the time called Agaricus deliciosus. It was evidenced as Lactarius deliciosus in 1821 by a British mycologist Samuel Frederick Gray.  It definitely points out the orange milk and the deliciousness of the little mushroom that was very obviously recognized even centuries ago.

Foraging of Saffron milk caps was well-present throughout history, it’s not only that the Spanish and Portuguese fried it in their pans, and that the Slavs were salting their saffron milk caps, which were sometimes eaten raw. Lactarius deliciosus, besides being famous in various recipes, can even be seen on the oldest known mushroom fresco from the 1st century in the ancient town of Herculaneum.

Some sources mention that the saffron milk cap’s complex of minerals and vitamins is so balanced, that only two mushrooms eaten per week will restore the levels of these in your body.

And things don’t end there. Lactarius deliciosus seems to be a quite researched mushroom even today. The Chinese have reported that saffron milk caps are showing antitumor, antioxidant, and anti-hyperglycemic activities, they shined as a potential anti-cancer agent in Poland and they even proved themselves as anti-aging mushrooms.

lactarius deliciosus saffron milkcap mushrooms

Why you’ll like this recipe

  • It’s super easy to find Lactarius deliciosus mushrooms; by that, I mean lots of them. If you’re out of ideas about what to do with them, this can be a tasty alternative to the more complicated recipes.
  • You won’t believe how super easy and super fast is to prepare this mushroom snack. And it’s done with only a few ingredients.
  • Sometimes I think it’s a pity to spoil the beautiful gifts of nature with something like puff pastry. But the truth is, these crispy tarts smell so tempting and taste so delightful that they will make you forget about all those healthy lifestyle principles in a second.
  • Puff pastry tarts will serve as a great appetizer. With blanched and frozen saffron milk caps, they can easily replace a much longer process of making a pizza with mushrooms, whenever you need a quick and unconventional snack on the table.

If you’re a forager, you may even start calling your Lactarius deliciosus recipe “puffypastrius deliciosus”.

Ingredients and substitutions

lactarius deliciosus recipe ingredients

🧈 PUFF PASTRY – I used premade puff pastry sheet in this recipe. And I totally agree that homemade puff pastry would fit better in this recipe. However, if there’s not much time, buying puff pastry is ok too. Make sure that you store it in the refrigerator before you make your delicious tarts. Puff pastry contains a lot of butter and it won’t rise and puff if it doesn’t travel to the oven chilled.

A hint for people with gluten intolerance – replace the puff pastry with potato slices.

πŸ„ SAFFRON MILK CAPS (Lactarius deliciosus) – The recipe definitely works best if using freshly harvested mushrooms. Do not worry about the green color the mushrooms are showing after picking them, they are completely edible and it won’t be seen when they are fried and baked.

If you are buying Lactarius deliciosus on the market, be careful to buy only healthy and fresh mushrooms.

πŸ§€ CHEESE – The cheese I used in the recipe was an ordinary piece of gouda cheese from the supermarket. You can replace it with any cheese that goes well with garlic, like provolone or even emmental. Use what you got. Or maybe you want to get creative and try out your delicious Lactarius with goat cheese or brie.

πŸ§€ MOZZARELLA – a few pieces of mozzarella cheese will add some sweetness and make your mushroom bites even tastier.

πŸ₯› SOUR CREAM – you need just a few small teaspoons of sour cream. In case you don’t have it at home, you can easily skip it, saffron milk cap puff pastry tarts will still taste great even without it.

πŸ§„ GARLIC – you will fry the garlic together with the mushrooms. Chop your garlic cloves the way you prefer them to be sauteed together with the mushrooms. A perfect addition to this recipe would be a few teaspoons of wild garlic pesto.

πŸ›’οΈ OLIVE OIL – Definitely you’ll see the best results with cold-pressed organic olive oil that you will use for frying the mushrooms and garlic.

πŸ§‚ SEASONING – I used only salt and black pepper in this recipe because I didn’t want to override the taste of the milk cap mushrooms. However, a spoonful of chives might work with the Lactarius deliciosus.

saffron milk cap (lactarius deliciosus) puff pastry tarts recipe

Equipment you’ll need

a baking sheet

parchment paper

a pizza cutter wheel

Lactarius deliciosus(saffron milk cap) appetizer recipe

STEP 1: Preheat the oven to 400F/180C.


STEP 2: Slice the mushrooms into smaller pieces and cut or crush the garlic. We often use a cheap $3 garlic crusher that proved itself to be the simplest and the easiest solution for an incurable garlic addict. You won’t believe it, but this small tool still works after a year of use.

STEP 3: Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and when hot, add the sliced saffron milk caps. At the same time add the garlic and a pinch of salt to the pan as well. Saute and stir all the way till the mushrooms shrink and start looking brown.

When done, add the black pepper and any additional seasoning you choose.

You don’t need to add any water because milk caps while sweating will excrete enough water themselves. Continue to cook until the liquid will be gone entirely, which should happen in about 10 minutes.


STEP 4: Shred the cheese and split the mozzarella into small pieces by hand.

STEP 5: Cut the puff pastry into about 10 smaller square pieces, depending on how big you wish your saffron milk caps tarts to be.

STEP 6: With a small, sharp knife cut the edges of the tarts about 1 cm wide, like making a frame. Make sure you don’t cut your puff pastry all the way through, but just enough that you cut a line that will enable the frame will rise and puff, while the topped-up ingredients will weigh the dough down in the middle.

The cheese might still spread out of the frame when baking, but don’t worry, your saffron milk cap tarts will still taste heavenly.

Place the tarts on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.

STEP 7: Top up the middle of the tarts with cheese and mozzarella pieces.

Lastly, add the saffron milk caps with garlic and a few small drops of sour cream on top.


STEP 8: Bake in the oven at 365F/180C for about 20 minutes until the cheese melts and saffron milk caps start getting that medium-rare brown color. When baked, the puff pastry will rise and look puffy and golden on the edges.

Lactarius deliciosus recipe notes

  • Use only fresh, healthy-looking, and quality saffron milk caps. If you are picking the mushrooms yourself, make sure they get to the cooking pan as quickly as possible.
  • When harvesting saffron milk caps prefer cutting the mushrooms over pulling them out.
  • Handle the freshly collected Lactarius deliciousus gently as possible and with great care. Although they are undoubtedly edible, the orange milk on the mushroom’s surface will turn green when bruised.
  • Do not store the unused Lactarius delicious mushrooms in the fridge for more than a day.
  • When you’ll prepare saffron milk cap tarts with premade puff pastry, store the puff pastry sheets in the refrigerator and chill it before baking them in the oven.
  • If you are using frozen puff pastry, it’s best to thaw it overnight in the refrigerator.
  • The mushrooms should not contain water and should be cooled to at least room temperature before topping up the tarts.

Storage and reheating

Cook the fresh mushrooms as soon as possible, preferably right after you bring them home. If you can’t, store them in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours and not a minute longer.

Saffron milk caps can be stored dried or blanched and frozen. They will last in the freezer for up to 3 months. You can freeze and thaw the mushrooms only once and we recommend thawing them in the fridge or directly in the pan,

You can freeze your saffron milk cap tarts prepared in advance, considering that you’ve topped them with fried mushrooms. When freezing them, place them on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. When frozen and solid, repack them in an airtight container and keep them in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw them in the refrigerator overnight and from there bake them directly in a preheated oven.

It’s best to serve your freshly baked saffron milk cap puff pastry tarts while still hot.

However, make sure you use them the same day and do not reheat them. The proteins in the mushrooms start breaking down right after you slice them or when leaving them at room temperature.

If you store cooked mushrooms in the refrigerator for not more than 24 hours, your stomach will probably still be ok. But preceding that time, or when reheating them at high temperatures, you are at risk of digestive problems that may lead to stomach upset, diarrhea, or even poisoning.

Lactarius deliciosus recipe


How to clean saffron milk caps?

When cooking saffron milk caps, you can wash the needles and pieces of leaves with cold water. According to some Eastern European and Russian sources, when raw Lactarius delicious mushrooms are pickled by an ancient recipe, they are only cleaned with a clean dry cloth. The reason behind this is lactarioviolin, a compound with antibacterial properties found in the mushroom.

Can you eat Lactarius deliciosus raw?

As mentioned in Eastern European recipe books, the proteins and amino acids found in saffron milk caps are more easily digestible compared to the proteins in other mushrooms. In the Russian Vyatka, they have attained an ancient tradition of dry pickling raw saffron milk caps.

Can I make these puff pastry tarts with other mushrooms?

Yes, just adjust the seasoning and the type of cheese you are using to the taste of the mushroom. Hint – truffle cream can be a very tasty substitution.

Other recipes you might like

Breaded saffron milk caps

Pizza with porcini mushrooms

Creamy mushroom rice with porcini

Tagliatelle ai funghi porcini

Simple phyllo pastry cabbage pie

Fruit tarts with puff pastry

Puff pastry cinnamon pinwheels

Saffron milk cap (lactarius deliciosus) puff pastry tarts

Easy made saffron milk cap puff pastry appetizer that will charm even the most demanding forager
Servings 4
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 29 minutes


  • 10 saffron milk caps
  • 1 puff pastry sheet
  • 2 cups shredded cheese of your choice
  • 1 cup pieces of mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 3 tbsp sour cream
  • salt, black pepper


  • Preheat the oven to 400F/180C.
  • Slice the saffron milk caps into smaller pieces and crush the garlic.
  • Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and add the mushrooms, garlic and a pinch of salt.
  • Saute for ten minutes, until the mushrooms look brown and the sauce is gone. Set aside.
  • Shred the cheese and split the mozzarella into small pieces by hand.
  • Using a pizza wheel cutter, cut the chilled puff pastry sheet into 10 squares or more, depending on the size of tarts you wish.
  • Place the square tarts on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.
  • With a small, sharp knife cut the edges of the tarts, like forming a 1 cm wide frame. Do not cut all the way trough the pastry.
  • Top the middle part of the tarts with shredded cheese and add the pieces of mozzarella On top of the cheese place the saffron milk caps with garlic.
  • On every tart add a few drops of sour cream and black pepper.
  • Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes at 400F/180C until the cheese melts and gets a golden brown colour. The edges of the tarts should look puffy and medium-rare.
  • Enjoy your lactarius deliciosus tarts while still hot right from the oven πŸ™‚


πŸ‘©β€πŸ³ For a gluten-free version use prebaked sliced potatoes instead of puff pastry.
πŸ‘©β€πŸ³ Use only fresh, preferably young and healthy-looking saffron milk caps. If you picked them up yourself, use them for the recipe as quickly as possible.Β 
πŸ‘©β€πŸ³ Handle the collected Lactarius deliciosus very gently and with great care. The mushroom, when bruised will start turning green.Β Β 
πŸ‘©β€πŸ³ If you can’t use the saffron milk caps right away, store them in the refrigerator, but only for max. of 24 hours.Β 
πŸ‘©β€πŸ³Β Make sure the puff pastry sheets are fridge-chilled before baking. If you are using frozen puff pastry sheets thaw them overnight in the refrigerator.Β 
πŸ‘©β€πŸ³Β Do not add any water when preparing saffron milk caps with garlic.Β 
πŸ‘©β€πŸ³Β If you cut the edges of the tarts, the middle part, topped with cheese and mushrooms will be pressed down by itself, while the edges will become raised and puffy.Β 
πŸ‘©β€πŸ³ Serve freshly baked tarts while still hot, if needed, store them in the refrigerator and use them the same day. Do not reheat them.Β 
πŸ‘©β€πŸ³ You can freeze and thaw blanched or sauteed saffron milk caps only once. Do not freeze raw mushrooms.Β 
Calories: 245kcal
Cost: $4
Course: Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine: East Euroean, european
Keyword: appetizer, Lactarius deliciosus, puff pastry


Calories: 245kcal

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