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SEASONAL RECIPES

Recipe: Bake a rich, elegant mushroom tart with puff pastry for a holiday spread

Mushroom TartSally Pasley Vargas for The Boston Globe

Serves 4

A savory tart piled with golden mushrooms on a layer of Parmesan is elegant for lunch or a supper holiday spread. Make this tart in stages by pre-baking the pastry up to a day ahead (store, wrapped in foil, at room temperature) and cooking the mushrooms a day ahead (refrigerate in a covered container). Then bake the tart early in the day and reheat it just before serving. For this recipe, I borrowed a technique from my friend Helen Rennie, a Natick cooking teacher and YouTube content creator, who, in turn, borrowed it from America's Test Kitchen's Lan Lam. In a video, Helen provides in-depth details of how to cook mushrooms using the STB (steam then brown) method. First you soften cut-up mushrooms in wine in a covered skillet. When the liquid evaporates, you remove the lid and keep cooking until the mushrooms turn a deep golden brown. This works best with firm mushrooms, such as cremini, button, or portobello. Then spoon them into a flaky round of puff pastry that's been baked in advance and bake again briefly. It's a rich and festive tart, perfect for your vegetarian guests.

  • Flour (for sprinkling)

  • 1

    sheet (10 to 12 ounces) all-butter puff pastry, defrosted overnight in the refrigerator

  • pounds cremini, button, or portobello mushrooms, halved, quartered, or thickly sliced, if large

  • ½

    cup white wine

  • 1

    tablespoon olive oil

  • ¼

    teaspoon salt

  • 2

    tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 3

    shallots, halved and thinly sliced

  • 2

    tablespoons fresh thyme leaves

  • 2

    tablespoons extra white wine, vegetable stock, or water (for deglazing)

  • Black pepper, to taste

  • ½

    cup shredded Parmesan cheese

  • Extra sprigs fresh thyme (for garnish)

  • 1. Slide an oven rack into the lowest position in the oven. Set the oven at 400 degrees. Have on hand a baking sheet, a 12-inch square of parchment paper, pie weights or dried beans, a 9-inch tart pan with a removable rim, and a large skillet.

  • 2. On a lightly floured counter, unfold the pastry sheet. Roll it into a 12-inch square (if it is not that size already). Lift up the pastry and set it on top of the tart pan. Stretching the dough as little as possible, lift the edges of the dough as you fit it firmly into the pan. With a rolling pin, roll over the top of the tart to trim the excess dough. With the tines of a fork, prick the bottom of the tart in several places. Set it on the baking sheet. Freeze for 10 minutes.

  • 3. Remove the baking sheet holding the tart pan from the freezer. Crumble the parchment, set it over the dough, and fill the tart shell with the pie weights or beans. Set on the lowest shelf in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes.

  • 4. Remove the pan from the oven. Lift off the parchment and pie weights or beans (save them for another use). Return the pan to the oven. Continue baking for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the bottom of the dough is lightly browned. If it has puffed in places, press the bottom and sides flat against the pan with a fork.

  • 5. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium-high heat, combine the mushrooms, 1/2 cup wine, oil, and salt. Cover the pan with a lid and bring to a boil. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the wine evaporates. Check the liquid in the pan after about 8 minutes. Once the wine has evaporated, remove the lid, and stir the mushrooms over the heat for 4 to 6 minutes more, or until they turn a deep golden brown.

  • 6. Push the mushrooms to one side of the skillet. Move the skillet so the space you cleared is over medium heat. Add the butter, shallots, and thyme to the space. Cook, stirring the shallots often, for 5 minutes. or until they wilt and soften.

  • 7. Add 2 tablespoons extra wine, stock, or water to the pan. Set the whole pan over medium heat. Stir the shallots and mushrooms together, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen the brown bits, for 2 minutes. Add a generous pinch of pepper. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, if you like.

  • 8. Spread the Parmesan over the bottom of the tart shell. Spoon the mushrooms and shallots on top. Bake for 10 minutes, or until the mushrooms are hot all the way through.

  • 9. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Set the tart pan over a small bowl and let the ring fall away. Transfer the tart to a flat serving plate. Garnish with thyme sprigs.

Sally Pasley Vargas

Serves 4

A savory tart piled with golden mushrooms on a layer of Parmesan is elegant for lunch or a supper holiday spread. Make this tart in stages by pre-baking the pastry up to a day ahead (store, wrapped in foil, at room temperature) and cooking the mushrooms a day ahead (refrigerate in a covered container). Then bake the tart early in the day and reheat it just before serving. For this recipe, I borrowed a technique from my friend Helen Rennie, a Natick cooking teacher and YouTube content creator, who, in turn, borrowed it from America's Test Kitchen's Lan Lam. In a video, Helen provides in-depth details of how to cook mushrooms using the STB (steam then brown) method. First you soften cut-up mushrooms in wine in a covered skillet. When the liquid evaporates, you remove the lid and keep cooking until the mushrooms turn a deep golden brown. This works best with firm mushrooms, such as cremini, button, or portobello. Then spoon them into a flaky round of puff pastry that's been baked in advance and bake again briefly. It's a rich and festive tart, perfect for your vegetarian guests.

Flour (for sprinkling)
1sheet (10 to 12 ounces) all-butter puff pastry, defrosted overnight in the refrigerator
pounds cremini, button, or portobello mushrooms, halved, quartered, or thickly sliced, if large
½cup white wine
1tablespoon olive oil
¼teaspoon salt
2tablespoons unsalted butter
3 shallots, halved and thinly sliced
2tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
2tablespoons extra white wine, vegetable stock, or water (for deglazing)
Black pepper, to taste
½cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Extra sprigs fresh thyme (for garnish)

1. Slide an oven rack into the lowest position in the oven. Set the oven at 400 degrees. Have on hand a baking sheet, a 12-inch square of parchment paper, pie weights or dried beans, a 9-inch tart pan with a removable rim, and a large skillet.

2. On a lightly floured counter, unfold the pastry sheet. Roll it into a 12-inch square (if it is not that size already). Lift up the pastry and set it on top of the tart pan. Stretching the dough as little as possible, lift the edges of the dough as you fit it firmly into the pan. With a rolling pin, roll over the top of the tart to trim the excess dough. With the tines of a fork, prick the bottom of the tart in several places. Set it on the baking sheet. Freeze for 10 minutes.

3. Remove the baking sheet holding the tart pan from the freezer. Crumble the parchment, set it over the dough, and fill the tart shell with the pie weights or beans. Set on the lowest shelf in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes.

4. Remove the pan from the oven. Lift off the parchment and pie weights or beans (save them for another use). Return the pan to the oven. Continue baking for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the bottom of the dough is lightly browned. If it has puffed in places, press the bottom and sides flat against the pan with a fork.

5. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium-high heat, combine the mushrooms, 1/2 cup wine, oil, and salt. Cover the pan with a lid and bring to a boil. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the wine evaporates. Check the liquid in the pan after about 8 minutes. Once the wine has evaporated, remove the lid, and stir the mushrooms over the heat for 4 to 6 minutes more, or until they turn a deep golden brown.

6. Push the mushrooms to one side of the skillet. Move the skillet so the space you cleared is over medium heat. Add the butter, shallots, and thyme to the space. Cook, stirring the shallots often, for 5 minutes. or until they wilt and soften.

7. Add 2 tablespoons extra wine, stock, or water to the pan. Set the whole pan over medium heat. Stir the shallots and mushrooms together, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen the brown bits, for 2 minutes. Add a generous pinch of pepper. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, if you like.

8. Spread the Parmesan over the bottom of the tart shell. Spoon the mushrooms and shallots on top. Bake for 10 minutes, or until the mushrooms are hot all the way through.

9. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Set the tart pan over a small bowl and let the ring fall away. Transfer the tart to a flat serving plate. Garnish with thyme sprigs.Sally Pasley Vargas