Thursday, September 30, 2010

Mushroom Tart

I went to a mushroom festival (maybe you heard) and they were selling their prize winning mushrooms and entries, I couldn't resist buying a bunch.  With luck, I secured five varieties and I only got a small container of shitakes because they were out. The positive side of being out of shitakes is that I tried other mushrooms I might not have if I had been able to buy more shitakes.  Criminis, shitakes, portebellos, yellow oysters, gray oysters and maitakes were what I left with.
Clockwise from top left:  Maitakes, Shitakes, Yellow oyster, Gray oyster

I was kinda sure I was going to make a tart with these mushrooms.  I have been enamored with tarts this year, especially savory ones.  Next step was to think of the flavors that mushrooms go well with, especially the ones that make the mushrooms really stand out.  These were fresh mushrooms so they deserved the top spot.  Right?!

Here are the flavors that ran through my head that might be good in a mushroom tart:
  • sweet butter (who can deny this one)
  • garlic (a personal favorite)
  • thyme (I just happen to have some fresh on the deck)
  • truffles (this would not normally run through my head because who can afford them, but a friend left some truffle salt at my house, how convenient and downright lucky!)
  • shallots (or caramelized onions)
  • goat cheese (because I have some, but I think something like gruyere or jarlsberg that has a buttery, nutty flavor would be good, but in my opinion cheese is optional)
Now the tart dough.  I have puff pastry in the freezer and I am thinking that 15 minutes or so on the counter will suffice (like frozen pie dough) so you can imagine my surprise when I pulled it out and actually read the instructions.  24 hours in the fridge before use.  So I improvised, how about 1 minute on defrost in the microwave (this was not alternative instructions on the package so I am sure this is a total no-no because of the uneven temperature of the dough, but that did not stop me) and 15 minutes on the counter.  I want the tart that night so I don't have much choice, do I?  I go ahead and defrost even though I know better.  Folks, this is the real world in a real kitchen.

While the pastry dough was sitting on the counter, I chopped the mushrooms.  There were a ton of them, at least that is what I thought at the time.  I chopped and sliced yellow oysters, destemmed shitakes and chopped maitakes.  I sauteed them in equal parts butter and olive oil (1 tablespoon each).  I try to brown my mushrooms a little for that delicious charred flavor, so I give them a good stir at first to distribute the fat and then I didn't stir them a lot while I am cooking them.  I use a medium high heat and it probably took 10 minutes total for sauteing.  Midway through, add 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme  (or substitute 1 teaspoon dried thyme) and 2 large thinly sliced shallots.  Add about a scant teaspoon of salt and some fresh black pepper after the mushrooms have browned a bit.  One or two minutes before you turn the heat off, add a couple of cloves of chopped garlic or however much you would like.  Remember mushrooms really absorb flavors.  Set the mushrooms aside to cool.  (Note:  I thought I had tons of mushrooms but after sauteeing the oysters, shitakes and maitakes, I realized I needed some more to fill the tart I had prepared.  So I sauteed some criminis to add to the cooling mushrooms.)

I used Pepperidge Farm puff pastry and I used both sheets cutting thin strips off of one end to make an edge all the way around the perimeter.  The bottom of the tart was brushed lightly with Dijon mustard.   Note:  No laughing at my crooked tart, oh go ahead and laugh, I hear laughing is good for you and might even extend your life!  I am not a perfectionist.  Hungry people are waiting.  Anyway, I like rustic.
It is important to try and keep the puff pastry dough cold until it is baked. I could have done a better job of chilling but I was sort of in a hurry.  Like I said, hungry people and all.

Spread out the cooled mushrooms evenly between the edging and sprinkle with as much cheese as you would like.  I am usually light on the cheese and I had goat cheese so that is what I used, probably about 2 ounces.  For a lovely browned and crispy edge, brush with egg yolk mixed with a teaspoon of water (I skipped this step because I simply didn't think of it.  I do know better, but remember those hungry folks.)

Bake in a preheated oven to 400 degrees for about 25 to 30  minutes until the edges are golden brown and crisp.  Start checking the tart after 20 minutes because all oven are not equal.  Mine was at 25 minutes but could have gone a minute or two more and been a bit more crispy.
We ate it all in one night.  My daughter, who claims to not like mushrooms, really liked it.  It was simple and earthy and fresh.  The mushrooms had fabulous flavor and texture.  Fresh is usually the best ingredient of any dish, don't you think?

I love recipes like this.  First, there was no recipe except what is going on in my crazy head.  I used ingredients I had on hand.  I kept it simple and focused on the flavor of the mushrooms and tried to add flavorings that complimented the mushrooms.  And finally, everyone enjoyed it and there weren't even crumbs left.  What more can you ask for?

Why the X in the middle of the tart?  Because I had a tiny strip left over and that is where my creative juices led me.  Really there was not much thought put into it, I just didn't want to throw it away.

Mushroom Tart
Print Recipe

1 box of puff pastry
Dijon mustard
2 to 3 lbs of mixed mushrooms
1 tablespoon of sweet butter
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1/3 cup of thinly sliced shallots
1 tablespoon of fresh thyme (substitute 1 teaspoon of dried thyme)
1/2 teaspoon of salt
fresh ground pepper to taste
2 oz or more of goat cheese, Gruyere or Jarlsberg cheese, (optional)
1/2 teaspoon truffle salt that your lovely neighbor left at your house (optional)
1 egg yolk plus 1 teaspoon of water, mixed

Thaw the puff pastry per instructions on the package and for the Pepperidge Farm puff pastry that is to place in the refrigerator over night.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Chop or slice the mushrooms.  If you are using shitakes, remove the stem before slicing.  Place butter and oil into a large saute pan (I used non stick) and place on medium high heat.  Add mushrooms and stir to coat with oil/butter.  Saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, allowing the mushrooms to brown some before stirring.  Add shallots and thyme and sautee for three minutes and then add the garlic, salt and pepper and saute for about 2 more minutes. If you are not using a truffle salt or finishing salt, taste the mushrooms for salt and adjust according to taste. Set aside to cool.

Take out the thawed puff pastry and a sheet pan (I used a cookie sheet pan without sides).  Place one square of the pastry dough on the pan and then the other next to it slightly overlapping.  Slice enough thin strips from the end of the second square to cover the perimeter of the dough so to create a nice edge. Lightly press the seam together where the pastry dough joins.  Lightly brush the bottom of the tart with the Dijon mustard.

Place the cooled sauteed mushrooms into the center of the tart and spread them out gently.  Sprinkle with the truffle salt or finishing salt and the optional cheese.  Brush the edges of the tart with the egg yolk and water mixture with a pastry brush for a nice finishing touch.  Bake in the center of the oven for 25 to 30 minutes until browned and crispy.

I hope you enjoy this as much as we did!


    1. Your tart looks wonderful. You were going for the rustic look. I'm not a perfectionist either.
      Like you said your family ate the tart in one night, the seal of approval.

    2. Looks so amazing! Did you enter the photo to Tastespotting??? They are having a mushroom contest!
      This tart looks so wonderful... Mushrooms and pastry... ahhh!

    3. I love, love, love mushrooms! Put them in a tart and I would eat the whole thing:) This sounds so delicious, thanks for sharing:)

    4. Yumboooo!!! I love mushrooms and I love this recipe. Great photos too!!!

    5. thanks for sharing your recipe..I love mushrooms!

    6. Fantastic tart...looks delightful :)

    7. Your Mushroom Tart looks gorgeous, I am doing a wild mushroom tom yum soup tonight, very excited!! Thanks for the add

    8. This looks delicious - I've never worked with puff pastry before and this looks like a good start! I have ingredients on my shopping list. Can't wait to try this!


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