My friends gave me a beautiful tart recipe book last year by Maxine Clark for my birthday last year. I read through it numerous times but never got up the courage to make anything out of it for over a year. I was at first worried about the amount of butter, shortening, heavy cream or cheese that gets packed into the tarts. But the beautiful photography in the book kept me flipping through the pages. In the mean time, I’ve collected tart making tools like false bottom tart pans. The tarts in this book are not just pies. There are 5 or 6 pie crusts types and each may have their own alternate recipes. Each tart looks elegant and simple, but the recipe is so elaborate that it’s hard to come by all the ingredients at any one time.
With a few ingredients missing, I still went ahead to modify the recipe and made my very first mushroom tart. Instead of tarragon, I used green onions. Instead marscapone cheese, I used heavy cream. I was supposed to blind bake the tart with beans but I used rice. I completely skipped the garlic bread crumb topping for not having any bread crumbs around. The mushroom tart took two and a half hours of work: kneading the dough, chill the dough, defrost the dough, blind bake, egg wash bake, make filling, final bake with filling. You know what? It was worth it. The tart was mouth watering yummy, fragrant with woody portabella mushroom, light fluffy crust, and a hint of spring thanks to the secret ingredient lemon juice.
The tart was a raging success! No, it was heavenly good. It turned out to be a perfect Easter Brunch. It was served with a strawberry spinach salad which balanced out the evil stick of butter the recipe called for. AND a 30 mile bike ride made that slice completely guilt free.