Recipe #9: Wild Mushroom Tart

I’d planned this Sunday dinner about a week ago, and was completely excited for the last-minute prospect of dinner guests to join in on the fun!  Turns out that I loved this creation so much I was bummed that people came over because there are no wild mushroom tart leftovers!  No, I shouldn’t say that.  I should just think it. 

Many of the recipes I’ve tackled thus far have involved this flaky tart shell.  It’s amazing to me that every single recipe is so very different and unique, when the base is exactly the same.  You know what else is amazing?  The fact that I get to the same point in the recipe that calls for pie weights to ensure the crust doesn’t rise, and I am never prepared!  Still!  There’s usually a minor scrambling, but today even involved a quick trip to the store.  I’ve dabbled in a few rice varieties, but beans seemed heavier, so I went with some Great Northern beans. 

It’s also crazy how I’ve read this recipe more than a dozen times (lots of re-reading when I’m baking), and I read new things each time.  Today I read the about the fork trick.  I had the inclination to do this before, but I was concerned I would ruin it.  The directions give permission for the fork trick, poking the crust with a fork if it rises a bit once it’s in the oven after you take out the pie weights, or Great Northern beans in my case. 

I kind of overdid it on the fork poking trick.

My first rendezvous with shallots, which seems strange because I’m no stranger to the kitchen.

The recipe calls for a variety of mushrooms, which was very exciting to me.  I was ready and eager to find the most exotic mushrooms this wonderful town has to offer!  The cookbook mentions porcini and black trumpets, and a friend made great suggestions of king oyster and chanterelles.  All of these gourmet recommendations were wonderful, but I guess this town o’ mine is hiding these fungi treasures.  I found none of these.  I could make a million wild mushroom tarts from button mushrooms though seeing how Kalamazoo has button mushrooms coming out of its ears.  Sounds crazy plain and boring, right?  I ended up scavenging four different varieties so that this wild mushroom tart would live up to its name: Baby bellas, button, shitake, and Enoki mushrooms which are tiny and look like the ones you’re not supposed to eat in the woods because you’ll die.  I just used a few of those.

If you stepped through the gates of heaven I’m pretty sure it would smell like sauteing shallots in butter. 

Then, you’d start walking around in heaven and you’d be all “What???  It smells even better?!”  That’s when you’d start smelling the mushrooms in the sauté mix.

De-glazing the pan with a little bit of lemon juice and water, to ensure all the little bits are off the bottom.  Those bits are très important.

More separating egg whites and yolks!  This time I need the yolks, which were to be mixed in with crème fraiche.  (Oh yeah, more crème fraiche!  Fancy!)  When I was at the grocery store this morning I actually saw a little plastic contraption in the shape of a dumb cartoony chicken.  I was tempted to get it because it promised to perfectly separate eggs!  I just stood there, staring at it, having a WWJCMSOEPD? moment.  I walked away, concluding you’d never see Julia Child, Martha Stewart, or Elisabeth Prueitt use such a device.  And, what kind of chicken would want to help separate egg yolks from the whites?  It seemed like a trap.

I don’t know though, I’m still on fence.  Maybe I need one of those!

This probably looks like death in a pie dish to those sad people in the world who have a distaste for mushrooms.  To those people I say, I’m sorry for your lot in life that you may never experience the joy and supernatural power of this wild mushroom tart.  I don’t know, if there was ever something that could sway you I think this would win you over.  That’s probably just my blind optimism. 

This right here warms my l’il baking heart.  There’s nothing quite like a completely empty dish at the end of a meal.  Catching up with old friends over a meal, (as well as friends that are frequent guests at the dinner table), is one of my favorite things in the entire world.  My true goal is for a fistfight to break out for the last piece of something I make.  I’d be happier with a verbal altercation actually.  It didn’t happen tonight, but we’ve still got lots of time for that.