May 2011

Truffle Tremor + Shiitake Mushroom Tart

Truffles are, in my experience, an intense love or hate connection.

And I am pleased, grateful even, to be an ardent fan. One of my favorite ways to appreciate truffles – whether it be truffle butter, truffle oil, truffle & salt or Truffle Tremor goat cheese, is with an  earthy mix of wild mushrooms… and then there’s buttery, flaky puff pastry. It’s important to choose your friends carefully, and you definitely want to make friends with puff pastry. Consider it your easy button. Put almost any flavors on top and your other friends will scramble  for the last bite.

I’m not certain why guests always seem impressed by puff pastry dishes [why yes, look at the brilliant way I am able to slide this pre-made dough from its box] but I won’t question it.  I’ve kept the background  flavors of this savory tart to the simple and sublime, allowing the Truffle Tremor to really shine. With its heady aroma, velvety texture and luxurious presence,  it has been said that Truffle Tremor is so sophisticated that it’s like biting into a black tie party…

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1 medium shallot, minced
1 T butter
6oz shiitake mushrooms, sliced and stems trimmed
2 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp kosher salt
two turns of freshly ground pepper
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed in fridge
1 egg [for the egg wash]
4 oz Truffle Tremor, coarsely chopped, rind included
1  1/2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves, stems removed
freshly grated nutmeg

Serves 4.

Saute minced shallots and butter on medium-high in medium sized saute pan for about two minutes, until starting to brown and crisp. Add the mushrooms and olive oil and saute on medium, stirring occasionally, for approx 10 minutes until lightly browned and most of the moisture is gone. Remove from heat and allow to cool while pre-baking your puff pastry. Preheat the oven to 400. place your puff pastry on a large piece of parchment paper which has been lightly floured to prevent sticking. Unfold to it’s full square and roll gently only as needed to straighten and make even. With a sharp knife, create an interior square border about 1 inch in width by scoring  the dough all the way around, while being careful not to cut through to the paper. Using a fork pierce the dough inside the frame only, in multiple spots to allow for air to release and pastry to flatten. Brush entire top of pastry with egg using a pastry brush to add a nice sheen to your crust and to create a  moisture barrier for your other ingredients. Bake for 15 minutes in center of oven. Remove and use fork to tamp down any puffed area in the center. Add sauteed mushrooms and chopped cheese – return to oven for 10 more minutes. If the pastry begins to become too brown, add a foil tent over just the crust area of the puff pastry.  Remove from oven, sprinkle with the fresh thyme leaves and add a light dusting of freshly grated nutmeg. Serve warm.

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