It is said that cooking with mushrooms was first mentioned in a 13th century French cookbook. And as late as the nineteenth century, writer and gastronome Alexandre Dumas said, “I confess, that nothing frightens me more than the appearance of mushrooms on the table, especially in a small provincial town.”
I’ve never hunted wild mushrooms, preferring to get them fresh at our small town farmers’ market. They are delicious when cooked properly. This recipe is simple to make, beautiful when served and, of course, delicious. The savory combination of porcini and cremini mushrooms is unique and, when paired with brandy and Gruyere cheese, superb!
1 cup all purpose flour
¼ cup whole-wheat flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup chilled unsalted butter (cut into pieces)
2 tablespoons ice water
1 cup boiling water
1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
¼ cup unsalted butter
10 ounces fresh cremini mushrooms (cleaned and sliced)
¼ cup shallots (mined)
2 tablespoons brandy
3 teaspoons dried Italian herbs
1 cup Gruyère cheese (grated)
¾ cup half and half
2 egg yolks
1 whole egg
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Blend flour and salt in processor. Cut in butter using on/off turns until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add enough water to blend dough. Gather dough into ball. Wrap in plastic and chill for about 30 minutes.
Roll out dough on floured surface to 12-inch round. Transfer to 9-inch-diameter tart pan. I use a pan with a removable bottom to make serving easier. Trim edges, leaving 1/2-inch overhang. Fold overhang in to form double-thick sides. Press tart edges to raise dough 1/8 inch above pan. Chill while preparing filling.
Bring 1 cup water to boil in saucepan. Add porcini; remove from heat and let stand 30 minutes. Drain porcini, cut off and discard any hard bits. Coarsely chop porcini and set aside.
Melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add porcini and crimini mushrooms. Season with salt and sauté until brown, about 10 minutes. Add shallots and sauté for an additional 2 minutes. Add brandy and turn heat on high. Boil until almost all liquid is absorbed. Turn off heat and mix in herbs. Set aside uncovered.
Prick crust with the tines of a fork and prebake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside. Maintain oven temperature (that is, don’t turn it off). Sprinkle ½ cup cheese on prebaked crust. Cover with mushrooms. Whisk half and half, yolks, and whole egg in mixing bowl. Pour over mushrooms. Top with remaining cheese.
Bake until filling is set and top is golden, about 30 minutes. Allow the tart to cool on rack for 15 minutes before serving.
Chef Randy’s latest book: Ojai Valley Grill It Cookbook: vegetarian and vegan recipes and tips for successful grilling with color photos on Sale at AMAZON
For additional recipes, see Chef Randy’s website at valley-vegetarian.com.
Chef Randy has been a vegetarian for over 40 years and eats local and organic grain, fresh fruit, and vegetables as much as possible. He is known locally as the “Healthy Chef.” His column, Chef Randy, is syndicated in California newspapers. See his website at Valley-Vegetarian.com for more recipes.
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