Mushroom tart

Mushroom Tart

I have been meaning to post this mushroom tart recipe for ages. It was given to me by my mother’s friend Sarah, who was an excellent cook; her hand-written recipe has been pasted into my recipe book for forty years now. Although Sarah was vegetarian herself, she also cooked meat and fish for her family and friends, and her food was always perfectly seasoned even though she never tasted the meat dishes.

As the tart uses puff pastry, it is a bit of an indulgence, but it does turn an ordinary punnet of button mushrooms into something special. I sometimes use chestnut mushrooms or a mixture of button and field mushrooms. It is important to cook the mushrooms ahead of time and let them cool down as otherwise the heat can soften the pastry which makes it difficult to manage. Tarragon works particularly well here, but parsley is nice too if you don’t have any tarragon, in which case you could add a crushed clove of garlic to the mixture too.

Sarah recommended Saxby butter puff pastry if you can get it. Rolling the pastry yourself will give a thinner crust, but a ready-rolled sheet is fine if you prefer. This serves 3-4, depending on how many sides you serve with it.

350g button or chestnut mushrooms
50g butter
1 tsp plain flour
1 tbsp sherry or white wine
150ml single or sour cream
huge pinch of tarragon or parsley
200g (or a ready-rolled sheet) all-butter puff pastry
1 egg beaten with a little milk

Slice the mushrooms very thinly. Melt the butter in a frying pan and sweat the mushrooms in the butter over a gentle heat until they are ‘slug-like’, which will take 5-10 minutes.

Mushroom tart 1

Sprinkle on the teaspoon of flour and cook for a few more minutes. Stir in the cream, herbs and sherry and season with salt and black pepper. Cook for another couple of minutes. Then leave the mixture to cool, preferably for an hour.

When you are ready to bake the tart put the oven on to heat to 210°C. Roll out the pastry very thinly into a large oblong (or unroll the ready-rolled sheet) and place half on a baking sheet, with the other half off the edge. It helps to put some baking parchment on the bench to stop this part of the pastry sticking to it. Paint the edge of the pastry with the egg wash. Spoon the cool mushroom mixture onto the half of the pastry which is on the baking sheet and carefully fold the other half over the top.

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Seal the edges very firmly with a fork or crimp the edges together with your fingers rather as you would for a pasty. As you can see below, my effort was far from neat this time – I had taken the pastry out of the fridge a bit too early and it was not being co-operative. Paint the top with egg wash and make two or three diagonal slashes in the top for the steam to escape.

Bake for 25-30 minutes in the oven, until the tart is puffed up and golden brown. Serve with salad or a green vegetable such as chard or broccoli, and new potatoes if you wish.

Mushroom Tart

 

Dutch Apple Tart

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This is another recipe from Judy, who was given this recipe for a classic Appeltaart by Corinne Theobald when they meet up for Dutch conversation sessions. I added an egg yolk to the “pastry” (following Delia’s trusted sweet pastry recipe, though this mixture is half way to being cake) and soaked the sultanas in calvados, as mine were a bit dried out. Another appeltaart recipe I found added lemon juice to the apples, which I thought was also a good idea – the lemon rind in the pastry is important.

As you can see, it doesn’t look very elegant, but it tasted great!

Pastry:
250g plain flour
125g caster sugar
190g butter
grated rind of a lemon
1 egg yolk & 1 tbsp water (optional)

Filling:
600g apples (reinettes, braeburns, golden delicious – slightly tart eating apples – and I have made successfully with Bramleys)
50g sugar (approx, depending on how tart your apples are – brown sugar is nice)
1 rounded tsp cinnamon
handful of sultanas soaked in a little hot water (or even better calvados) or raisins
Juice of ½ lemon (optional)

Heat oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas 4. Grease and line the base of a 20-22cm spring-form cake tin (for 8; half quantities perfect for 4 in a 15cm tin). Mix the butter (cubed and not straight from the fridge), flour, caster sugar, lemon rind, egg yolk & water in the food processor and pulse until it forms a ball. If doing by hand rub butter into flour, stir in sugar, add egg & water then mix to a ball with your hands. Wrap in cling film and put in the fridge while you prepare the apples.

Peel, core and cut up the apples into small chunks. Mix with the sugar, cinnamon, sultanas and lemon juice.

Dutch apple tart

Reserve about ¼ of the pastry mixture, and press the rest into the prepared cake tin going half way up the sides (I rolled it out a bit to start off, but it is very crumbly). Pile the apples inside – they should come to the top of the pastry.

Roll the remaining pastry into strips and make a lattice work over the top, patching as necessary. Glaze with a little beaten egg or milk and bake for about 45 mins.

Serve warm (not hot) or at room temperature with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.