Ham & Mushroom Tart with Rosemary & Gruyere

ham mushroom tart 11 Ham & Mushroom Tart with Rosemary & Gruyere

My youngest sister is a really fantastic cook. She’s a total cake boss and makes other delicious things, like baked yams with piles of butter and brown sugar, roast hams with wedges of Bosc pear, and this mushroom tart, which made an appearance at the last few family dinners and was so good I would have gladly forsaken the turkey (and the stuffing, and the mashed potatoes) for it. It’s a rich, dense, cheesy-creamy-buttery tart – the sort every 80′s quiche aspires to be.

mushroom tart Collage Ham & Mushroom Tart with Rosemary & Gruyere
mushroom tart Collage 2 Ham & Mushroom Tart with Rosemary & Gruyere

If I called this a ham quiche, it wouldn’t do it justice. It deserves more words. It’s no quiche Lorraine. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

My sisters’ are long and elegant, baked in rectangular tart tins with removable bottoms and cut crosswise into slices. Mine is round because much rummaging around in the basement resulted in the discovery of many spiders and one Santa suit but zero tart pans of the rectangular variety. I used mine as a vehicle for leftover ham bits – and I figured if two thirds of a cup of grated Gruyère is good, a full cup is better, and a cup and a half even trumps that. If Gruyère isn’t your favourite, I imagine aged Gouda or white cheddar would be equally fab.

ham mushroom tart 5 585x408 Ham & Mushroom Tart with Rosemary & Gruyere

I used rosemary because that’s what was here, and fresh crimini mushrooms (they look like brown button mushrooms) rather than reconstitute the dried kind, which was called for in the original recipe, but I’ve never been much fond of doing, with all the rubberiness and the gritty-bottomed leftover mushroom water. Really, you could sauté any number of ingredients (spinach! kale! onions! peppers!) and spread them out over the bottom of this buttery crust, pour the rich egg custard overtop and bake it, scattered with more cheese. But this – it’s like rich mushroom soup pie. In a very good way.

ham mushroom tart 2 Ham & Mushroom Tart with Rosemary & Gruyere

Ham & Mushroom Tart with Rosemary & Gruyere

Inspired by Bon Appétit, May 1994

Crust:
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup chilled butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup cold water

Filling:
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2-4 Tbsp. butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 lb cremini, brown or button mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary and/or thyme
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. Cognac, sherry or brandy (optional)
1/2 cup finely diced ham
1 cup grated Gruyère, aged Gouda or white cheddar
3/4 cup heavy (whipping) cream
2 large egg yolks
1 large egg

To make the crust, in a bowl (or the bowl of a food processor) combine the flour and salt, then pulse or blend in the butter until almost combined – the mixture should resemble coarse meal. Add the water and stir until the dough comes together. Let it sit on the countertop for 20 minutes to rest – or stick it in the fridge if it’s warm.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to a 10-12-inch circle – just bigger than a 9 or 10 inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Fit it into the pan and fold the edges over inward, making a double-thick crust; trim to about 1/8-inch above the edge of the pan. (I used a larger pan and so didn’t do this – just trimmed it to within 1/8 inch without folding it over.) Preheat oven to 375°F and chill the crust for 20-30 minutes.

To make the filling, heat the oil and butter in a heavy skillet set over medium-high heat. Saute the onion and mushrooms until soft; add the rosemary, season with salt and pepper and continue cooking until all the liquid has cooked off and the mushrooms are starting to turn golden. If you like, add a shot of Cognac, sherry or brandy and cook until it evaporates. Stir in the ham.

Line the crust with foil and fill with dried beans or pie weights; bake until golden, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle half the cheese over the bottom of the crust. Cover with the mushroom mixture. Whisk together the cream, yolks and egg – add a few extra snippets of thyme if you like – and pour the custard over the mushrooms. Scatter with the remaining cheese.

Bake for 30 minutes, until set and golden. Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold.

Serves 12.

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April 22 2014 | appetizers and breakfast and one dish | 10 Comments »

Carrot Scones with Cream Cheese Schmear

Carrot scones beauty Carrot Scones with Cream Cheese Schmear

I have a hard time not mixing up a batch of scones every morning of the week. When it happens to be Easter morning, and we’re counting down the minutes to head over to Grandma’s house for an epic full-contact Hunger Games Easter egg hunt (5 boys between 5 and 10) I have a reasonable excuse to bake a batch. And just now, having read a sad tale of failed carrot cake and woe over wasted carrots and the grating thereof, it occurred to me that carrot scones should totally be an Easter morning thing. Right?

Carrot scones 5 Carrot Scones with Cream Cheese Schmear

With a honeyed cream cheese schmear that I not even intentionally served in an egg shaped ramekin?

Carrot scones 10 Carrot Scones with Cream Cheese Schmear

These are like a delicious marriage of carrot cake and scone, with a crunchy edge and steamy middle that makes a perfect vehicle for cream cheese – or butter and a drizzle of maple syrup or honey.

Hop to it! Happy Easter!

Carrot Scones with Cream Cheese Schmear

From Alice Eats: A Wonderland Cookbook by Pierre and I

Scones:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, chilled and cut into bits
1 large carrot, coarsely grated (about 1 cup)
3/4 cup milk, half and half or 18% cream
1 large egg
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, pecans or raisins

Schmear:
1 8 oz (250 g) pkg. cream cheese
2–4 Tbsp milk, half and half or 18% cream
1 Tbsp honey
1/4 tsp vanilla

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

In a bowl, stir together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Add the butter and blend with a fork or pastry blender (or pulse the mixture in the bowl of a food processor) until almost blended, with pieces of butter the size of a pea remaining. Add the grated carrots and toss to combine.

In a small bowl, stir together the milk and egg; add to the carrot mixture along with the chopped walnuts or raisins and stir just until the dough comes together.

On a parchment-lined baking sheet, pat the dough into a circle that’s about an inch thick. (For smaller scones, divide the dough in half and pat into two circles.) Cut into 8 wedges with a sharp knife, and pull the scones apart from each other, leaving an inch or so between them.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden.

To make the cream cheese schmear, beat the cream cheese, milk, honey and vanilla until the mixture is smooth, fluffy and spreadable. Serve with the scones.

Makes about 8 scones.

pixel Carrot Scones with Cream Cheese Schmear
button print gry20 Carrot Scones with Cream Cheese Schmear

April 20 2014 | bread and breakfast | 4 Comments »

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