Tarte aux champignons sauvages

wild mushroom tart2

Wild mushroom tart

This tart makes a fabulous start to a meal in autumn, when wild mushrooms are in season. Use chanterelles (girolles), porcinis (cèpes) or a combination. Alternatively, you can use other wild mushrooms available locally — or, if wild mushrooms are hard to find in your area, this tart works just fine with cultivated mushrooms.

For best results, make the tart as soon as possible after buying the mushrooms — or gathering them if you live near the woods… This will ensure maximum flavor. Wild mushrooms can be found in season at outdoor markets and high-quality produce shops throughout France. Elsewhere, if not available in shops or markets, wild mushrooms can be purchased via online sites, for example dartagnan.com in the States.

Serve the tart as a starter at dinner, or as a main course at lunchtime, accompanied by a salad and a good red wine, for example Médoc or Graves from Bordeaux, Chinon from the Loire Valley, or a Pinot Noir.

1 pound (450 g.) wild mushrooms
1 medium onion or 2 shallots
2 tsp. butter
1 tsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. parsley, roughly chopped
3/4 cup (180 ml) heavy cream
2 tbsp. crème fraîche or sour cream
1 egg yolk

1/2 tsp. salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 pâte brisée (savory pie dough)

Begin by making the pastry. Click here for the recipe. Pat the dough into a tart pan, a quiche pan or a pie plate. Flute the edges, using your thumbs, to create a pretty border. Refrigerate.

Clean the mushrooms to remove any clinging dirt and bits of the forest. If possible, simply brush them clean using a pastry brush. However, this is often insufficient to get the mushrooms clean. The solution is to wash them gently in a bowl of lukewarm water and then spin them dry in a salad spinner. Set the mushrooms on paper towels to drain.

Peel and chop the onion or shallots. Heat the butter in a skillet and sauté the onions over medium heat until they are wilted and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Set aside.

Cut any large mushrooms into manageable pieces. Medium-sized mushrooms may be left whole.

Heat the olive oil to sizzling in a separate skillet. Add the mushrooms and sauté until they have given off and reabsorbed their juices. Add the chopped parsley and sauté one minute more. Add 1/4 tsp. salt and grind in some black pepper. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to gas mark 6 (350 F, 180 C).

In a medium bowl, whisk together the creams and the egg yolk. Add the remaining 1/4 tsp. salt. Grind in some black pepper. Stir.

Assemble the tart: Spread the sautéed onions over the bottom of your tart shell. Scatter the mushrooms evenly on top of the onions. Ladle on the cream and yolk mixture.

Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the crust is a golden brown and the filling has set and is also starting to brown.

Serve hot or warm. Serves 6.

For a Russian flavor, use dill or a mixture of dill and cilantro in place of the parsley.

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