Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Cook me! Mushroom and Leek Tart of Savory Awesomeness

Want to cook something fairly easy but is impressive to your family? Make them a savory dinner tart!

The most difficult part of making this tart is that you have to work with the dough in several batches: putting together, refrigerating it, taking it out and rolling it out, putting it back in the fridge and waiting, etc. However, this was a fairly simple to construct item which is perfect for entertaining since you can do it all ahead of time and pop it in the oven as guests come in. Dinner will be ready in the 35-45 minutes it takes to bake, your guests will be impressed and your house will smell absurdly yummy.


Published January 1, 2012. From Cook's Illustrated.


Cutting a few small holes in the dough prevents it from lifting off the pan as it bakes. A pizza stone helps to crisp the crust but is not essential.


• Dough

• 1 1/4cups (6 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour

• 1/2cup (2 3/4 ounces) whole-wheat flour

• 1 tablespoon sugar

• 3/4 teaspoon salt

• 10 tablespoons unsalted butter , cut into ½-inch pieces and chilled

• 7 tablespoons ice water

• 1 teaspoon white vinegar

• Filling

• 1 1/4 pounds shiitake mushrooms , stemmed and sliced thin

• 5 teaspoons olive oil

• 1 pound leeks , white and light green parts only, sliced ½ inch thick and washed thoroughly (3 cups)

• 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme

• 2 tablespoons crème fraîche

• 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

• Salt and pepper

• 3ounces Gorgonzola cheese , crumbled (3/4 cup)

• 1 large egg , lightly beaten

• Kosher salt

• 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley


1. FOR THE DOUGH: Process flours, sugar, and salt in food processor until combined, 2 to 3 pulses. Add butter and pulse until it forms pea-size pieces, about 10 pulses. Transfer mixture to medium bowl.

2. Sprinkle water and vinegar over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix until loose, shaggy mass forms with some dry flour remaining (do not overwork). Transfer mixture to center of large sheet of plastic wrap, press gently into rough 4-inch square, and wrap tightly. Refrigerate for at least 45 minutes.

3. Transfer dough to lightly floured work surface. Roll into 11 by 8-inch rectangle with short side of rectangle parallel to edge of work surface. Using bench scraper, bring bottom third of dough up, then fold upper third over it, folding like business letter into 8 by 4-inch rectangle. Turn dough 90 degrees counterclockwise. Roll out dough again into 11 by 8-inch rectangle and fold into thirds again. Turn dough 90 degrees counterclockwise and repeat rolling and folding into thirds. After last fold, fold dough in half to create 4-inch square. Press top of dough gently to seal. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.

4. FOR THE FILLING: Cover mushrooms in bowl and microwave until just tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to colander to drain and return to bowl. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add leeks and thyme, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until leeks are tender and beginning to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to bowl with mushrooms. Stir in crème fraîche and mustard. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

5. Adjust oven rack to lower middle position, place pizza stone on oven rack, and heat oven to 400 degrees. Remove dough from refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes. Roll out on generously floured (up to ¼ cup) work surface to 14-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick. (Trim edges as needed to form rough circle.) Transfer dough to parchment paper–lined rimmed baking sheet. With tip of paring knife, cut five ¼-inch circles in dough (one at center and four evenly spaced midway from center to edge of dough). Brush top of dough with 1 teaspoon oil.

6. Spread half of filling evenly over dough, leaving 2-inch border around edge. Sprinkle with half of Gorgonzola, cover with remaining filling, and top with remaining Gorgonzola. Drizzle remaining 1 teaspoon oil over filling. Grasp 1 edge of dough and fold up outer 2 inches over filling. Repeat around circumference of tart, overlapping dough every 2 to 3 inches; gently pinch pleated dough to secure but do not press dough into filling. Brush dough with egg and sprinkle evenly with kosher salt.

7.  Lower oven temperature to 375 degrees. Bake until crust is deep golden brown and filling is beginning to brown, 35 to 45 minutes. Cool tart on baking sheet on wire rack for 10 minutes. Using offset or wide metal spatula, loosen tart from parchment and carefully slide tart off parchment onto cutting board. Sprinkle with parsley, cut into wedges, and serve.


Ann's notes (and recommendations from Cook's Illustrated)

  1. Yes, the dough will be crumbly and loose. It's okay. Resting the dough in the fridge allows the flour to hydrate apparently while minimizing gluten development so the crust stays tender and flaky rather than too chewy. It will be a bit hard to work with at first but just tough it out since it will get better as you fold it more and more.
  2. I used a mix of Shitake and Crimini mushrooms since Shitakes are more expensive. Crimini mushrooms contain a lot more water so you need to ensure you drain the mushrooms properly after microwaving. You don't want the tart to be too soggy after all.
  3. Save the mushroom stems instead of composting them. You can use them to make broth afterwards or mince them in a processor with roasted garlic and parsley for a bruschetta topping.
  4. Whole wheat makes this healthier and lends to a nuttier, earthier flavor and better texture in the crust. I keep whole wheat flour on hand anyways since it's better for you.
  5. Most people don't have a bench scraper - this just calls for something fairly sharp and flat. You can use the blunt end of a chef's knife to get under the dough and fold the dough over or something similar - perhaps one of those small, thin, foldable cutting boards or something.
  6. Creme Fraiche is a lighter, milder, richer textured fancy french sour cream. They have it at Whole Foods next to the sour cream. I went to Top Food and the head of their dairy department gave me a puzzled look and had no idea what it was. Eff them for their lack of food-snobbery. :) And check out this South Park episode: http://www.southparkstudios.com/full-episodes/s14e14-creme-fraiche


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