Mushroom & Taleggio Tart
Mushrooms beg for butter and garlic. They soften when a pinch of sea salt is added, their flavour intensifying as little rivulets of their juices are released. I used brown and ‘exotic’ mushrooms, paired with soft, yielding telaggio cheese to make an unconventional tart using puff pastry. Taleggio cheese is characterized by a pinkish brown rind, a strong smell but mild flavour. A blue cheese would overpower the subtlety of mushrooms, a mozzarella, while lovely, would be a bit too insipid. The taleggio adds creaminess and tang and completes the tart.
I’ve used the word tart loosely, if you’d excuse the pun. I used puff pastry in a pie dish, though a shortcrust would work wonderfully. I also made a smaller version with a pastry topping, in effect a pie as opposed to a tart.
I dotted the tart with ricotta, which adds a lovely creamy element, but leave it out if you wish
1 x roll butter puff pastry
2 T semolina
1/2 medium onion, finely diced
2 x sticks celery, tops and whites removed, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
280 g mushrooms (darker ones are more flavourful)
2 T butter
2 T flour
3/4 cup milk
1/8 t nutmeg
200 g Taleggio cheese
4 spring onions, snipped
salt, to taste.
1/3 tub ricotta (optional)
Heat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
Roll out the puff pastry, just a tad.
Grease a large and small pie tin and fold puff pastry into the tin, squeezing against and up along the fluted edges. Neaten off with a knife.
Leave pie tins in the fridge for 5 minutes.
Bake for 6 minutes, remove and set aside. Pastry will puff up and shrink away from sides.
In a wide based saucepan on medium heat, heat the butter and oil.
Fry onions and celery till soft.
Add mushrooms and garlic. Fry for 3-4 minutes.
Add salt. Remove and set aside.
Add butter and flour to pan. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring.
Add milk gradually and whisk till smooth. Add nutmeg and break cheese into sauce.
Allow to melt on low heat. Season with salt.
Add spring onions to mushrooms and mix into the sauce.
Sprinkle semolina onto puff pastry bases; this is to prevent the pastry getting soggy, though it will happen inevitably.
Add mushroom sauce over pastry.
Dot with ricotta if using.
Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 15-20 minutes.