There is something mystical about mushrooms. In myth, they are the enchanted home of faeries; in legend, they are mysterious fungus with magical powers to be feared or worshipped.
Mushrooms are truly magicians of the forest, wondrous little creatures that spring from the ground with such enigma but yet pack such a punch. In Chinese culture, mushrooms are revered as promoting longevity and building strength in the immune system.
I have possessed a lifelong love affair with mushrooms. My Mum says that one of the first words I uttered as a baby was ‘mushrooms’ in Cantonese. As a vegetarian, mushrooms, understandably, play a starring role in my cooking. They add a full-bodied intensity and a heavy fleshy flavour that is hard to replicate with other vegetables. Having a few seasonal mushrooms on hand in your fridge certainly opens up a host of quick meal options, including this sweet, big-flavoured tarte tartin.
Mushroom Tarte Tartin
Use whatever mushrooms you have on hand for this tart. In the Autumn, when they are seasonally available, always opt for wild pine mushrooms, slippery jacks, or chanterelles. It is also fine to use more available mushrooms like button, swiss browns, portobellos or Asian mushrooms such as shimeji or oyster – just keep a packet of dried porcini mushrooms in the pantry to add extra depth to the tart. For my tart, I used pine and chanterelle mushrooms.
| Serves 4 |
- 500 grams of mixed mushrooms, cleaned and torn into chunks
- 2 eschalots, finely sliced
- 1 large clove of garlic, finely chopped
- 20 grams of butter
- 1 tablespoons of olive oil
- A handful of mixed hard herbs such as rosemary, thyme and bay
- 1-2 teaspoons of caster sugar
- 1/4 cup grated gruyere
- Sea salt and black pepper
- 1 sheet of all-butter puff pastry, rolled out into 27cm circle
Line the bottom of a shallow tart pan with baking paper. Preheat oven to 200˚C.
Add olive oil to a large frypan and add eschalots and garlic. Sweat until starting to soften and then add the mushrooms, butter and a big pinch of sea salt and black pepper.
Add the herbs and continue to cook for 8-10 minutes until the mushrooms are soft. Sprinkle over the sugar and cook for a further 2 minutes.
Pour the mushroom mixture into the prepared tart pan and sprinkle over the cheese. Place the sheet of puff pastry over the top, tucking in the sides of the pastry, making sure to encase the mushroom mixture.
Bake in hot oven for 20-25 minutes until the pastry is golden and puffed up.
While still hot, invert the tart onto a board or plate. Serve immediately with a leafy salad.