Last week after teaching one of my fall cooking classes, I noticed some interesting leftovers. I found a bag of dried mixed mushrooms as well as fresh brown mushrooms used to make a chicken ragoût. In the fridge there was a box of puff pastry, as well as heavy cream, butter, and eggs all utilized in a dessert tart. Eyeing these ingredients, I came up with an idea for turning them into a new creation, a savory wild mushroom and leek tart. I could taste the scrumptious tart in my mind as I wrote out my grocery list which included only two items- leeks and Gruyère cheese.
The tart shell prepared with purchased puff pastry was easy to roll out and shape in a tart pan. For the filling I sautéed fresh sliced mushrooms with chopped leeks, and then stirred in dried mushrooms that had been soaked in hot water. For great umami flavor, I reduced the water the mushrooms were soaked in to concentrate its distinctive flavor and then stirred it into the cream and eggs used to bind the tart’s filling. Some grated Gruyère provided extra creaminess to the tart.
When baked, the top was a rich golden brown and the pastry shell crisp and flaky. You can serve this tart for lunch or for a light supper along with a salad. Keep it in mind, too, as a delicious main course for a weekend brunch. I don’t expect that you’ll have dried mushrooms on a shelf in your cupboard, but you might have some eggs, butter, and perhaps some cream on hand and if not some Gruyère, another good melting cheese!
Amen to leftovers!
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Wlld Mushroom and Leek Tart
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, about 9 inches square and 1/8 inch thick, defrosted in the refrigerator (See note.)
1/2 ounce (about 3/4 cup) dried mixed mushrooms
2 tbsp unsalted butter plus more if needed
6 ounces brown (baby bellas) mushrooms, sliced thinly through the stems (about 2 cups)
1 cup chopped leeks (white and light green parts only)
1/2 tsp dried rosemary, crushed
1/2 tsp kosher salt
Two pinches cayenne pepper
2 large eggs
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup (1 3/4 ounce) grated Gruyère cheese
Several rosemary sprigs for garnish, optional
1.Arrange a rack at center position and preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Have ready a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom.
2. Place the pastry sheet on a lightly floured work surface, and with a rolling pin, gently flatten any seams in the dough, then roll dough into an 11- inch square. Transfer it to the tart pan. Trim the overhang to 1 inch. Fold overhanging dough in and press to form double-thick sides. Press inside edge of crust to push it 1/4 inch above the edge of pan. Pierce bottom of crust with a fork. Place the tart shell in the freezer for 20 minutes.
3.Place dried mushrooms in a small mixing bowl and cover with 3/4 cup boiling water. Let stand 20 minutes or until mushrooms are reconstituted. Then line a sieve or strainer with a double thickness of paper towels and set over a bowl. Strain mushrooms, pushing down on the them with the back of a wooden spoon to extract as much liquid as possible. Chop the mushrooms very coarsely into 1-inch pieces. Place the liquids in a small saucepan over medium high heat and reduce to one tablespoon. Watch carefully.
4.Heat butter in a medium large, heavy skillet set over medium heat. When melted and hot, add sliced fresh mushrooms and cook, stirring, 3 minutes. Add leeks and continue to cook, stirring, until mushrooms and leeks have softened, 2 to 3 minutes more, adding extra butter if needed. Stir in rosemary, salt, and cayenne pepper. Then add the reconstituted wild mushrooms and stir and cook 1 minute more. Remove mushrooms to a plate to cool for 5 minutes and then spread them evenly on bottom of the tart shell.
5.In a medium bowl, whisk eggs until blended. Then whisk in cream and the reduced tablespoon of the mushroom liquid.
6.Sprinkle 2/3 of the Gruyère over the mushrooms and then pour the egg mixture over them. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Transfer tart to a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Then, since tart will have started to brown on top, cover tart loosely with a sheet of aluminum foil. Continue to bake until filling is set and crust is golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes or more.
7.Remove and cool 5 minutes. With a small sharp knife, loosen edges of pastry from sides of tart shell and remove tart shell.If desired, garnish center of tart with a few rosemary sprigs. Serve warm. Serves 6.
Cooking tip: Whole Foods sells 2-oz packages of dried mixed mushrooms called Wild Mix by Vivido which include dried porcini, chanterelles, and black trumpet mushrooms. They work well in this recipe. You can also use dried porcini.
Copyright Betty Rosbottom 2020