Sunday, March 9, 2014

Mushroom tart

Don't you just love the combination of mushrooms and thyme?  I do.  I start many dishes with this combination--creamy mushroom soup, mushrooms julienne (a Russian dish with lots of Gruyere), even my Mostly Veggie Steak Sandwiches will get a healthy dose of thyme if we have any in the fridge.

So in deciding on a pre-spa birthday brunch dish for a part-time-vegetarian friend, I came up with this tart. I did find inspiration here: creamy mushroom tart, but going with ingredients on hand, this is what I came up with.  When I prepared it the night before, hubby was quite upset that he couldn't partake. I had to make another one for him the next day.  Luckily, refrigerated pie crusts come in a two-pack.

Over the past six months, the recipe has evolved to what you see below.  Last month, I made it meatless (no bacon) while I was recovering from strep throat.  Hubby thought that the bacon might scratch on the way down.  He was probably right.  I was worried about missing the smoky flavor, so that is when I started using smoked cheese and red almost (said the full-time carnivore) made up for the bacon.

I originally started to make this tart the other day with the softened cream cheese I didn't use in muffins.  But no bacon...and it was it was Apple Pear Pie on Monday, Mushroom tart today.

Cook bacon over medium heat til crispy.

You want bacon now don't you?  Take out the bacon and leave a bit of grease in the skillet.

Cook mushrooms, shallots, thyme in the bacon grease until mushrooms are tender.  Season with salt and pepper.

Add wine and reduce almost completely.

Add cream cheese, stir until melted.  Stir in reserved bacon and smoked Gouda.

Place mushroom mixture on pie crust.

Fold up edges, brush with egg wash and season with herb salt.  Bake 20 minutes at 375 until golden brown.

It is very rich, serve it with a green salad dressed with a simple vinaigrette.

Bonus professional shot...thank you honey!

Mushroom Tart
1/3 lb bacon, diced (if you are making without the bacon, sub 2 Tbs olive oil + 1 Tbs butter)
16 oz mushrooms (white or crimini), sliced
1 Tbs fresh thyme (about 10 small sprigs)
1 small shallot, diced fine
pinch salt
black pepper
1/3 cup wine (red or white, either will do fine)
4 oz cream cheese
2 oz smoked Gouda cheese, shredded
1 refrigerated pie crust
1 egg, beaten with a splash of water
herb salt (optional, recipe below)

Preheat oven to 375.  
Cook bacon in a 10-12 inch skillet over medium heat until crisp.  Remove bacon to a paper towel, reserving the drippings in the skillet.  Pour off about half the drippings, leaving a couple of tablespoons in the skillet.  Add mushrooms and cook about 5 minutes until tender.  Stir in thyme, shallots, salt and pepper and cook another 3 minutes.  Stir in wine and cook until reduced almost completely.  Reduce heat and stir in cream cheese until melted.  Add smoked Gouda and bacon pieces and stir to combine.
Unroll pie crust onto a cookie sheet or pizza stone.  Place mushroom mixture in center of pie crust, leaving about 1 1/2 inch border.  Fold the rim of pie crust over the edge of the mushroom mixture.  Brush top edge of pie crust with egg wash.  Sprinkle with herb salt.
Bake 20 minutes until the crust is golden brown.  Let stand for 10-15 minutes before cutting.  Serve warm or room temperature.

Herb Salt
1/2 cup coarse sea salt
1 Tbs dried rosemary
1 Tbs dried thyme

Mix all ingredients.  Place in a pepper grinder, set to medium grind.  Use on savory pies, pizza crust, focaccia, scrambled eggs, anywhere you want some extra flavor. 

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