Tuesday 10 July 2012

Mushroom and Herb Tart

I am finding it quite difficult to write nice things about tarts, without making it sound rude or cheesy (there, I did it again!). Anyway, I ll have a go. I like tarts! A lot! It is my first choice for lunch when I go to a cafe. I can usually tell by the look if I am going to like it or not. Firstly I prefer veggie tarts, as I find them lighter. I also like them warm or room temperature - not cold. Finally I like crispy pastry, I mean who likes a soggy bottom?!

I have avoided making tarts for many years, because I was always daunted by making pastry and making sure the filling would set etc. I started making tarts and quiche around 5-6 years ago, but with bought pastry. That way I was eliminating the one issue I was worries about. A few years ago my husband started making pastry (his flaky pastry is delicious!), so then I was still avoiding the pastry making, but was getting better results, due to my husband's expert pastry making skills. Then I got more experience and confidence making pastry and tarts at The Dish and The Spoon.

This specific recipe is a half improvisation trying to use up tarragon and mushrooms. I like using creme fraiche in the filling, because it makes it fluffier and richer in my opinion. I am sure you can change the actual flavouring ingredients to what you like - just keep the creme and egg quantities as they are. Enjoy with some side salad and a cold glass of white wine.

For the pastry:
300g flour
150g cold butter
cold water

For the filling:
3 medium eggs
200ml double cream
200ml creme fraiche
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
8-10 cup mushrooms, sliced
2 tbs finely chopped parsley
1 tbs finely chopped tarragon

To make the pastry, sift the flour into a bowl and add the cold butter, in cubes. Rub between your fingers, until you have a crumb mixture (don't work the mixture too hard). Add some cold water (about half a glass), slowly, until the mixture comes together nicely, but not too wet and sticky. Wrap in cling film and cool in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Turn the oven on at 160 fan oven. Roll out the pastry to fit a 25cm loose bottomed tart dish. Allow to rest for a further 30 minutes in the fridge. Take out of the fridge and prick lightly with a fork. Lay some greaseproof paper on top and cover with baking beans. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Once a light crust has formed on the bottom of the pastry, remove from the oven. Remove the beans and egg-wash. Return to the oven for 15 minutes, until lightly coloured.

In the meantime, fry off the onions and the mushrooms in butter. Fry lightly, so not to colour and then drain off any excess liquid. Beat the 3 eggs and mix with the cream and creme fraiche. Add the tarragon and parsley to the cream mixture and season well with salt and pepper.

Once the pastry has coloured remove from the oven. You can trim the excess pastry at this stage (or you could trim the pastry when you first put it in the dish, but it may shrink and the filling can overflow). Place the mushroom and onion mixture evenly on the bottom of the pastry and then pour the cream mixture on top. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, or until nicely coloured and set.

Allow to cool for 5 minutes, before serving.

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