Tag Archives: tarts

Pastry

Mushroom Tarts

Below is the pastry I used in making my Mushroom Tarts. The recipe I’ve used for years is from Julia Child’s ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’ with two minor changes:

  1. I add more sugar to help in browning (see how golden that crust is?).
  2. I used only butter, replacing the lard in her original recipe for butter. (I prefer lard in my crusts but I wanted to keep the recipe vegetarian as the tart can be thought of as vegetarian.)

For The Tart Shell

  • 240 grams AP flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt (for flavor)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (for color)
  • 224 grams of butter (see note)
  • 1/2 cup ice water

(note: Child’s original recipe calls for 184 grams butter and 56 grams lard and ¼ tsp sugar.)

Directions

  1. Mix the flour, salt, and sugar — let it whirl in the food processor.
  2. Cut the butter into cubes.
  3. To break up the butter cubes, toss them with the flour mixture (in the food processor).
  1. Either pulse your food processor 5 or 6 times to blend the butter with the flour mixture or cut the butter into the flour mixture with a fork or pastry cutter until it’s the size of small peas.
  2. If you’re using the food processor, turn on the machine and pour the water in all at once. Stop when the dough gathers round the blade. (It will take less than 30 seconds.)
  3. If you’re mixing by hand, pour in all the water and gently toss it all tother with a fork or spatula until the water is absorbed.
  1. Whichever method you used, put a large tablespoon of the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and smear it with your palm. Scrape the remaining dough off the surface and repeat until all the dough has been smeared together.

(You’re trying to cream the largest bits into the flour, not every piece, so just one press is enough.)

  1. Gather with a pastry scraper and quickly and lightly knead into a ball — this should take no longer than 30 seconds.
  1. Wrap and put it the refrigerator to rest at least 30 minutes — or overnight.
  2. When you’re ready, roll out the dough adding flour if and when the dough starts to stick.
  1. Make sure the dough is large enough to fit whatever pan you’re going to be using, roll it onto the rolling pin and lay it over the pan.
  2. Press it gently into the tart shell, poke it full of holes with the tines of a fork and put it into the refrigerator for the butter to harden.
  3. When you’re ready to use it, add a piece of wax parchment and some kind of weight to keep the pastry from rising and bake.
  1. Bake it in a 200C/400F oven for 30-40 minutes for a fully baked tart shell or as per instructed by your recipe.

Mushroom Tarts:

Flakey tart shells filled with sweet potato or pumpkin puree and topped with grilled or fried mushrooms.
Any mushroom will do but here I’m using Japanese mushrooms.

I came across a picture for a beautifully plated, grilled ‘Hen of the Woods‘ (aka Maitake) mushroom months ago. These are inexpensive where I live and so I started grilling them. Maitake have a wonderful mouthfeel and are full of umami; I wanted to turn them into a healthy, inexpensive meal, and so started making them into tarts. Here the tarts are put on a puree of sweet potato or winter melon (I use Japanese kabocha) to fix the mushrooms into place in the tart while adding a new texture and layer of flavors.

For the Mushrooms

Size varies by location. Any mushroom will work but we enjoy maitake and shimeji mushrooms because they grow as a unit and are much easier to shape because of it.

Directions

  1. In a well oiled iron fry pan, layer your mushrooms.
  2. Salt to taste.
  3. Cover them with something heavy (such as a smaller fry pan) and put them on high heat for five minutes and check. They will be fully cooked. Cook them to your desired color and texture.
  4. Flip the mushrooms and cook till they reach the color and texture you want

You want them to be a beautiful color.

Sweet Potato Filling

Sweet potatoes are delicious in savory dishes. A steamed sweet potato has more moisture and, in my experience, is easier to work with. But you can make a delicious filling with a baked sweet potato.

Ingredients

  • 1 large sweet potato (about 400 -600 grams), steamed or roasted.
  • Salt to taste

(optional ingredients)

  • Up to ¼ butter or up to ¼ cream
  • ½ tsp cumin or ½ tsp each thyme and tarragon
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • Up to ¼ cup chopped walnuts

Directions

  1. Puree the sweet potato in a food processor with the salt and any combination of options ingredients (except the walnuts) and process until smooth.
  2. Mix in the optional walnuts, if using, after the sweet potatoes are pureed.
  3. Layer the bottom of a tart shell
  4. Layer on top of the shell grilled mushrooms and any other roasted vegetables you like.

Winter Squash/Kabocha Puree

If you can not find Japanese squash in your markets, a pumpkin, butternut or other winter squash will do nicely.

  • 400 – 600 grams of Winter Squash/Kabocha, steamed or roasted
  • Salt to taste

(Optional Ingredients)

  • Up to ¼ cup butter
  • ¼-½ tsp chilie powder
  • roasted garlic (to taste) and ½ tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp sherry vinegar
  • Up to ¼ cup walnuts

Directions

  1. Puree your steamed or roasted squash with salt and whatever combination of the optional ingredients you like (except the walnuts).
  2. Mix in the optional walnuts, if using, after the squash is pureed.
  3. Layer in the bottom of a tart shell and layer with mushrooms and your favorite roasted vegetables.

After you’ve made your fillings, simply spread one of your fillings into a tart shell and layer the mushrooms on top. I add lots of other roasted vegetables to make pleasing presentations.