It’s starting to cool down a bit here, not enormously, but in the evenings there is a slight chill in the air; for me, that means that I can start using the oven more often, and I love it!
I have an obsession with all the ingredients of this tart, but the most recent one is tarragon. I had never tried it before a couple of years ago, it really isn’t an ingredient readily available in Miami or the Bahamas. After moving to Spain I started noticing it in the market, and wondered if it tasted as good as it smelled. I think it is a definite acquired taste, but I liked it more and more every time.
This is a very simple tart to make, but just because its simple doesn’t mean it isn’t elegant enough to serve at a dinner party. I love these types of meals, unfussy, rustic and über delicious. Perfect to serve as a starter, or as a main with a simple lamb’s lettuce salad.
Here’s what you’re going to need:
For the shell:
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into small squares
1 1/2 tbsp lard
2 – 3 tbsp ice water
For the filling:
2 leeks, thinly sliced
2 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups mushrooms, sliced (cremini or white)
2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
3/4 cup tarragon, chopped
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup Gruyère or comte cheese, grated
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
Pre-heat the oven to 425F (220C). In a medium bowl place the flour and salt, mix well. Add the butter and lard, and with your hands or a pastry cutter, mix until all the fats are incorporated. Add the water, one tbsp at a time, and mix with your hands to form a ball, and just until the dough sticks together. Add more water if needed (but I only used 2 tbsp). Wrap in plastic film, and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Roll out dough on a clean and floured surface. Roll out to about 1/8 thick, and place in tart mold, trimming the edges. Cover with aluminum foil and put it in the freezer for about 30 minutes. Remove from freezer, and add pie weights or beans, and bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan, melt the butter over medium low heat. Add the leeks and cook until softened, about 5-6 minutes. Add the mushrooms, thyme and salt. Raise the heat to high and cook until the mushrooms have let out their liquids and it has evaporated. Add the tarragon cook for another minute, then take off heat. Let cool.
In a medium bowl, add the eggs, cream, cheese, black pepper and nutmeg. Mix well. Add the cooled mushroom mixture.
When your tart has finished pre-baking, lower the oven to 375F (190C). Place the mushroom mix in the tart shell, and bake in the oven for 40 minutes. Let cool 20 minutes before serving.
From my kitchen to yours,