Mark McEwan: This mushroom tart is the best of all savoury tarts — trust me

Every Saturday, Chef Mark McEwan, one of Canada’s most celebrated chefs, serves up everything you need for a special weekend meal, including a recipe and expert at-home cooking tips.I think savoury tarts are very special and this one is my personal favourite. It works as a light lunch or a side to a main course like a light roasted veal loin, pork loin or roasted fowl. Served in one-bite form, it makes for a perfect passed party appetizer. When it comes to holiday cooking, don’t be shy: holiday meals need to be dynamic and diverse. Expand where you’re comfortable and add a few twists and surprises!Chef tips:1. Making a successful pâté brisée is all about correct measurement of liquids and the right mixing time. It’s also very important to use cold butter.2. Less is more in terms of the working the dough. Allow the dough to rest in the fridge for minimum of one hour before rolling.3. If time or will is lacking for making pâté brisée, a quality store-bought frozen brand will work fine as a substitute. So too will good quality store-bought tart shells. Lastly, while the walnut-dressed frisée is a lovely complement, any delicate salad and dressing will do.Woodland Mushroom Tart with Frisée1 batch pâté brisée1 1/2 cups (375 mL) 35% cream 2 cups (500 mL) mixed woodland mushrooms, sautéed 1/2 cup (125 mL) goat cheese, crumbled 1 tbsp (15 mL) parsley and thyme, minced and mixedSalt and pepper 1 small bunch frisée, torn 6 basil leaves, tornLeaves from 2 sprigs Italian parsley 2 tsp (10 mL) maple-walnut vinaigretteDirections1. Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C). On a floured work surface, roll out pâté brisée to a thickness of about 1/8 inch (3 mm). Cut portions to line six small tart pans about 3 inches (8 cm) in diameter. Trim edges, line tart shells with foil and fill with pebbles or dried beans. Transfer to baking sheet. Bake until golden at the edges, about 15 minutes. Remove foil and weights. Lightly beat 1 egg; brush insides of tart shells. Return them to oven until completely golden, another 5 to 8 minutes. Set aside to cool. Lower oven to 325 F (160 C). 2. Combine remaining 2 eggs and cream in bowl of a standup mixer. Whisk at medium-low speed until mixture begins to thicken, 3 to 5 minutes. Fill cooled tart crusts about half — or at most, two thirds — to the top with cooked mushrooms. To each, add a generous tablespoonful of goat cheese, pinch of mixed herbs and dash of seasoning. Pour in egg mixture to cover. Bake until lightly bronzed on top and well-set in the centre, 35 to 40 minutes. Let tarts rest for 10 minutes. 3. Meanwhile, combine the frisée, basil, parsley and walnuts in a bowl. Immediately before serving, toss with vinaigrette. Serve tarts with a light cluster of the salad mounded on top. Serves 6.Variation: You can simplify matters by baking a single large tart and portioning it by slice. Alternatively, you can turn the recipe into an elegant side dish and any main course that goes well with mushrooms or cheese. Simply reduce the quantities and fill miniature tart shells about 1 1/2 inches (4 cm) wide. The cooking time will be about 5 minutes shorter. Pâté brisée2 cups (500 mL) cake-and-pastry flour, siftedGenerous pinch of salt1/2 lb (250 g) butter, cubed and frozen1 tbsp (15 mL) cider vinegar Combine flour and salt in bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle. Turn to medium-low speed and mix until butter is well dispersed but still slightly clumpy. Add vinegar and 1/4 cup (50 mL) water and continue to mix. Add up to — but not more than — another 1/4 cup (50 mL) water to help dough to ball up. Do not overmix or the pastry will be tough. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and let rest in refrigerator for 2 hours before rolling out. Sautéed chanterelles or other woodland mushrooms 1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil 1 tbsp (15 mL) butter2 tbsp (30 mL) onion, minced8 oz (225 g) wild mushrooms, trimmed, quartered or sliced depending on size1 tsp (5 mL) garlic, minced Pinch each of salt and white pepper2 tbsp (30 mL) white wine 1 tsp (5 mL) parsley, rosemary and sage, minced and combinedHeat oil and butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and mushrooms; cook, stirring frequently. When mushrooms begin to soften, add garlic. Season with salt and pepper. One minute later, deglaze with wine and stir in herbs. Correct seasoning. Maple walnut vinaigrette6 tbsp (90 mL) maple syrup 1/3 cup (75 mL) olive oil 1/4 cup (50 mL) champagne vinegar 3 tbsp (45 mL) walnut oilPinch each salt and pepperWhisk all ingredients together. Adjust seasoning.Chef Mark McEwan is a Toronto-based chef, entrepreneur, mentor and writer of bestselling cookbooks. He is a freelance contributor for the Star. Follow him on Twitter: @chef_MarkMcEwan

Mark McEwan: This mushroom tart is the best of all savoury tarts — trust me

Every Saturday, Chef Mark McEwan, one of Canada’s most celebrated chefs, serves up everything you need for a special weekend meal, including a recipe and expert at-home cooking tips.

I think savoury tarts are very special and this one is my personal favourite. It works as a light lunch or a side to a main course like a light roasted veal loin, pork loin or roasted fowl. Served in one-bite form, it makes for a perfect passed party appetizer. When it comes to holiday cooking, don’t be shy: holiday meals need to be dynamic and diverse. Expand where you’re comfortable and add a few twists and surprises!

Chef tips:

1. Making a successful pâté brisée is all about correct measurement of liquids and the right mixing time. It’s also very important to use cold butter.

2. Less is more in terms of the working the dough. Allow the dough to rest in the fridge for minimum of one hour before rolling.

3. If time or will is lacking for making pâté brisée, a quality store-bought frozen brand will work fine as a substitute. So too will good quality store-bought tart shells. Lastly, while the walnut-dressed frisée is a lovely complement, any delicate salad and dressing will do.

Woodland Mushroom Tart with Frisée

  • 1 batch pâté brisée

  • 1 1/2 cups (375 mL) 35% cream
  • 2 cups (500 mL) mixed woodland mushrooms, sautéed
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) parsley and thyme, minced and mixed
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 small bunch frisée, torn
  • 6 basil leaves, torn
  • Leaves from 2 sprigs Italian parsley
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) maple-walnut vinaigrette

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C). On a floured work surface, roll out pâté brisée to a thickness of about 1/8 inch (3 mm). Cut portions to line six small tart pans about 3 inches (8 cm) in diameter. Trim edges, line tart shells with foil and fill with pebbles or dried beans. Transfer to baking sheet. Bake until golden at the edges, about 15 minutes. Remove foil and weights. Lightly beat 1 egg; brush insides of tart shells. Return them to oven until completely golden, another 5 to 8 minutes. Set aside to cool. Lower oven to 325 F (160 C).

2. Combine remaining 2 eggs and cream in bowl of a standup mixer. Whisk at medium-low speed until mixture begins to thicken, 3 to 5 minutes. Fill cooled tart crusts about half — or at most, two thirds — to the top with cooked mushrooms. To each, add a generous tablespoonful of goat cheese, pinch of mixed herbs and dash of seasoning. Pour in egg mixture to cover. Bake until lightly bronzed on top and well-set in the centre, 35 to 40 minutes. Let tarts rest for 10 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, combine the frisée, basil, parsley and walnuts in a bowl. Immediately before serving, toss with vinaigrette. Serve tarts with a light cluster of the salad mounded on top. Serves 6.

Variation: You can simplify matters by baking a single large tart and portioning it by slice. Alternatively, you can turn the recipe into an elegant side dish and any main course that goes well with mushrooms or cheese. Simply reduce the quantities and fill miniature tart shells about 1 1/2 inches (4 cm) wide. The cooking time will be about 5 minutes shorter.

Pâté brisée

  • 2 cups (500 mL) cake-and-pastry flour, sifted
  • Generous pinch of salt
  • 1/2 lb (250 g) butter, cubed and frozen
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) cider vinegar

Combine flour and salt in bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle. Turn to medium-low speed and mix until butter is well dispersed but still slightly clumpy. Add vinegar and 1/4 cup (50 mL) water and continue to mix. Add up to — but not more than — another 1/4 cup (50 mL) water to help dough to ball up. Do not overmix or the pastry will be tough. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and let rest in refrigerator for 2 hours before rolling out.

Sautéed chanterelles or other woodland mushrooms

  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) butter
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) onion, minced
  • 8 oz (225 g) wild mushrooms, trimmed, quartered or sliced depending on size
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) garlic, minced
  • Pinch each of salt and white pepper
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) white wine
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) parsley, rosemary and sage, minced and combined

Heat oil and butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and mushrooms; cook, stirring frequently. When mushrooms begin to soften, add garlic. Season with salt and pepper. One minute later, deglaze with wine and stir in herbs. Correct seasoning.

Maple walnut vinaigrette

  • 6 tbsp (90 mL) maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup (75 mL) olive oil
  • 1/4 cup (50 mL) champagne vinegar
  • 3 tbsp (45 mL) walnut oil
  • Pinch each salt and pepper

Whisk all ingredients together. Adjust seasoning.