Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Wood Blewit tart

  A mushroom tart is a fabulous thing, even more so when you've braved the pouring rain in search of Wood Blewits and come up trumps.  I stumbled upon a perfect circle of them, with probably a 3m diameter - exciting stuff!  I picked only the firmest mushrooms I could find and left the rest.  Blewits have a tendency to be maggot infested, so check the stems when you pick them and you'll be able to see if maggots have made their way up to the cap.  I'm not too bothered by the things to be quite honest, pick out the worst of them and chuck the rest in the pan.

Wood Blewits (Lepista nuda) have a strong, earthy taste, which goes well with the rich creamy sauce in this recipe - a real winter warmer.  Also look out for the similar species called the Field Blewit (Lepista saeva) - just as delicious as the Wood Blewit.

For Wood Blewit (Lepista nuda) identification, see here: Wood Blewit identification

Perfect circle of Wood Blewits

For the pastry:

I must admit I cheated a wee bit here, I was lazy and bought the Jus-Rol pre-rolled puff pastry from the supermarket, by all means make your own, I'm sure it would be nicer!  Butter the inside of the tin, cover with pastry, doesn't have to be neat, fill the centre with baking beads and put in the oven at 180ºC until it just starts to colour - you don't want to cook it completely, as it is going back in the oven when the filling is added. It helps to use a tin with a retractable bottom so you can get the tart out once it's cooked.

Reducing down the excess liquid the Wood Blewits gave off

Tart filling ingredients:

- Wood Blewits (or other wild mushroom)
- 1 large shallot
- 3 cloves of garlic
- Glug of sherry (or similiar)
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- Double cream
- 1 egg
- Fresh thyme
- Grated parmesan 
- Salt and pepper

Sweat off the shallot and garlic on a low heat until soft.  Clean and cut Wood Blewits in to decent size chunks and add to the pan, use more than you think you need as they'll shrink considerably.  As I picked these Blewits on a wet day, they gave out a lot of liquid, let this reduce for 10/15 minutes - don't drain it away, that's precious mushroom-y flavour!  After the mushrooms have been sweating down, add a generous glug of sherry and reduce. After the sherry has reduced, add a load of double cream, 1 tbsp of Dijon mustard, a small handful of fresh thyme and season well. Once you're happy with the creamy mushroom sauce add the egg to bind together the mixture and pour into the semi-cooked puff pastry.  Grate parmesan on top and add a few sprigs of thyme.  Bake at 180ºC until the the pastry is golden brown and the mushroom mixture starts to fizzle. Done!

This is serious winter warming comfort food - earthy, rich and creamy Blewits with a hint of sweetness from the sherry along with the crumbly puff pastry, yes please!

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