Wild Mushroom Tart

This recipe was stolen from Simon Hopkinson at Bibendum, who does an extraordinary version using fresh ceps only.

Ingredients

  • 450g/1 lb assorted wild mushrooms, such as chanterelles, horns of plenty, hedgehog mushrooms and ceps
  • 125g/4½oz unsalted butter
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • handful of flat leaf parsley
  • 450g/1 lb ready-rolled puff pastry
  • salt and pepper
  • chopped chives, to garnish (optional)

Utensils

  • bowl
  • 2 baking trays (ideally those for pizzas)

Method

Mise en Place

First prepare the mushrooms: detach the stalks if necessary, and cut off and discard the earthy ends. Wipe the caps with a damp cloth, but do not wash or immerse in water - which they absorb like sponges. Peel the stalks, but not the caps. If very large, slice into pieces.

Make the garlic butter, cut the butter into small pieces. Peel, crush and finely chop the garlic. Remove the parsley leaves from their stalks and coarsely chop the leaves. In a bowl, mix the butter, garlic and parsley with a generous amount of salt and pepper. Mash them together with a fork to mix. (A food processor tends to over-chop the parsley, producing a vivid green paste.)

Preheat the oven to its highest setting.

Prepare the pastry: for each person take one sheet of bought puff pastry rolled out to a thickness of 3mm / 1/8in and cut into a 15cm/6in diameter circle (use a plate as a template). Lay out on the baking trays (do not oil the trays).

Make the tarts: divide the wiped mushrooms into equal amounts. Take a handful of the mushrooms and press in your hands to make a compact ball. Mound in the centre of each pastry circle, leaving a clear border of pastry about 2.5cm/1in wide • With the blunt side of a small kitchen knife, crimp the base of the pastry circles at 5mm/¼in intervals all around. This will push the pastry up around the edge and will encourage the pastry to lift around the edge as it cooks to form a neat case around the mushroom filling • Put a 30g/1 oz lump of garlic butter on top of each mushroom mound.

Holding Point - at this stage you can freeze the tarts until needed (for up to 12 hours). Then cook from frozen, but add 2 minutes to the cooking time.

Cooking

Put the tarts in the oven (if any mushrooms spill on to the pastry border take care to push them back into the middle). Check them after they have been in the oven 5 minutes. If the pastry balloons in the middle, prick with a sharp knife or skewer to deflate.

Cook for about 15 minutes in total, until the pastry has risen and browned and the mushrooms have collapsed. The mushrooms will exude water and juices which add a delicious flavour to the pastry base while making it a little soggy. This is perfectly acceptable as long as you serve at once - they are not nice lukewarm or cold.

Serving

Serve immediately on warmed plates, scattered with a few chives if you like.

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