Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Mushroom, Leek and Fourme d'Ambert Galette

Mushroom, leek,
Fourme d'Ambert Galette
Yeah, I went there. It all started with an episode of America's Test Kitchen, where wacky Chris Kimball and one of his expert chef minions set to cooking a 500 step mushroom, leek and Gorgonzola tart. Everything looked cringe-tastically complicated, from the start of putting together a dough that doesn't look like it's going to hold together, to chilling it, to working with it, to chilling it, to chopping up five hundred mushrooms, to rolling the dough, to making a pretty rustic tart, to brushing with egg wash, to actual baking. I sh*t you not, I felt like I had been watching the show for days by the time they finished the damn thing. But man, did it look delicious. It was sexy like a French farmer's daughter is sexy, and scruffy and inviting like a faithful mutt when you arrive home after a hard day in the fields. Yo, it was that kind of a crispy, flaky crust mushroom savory-lookin' tart. Feel me?
So big surprise, after sitting on my rump, horrified at how many steps to cook this thing, the first thing that the Bigger Half says when I ask him later in the week what I should cook for Sunday supper... "mushroom tart sounds good." DAMN YOU CHRIS KIMBALL!!!!
Since I don't have a subscription to Cook's Illustrated (though I really should invest in one), I went scouring the internet for a similar recipe, and found quite a few. I finally settled on one from the ever reliable and wonderful blog, Smitten Kitchen. It's a touch less fussy than the tart we had seen on America's Test Kitchen, mainly because the dough doesn't have that frustrating falling apart, chill, re-chill, etc phases. All that being said, I followed Smitten Kitchen's recipe almost exactly, step by step, though I did feel an overwhelming need to use some leeks, just as Chris Kimball had. So, basically, use the Smitten Kitchen recipe, but also have about three cups of thin-sliced, thoroughly washed leeks on hand.
And in we go.
Cooking the filling
The dough was fairly easy to put together, and if you follow the recipe, you should have no issues. After freezing the dry ingredients and butter, working together both with the pastry blender (love the pastry blender - see entry Biscuits Reloaded), I did have a little difficulty getting all the dough to come together with the wet ingredients. In the end, I added a touch more water, and pushed together the dough lumps with my hands, folding over, and pushing into a ball shape. Wrapped with plastic wrap, and into the fridge while prepping every single other thing.
Preparing the wet ingredients is not rocket science, but there is a lot of slicing and dicing to be done. Boil some water, soak your dried mushrooms, drain after thirty minutes, mince. Thinly slice all the fresh mushrooms. Chop up your thyme and rosemary, as well as your cloves of garlic (slightly more than the recipe, but I do love garlic... so sue me). Remember those leeks? Well, slice and set together with a bit less than the prescribed amount of chopped scallions (I used about 1/4 of a cup of chopped scallions instead of the whole amount). Warm up your butter in the frying pan, and start cooking up the ingredients as recommended in the recipe. Make sure after they're all cooked to allow to cool completely.
Tart is ready for the oven
Rolling out the dough is what it is... a little bit of a potential oh sh*t moment, but not if you take it easy and flour so nothing sticks. I rolled out to about a 1/4 of an inch thick, nice and round, and pricked the bottom of the tart. On goes the cooled filling, heaped so that there is about an inch and a half to two inches to spare, crumble on that decadent fourme d'ambert, sprinkle with salt and a few cracks of pepper, and get ready to pretty this thing up. Fold over one edge of the dough over the filling. Move to the right, and make another fold so that the edge kind of falls over the edge of the first lip that you made, and continue until you've wrapped up over the edges of all the filling in a nice symmetrical looking tart, so that all the folds are in the same direction. Oh, also unlike the original recipe, I brushed with a bit of egg wash (one egg and a touch of water whisked together) all along the new pretty folded over edge of the tart that we've made, and gave the crust another little sprinkling of nice big salt crystals. Vain? No, this tart is not vain. It's pampered.
Golden and resting
Into the 400 degree oven for about 35 minutes, and when it came out, it was gorgeous. A shiny, golden brown crust, the blue cheese having melted lovingly into all the crevices of those sliced mushrooms, and then the faint wintry smell of roasting rosemary and thyme. So earthy so lovely. Rest for five minutes.
The taste was epic. The second a knife slices through the tart, you hear the crunch, and the mushrooms start to push through to either the piece to the right of the knife or to the left. And then when the pie has been sliced, time to choose. The Bigger Half went for a big ol' piece. Every bite near the center corner was buttery, intensely savory, and the smell was enough to draw my cats out of their winter kitty coma, despite the absence of actual meat in the tart. The leeks were sweet and silky, breaking up the slippery umami of all those mushrooms. And then you eat your way through the crisp bottom of the tart toward the edge where you get that double whammy of buttery crust. I looked to my left as the figure next to me let out a primal, guttural laugh and shouted "That part is BOMB!!!!" Come now, Mr. Bond. You well know that no recipe with it's 500 steps and 700 mushrooms to be sliced could possibly stop me and my stomach...
A slice of heaven and worth the effort
So there you have it. Sexy like the French farmer's daughter. Scruffy and inviting like Ol' Yeller. Though I'm not sure either the woman nor the mutt would be quite as warm, filling, and satisfying as this mushroom tart.


One more glamour shot
For the pastry:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup ice water (I added a touch more... very dry out there)
Egg wash (1 egg, little water)

For the filling:

1/4 ounce dried wild mushrooms, such as chanterelles, porcini or shiitakes
1 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup sliced green onions
3 bit fat leeks, thinly sliced and thoroughly washed
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 lb. assorted fresh wild mushrooms, such as
chanterelles, porcini and shiitakes, brushed
clean and large mushrooms thinly sliced
1/2 lb. fresh button mushrooms, brushed clean and thinly sliced
5 ounces fourme d'ambert

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