Wednesday, November 21, 2007

waiter, there's something in my... topless tart

nothing like a little bit of imbb pressure to get the blogging juices going again. cooksister's hosting this month's "Waiter, there's something in my…" monthly food blogging event. this months' theme is the rather saucy sounding "topless tarts".

adapted from a g ramsay recipe, my contribution to the topless tart roundup is the open mushroom tart.

open mushroom tarts

puff pastry - puff pastry isn't that difficult to make, but ready rolled's fine too
sliced mushrooms - loads of them and as many as you like - i generally use a mixture of chestnut, ceps, girolles, shitake and portobello
single cream
parmigiano reggiano

preheat the oven to 200C. roll puff pastry out to the thickness of 1/8 inch and cut out discs of approximately 6 inches in diameter. The size of how large you'd like your tarts to be dictates how large your discs should therefore be. place each disc of puff pastry on a baking sheet lined with baking paper. lay another piece of baking paper on top of this disc, and another baking sheet on top to weigh it down. this stops the puff pastry from rising while being baked. by all means use your silpats if you have them you lucky sods (while I think of you and turn green with envy). bake the puff pastry discs till golden brown and entirely crisp.

sauté the sliced mushrooms in butter. the trick is to get as much moisture out of them as possible so that they are entirely mushroomy and the resulting mushroom liquid is thick, syrupy and full of mushroom goodness. season as you go along. this may entail sauté-ing them twice with a rest in between. you want this quite dry and concentrated because you won't want a soggy tart. when you are sufficiently satisfied with the mushroomyness of the mushrooms, add a trickle of double cream and a crackle of black pepper. there should be just enough cream so that the mushrooms are bound together lightly but not so much it's overbearing.

assembling the tart could not be simpler - place a disc of pastry on the plate, and spoon on a heapful of mushrooms and top with generous shavings of parmegiano reggiano. I often serve mine as a starter with a rocket salad, or sometimes as a size adjusted canapé topped with slithers of grilled proscuitto.

Of course if one of your diners is an avid mushroom hater, as a guest-of-honor at a recent dinner party was (and worse still if you're like me and totally forgot this rather major fact, merrily going about your mushroom buying business, realising with horror when it has become far too late to change the starter), the pastry disc is a happy medium for a variety of other toppings. I sautéed leeks and ham in a cream sauce which worked rather well for my mushroom-hating guest.


Blogger Jeanne said...

Nice to have you over for WTSIM! And oh wow, those look goooood! I love the idea of the crisp, flaky pastry contrasting with the creamy mushrooms. Thanks for daring to go topless for the event :)

7:15 AM  

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