Who says you have to wait until Thanksgiving to frantically run around grocery shopping and cooking? Why not do that two weeks prior to the holiday?
The plan was for everyone to gather at my house at 2PM. Somehow, I had decided to have a relaxing morning in the house. I slowly sipped my coffee, read the newspaper, and browsed the internet. Then at noon I realized I had not showered, cleaned the house, or bought the groceries I needed for my test recipes. If this is any indication of how I will approach a much more extensive Thanksgiving menu, then I am in trouble.
All worries aside, I had planned to test an appetizer and a dessert during our Thanksgiving test run.
You may have noticed my affinity for tarts, so it should come as no surprise that I decided to prepare a wild mushroom tart as the appetizer and a pear tart for the dessert. But, you'll have to wait to hear about the pear tart until I have perfected it this weekend.
I love mushrooms, and the wild mushroom tart is a very vocal celebration of their earthy taste. They are not hidden amongst other ingredients; they are not simply an enhancement to a dish. No, no. They are the main event of this delicious tart.
The filling is a saute of mushrooms in butter, shallots, a little garlic, cognac, and fresh herbs. A small amount of custard is poured atop the mushrooms inside an herbed olive oil crust.
The resulting tart is almost pure mushroom, with just enough custard to help the filling set nicely. Sprinkled with a little gruyere cheese and set atop a flaky crust, it simply melts in the mouth.
If you want to dress it up a little, serve it with a green salad and some reduced balsamic vinegar on top. Lucky me, I snatched up some pomegranate balsamic glaze for this very purpose.
Wild Mushroom Tart
Adapted from Bon Apetit Magazine, original recipe at Epicurious
- 1 1/2 Cup all-purpose flour
- dash of garlic powder (optional)
- 1/3 Cup olive oil (preferably one with depth of flavor, like a Spanish olive oil)
- 1/3 Cup ice-cold water
- 1 tsp red wine vinegar
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 teaspoons of fresh herbs (rosemary or thyme), minced
Combine the Ingredients
In a food processor, pulse the dry ingredients (flour, salt, and garlic powder). Stream the olive oil in and continue to pulse. Next, add the ice water and vinegar until well combined. Finally, add the rosemary leaves.
Shape the dough
Remove the dough from the food processor and shape into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and shape into a 1/2 inch thick disk. The plastic wrap will assist you in shaping a smooth disk (use the tension of the plastic wrap to help smooth the dough). Once the disk is the right size, ensure that it is well wrapped and allow to rest in the fridge for at least one hour.
Make the filling
- 1 package of dried porcini mushrooms
- 6 TB unsalted butter
- 6 ounces of crimini mushrooms, sliced
- 6 ounces of assorted wild mushrooms, sliced
- 2 shallots, minced
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 3 TB Cognac or brandy
- 2 TB chopped fresh herbs (rosemary or thyme)
- 3/4 Cup heavy cream
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 large egg
- 2/3 Cup grated Gruyere cheese
- salt and pepper, to taste
Place the porcini mushrooms in a bowl and cover with hot water. Allow to hydrate for 30 minutes, then remove porcini using slotted spoon. Slice. Reserve porcini liquid.
Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the butter to the pan; add porcinis, criminis, and other mushrooms. Season with salt. Saute until the mushrooms are golden brown. Add the shallots and garlic to the pan; saute for 1-2 more minutes. Add the cognac and reserved porcini liquid. Simmer until the majority of the liquid has cooked off or absorbed into the mushrooms. Remove from heat and stir herbs into mixture. Let the mixture come to room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 375 F.
Whisk together cream, eggs, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
Assemble the tart
Remove the tart dough from the refrigerator and roll out into tart pan. Line the dough with parchment and fill with pastry weights or beans. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until crust is beginning to turn golden. Remove from the oven. Remove the parchment and pastry weights. Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork. Return the crust to the oven and allow to bake for 5 more minutes (this will allow the bottom of the crust to bake).
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes.
Sprinkle half of the gruyere on the bottom of the crust. Cover with the mushroom mixture. Pour the custard mixture evenly over the mushrooms, then sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, or until the custard is set.
Delicious. Now, if I can only perfect that pear tart before Thanksgiving.