A slice of fall, that's what this pie is. Whether you call it a tart, a pie, or a galette, it doesn't change the lusciousness of a crisp and flaky (gluten free!) pastry encasing a creamy layer of sautéed leeks and earthy mushrooms. Foraged wild mushrooms are a treat, but it's equally tasty with ones you've 'foraged' in the grocery store. And the super easy crust means no fiddling with difficult pastry! (Skip to recipe.)
It's that time of year again! Here in the north, the honey mushrooms were at their peak just a short time ago. And when my mushroom hunting friend, Alex, called to invite me to come along on a mushroom adventure, I charged out the door to join her. It's been a few years since my last Honey Mushroom harvest, and I was so excited to hear that conditions were right for another stellar Honey Mushroom Year. I'm a real novice when it comes to mushroom hunting, and restrict myself to only the few varieties I know well, thanks to Alex's tutelage. Morels, giant puffballs, and honey mushrooms are the only ones I am completely comfortable identifying, so the call of a Honey Mushroom hunt was cause for some celebratory hooting and hollering.
Pails in hand, we headed off.
The mushrooms were everyewhere! Around the base of poplar trees:
Clustered on dead tree stumps:
Or popping out of the ground through the leaves:
After only a few hours of traipsing through the dense underbrush, scratched and scraped from sliding down embankments and crawling over fallen logs and under fallen trees, twigs tangled in our hair, burrs in our clothes, we were triumphant and grinning with our treasures!
Honey mushrooms have a lovely earthy mushroom flavour - they are the favourites of many Eastern European mushroom hunters. After sorting and cleaning them, I like to cut the stems in pieces and tear the caps into bite-sized pieces (leaving small ones whole). I sauté them in butter until all the liquid has cooked out, then cool them and pack them into small freezer bags in recipe-sized portions to freeze.
I used some of our mushroom haul in this leek and mushroom tart (I've made it twice in the last two weeks). It turns those delicate mushrooms, plus some thick fresh leeks from our garden, into a gourmet delight.
The crust is tender, flaky, and crumbly, but firm enough to hold a slice in your hand to eat it if you wish - a triumph of gluten free pastry. (If you don't wish to make it gluten free, just use your favourite regular pastry for a 9-inch pie.) Making this mushroom tart in a galette format means you don't have to fiddle to get a perfect pie. Just roll out the pastry, spread on the filling, and fold up the edges any old way, so long as they hold in all that goodness. The more rustic the shape, the prettier this free-form pie looks, in my opinion. The filling has a layer of unsweetened almond frangipane (almond flour and egg) on the bottom to form a silky base for the leek and mushrooms. This keeps the crust from getting soggy, plus it adds fantastic nutty flavour. On top is a layer of creamy sautéed leeks, then it's all topped with that wonderful buttery mushroom crown.
Leek & Mushroom Tart - as Easy as Pie!
Just make your pastry, then chill it for a half hour (or overnight). Roll it out between two sheets of parchment paper, and peel off the top sheet. Now spread on the almond layer, then top with the leeks and mushrooms.
Now use the parchment paper to help you fold up the sides to partially enclose the filling.
Then brush it with an egg wash to help it get beautifully shiny and golden while baking.
Bake it and voilà.
This Leek and Mushroom Tart serves up the flavours of forest and garden in one elegant and crazy delicious little parcel.
Leek and Mushroom Tart
Gluten Free Galette Pastry Crust (or if you're not gluten-free, you can use your own favourite pastry recipe for a regular 9-inch pie crust):
- 2 tablespoons finely ground golden flax seeds
- 4 tablespoons water
- 1½ cups (200gms) gluten free flour blend (or regular flour for non-gluten-free)
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ cup (113gms) cold lard (or butter)
- 2 tablespoons unflavoured natural yogurt
For the Leek and Mushroom Filling:
- 4 cups (350gms) torn wild mushrooms, or regular button mushrooms (one generous cup, cooked)
- 2 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme (or 1½ teaspoons fresh thyme leaves)
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 2 large leeks (4 cups/400gms when cleaned and sliced)
- ¼ cup (60ml) heavy cream/whipping cream
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup (50gms) almond flour
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 egg yolk + 1 teaspoon water
- a few sprigs of fresh thyme, optional
Make the galette pastry crust: Soak the ground flax seeds in the water for 10 minutes to let it gel. Put the flour, baking powder, and salt into a mixing bowl. Cut in the lard with a pastry cutter or two butter knives until it is the size of peas. Add the gelled flax seeds and the yogurt. Keep pressing and squeezing the lard and flour between your fingers until it is all worked and you can press the dough into a ball. Shape the dough ball into a flattened disk and wrap in plastic food wrap. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.
Make the Leek & Mushroom Tart Filling: Tear the mushrooms into smaller pieces with your fingers for a more rustic looking tart.
Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, ½ teaspoon of the salt, the pepper, and the thyme. Sauté until the mushrooms have released all their moisture and keep on cooking until all the liquid evaporates. Scrape into a bowl and set aside.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter to the skillet and melt it over medium heat. Add the sliced leeks and the remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Cook and stir until the leeks are wilted and translucent (about 5 minutes). Remove from the heat and stir in the whipping cream. Set aside.
In a small bowl, stir together the whole egg, almond flour, and nutmeg. Set aside.
Assemble and Bake the Tart: Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
Roll out the pastry crust between two sheets of parchment paper until it is a large circle that's 13 or 14 inches (33 - 36 cm) in diameter. Peel off the top sheet of parchment paper. Slide the pastry, along with the bottom sheet of parchment paper, onto a large rimless baking sheet or a pizza pan.
Spread the egg and almond flour paste into a 9-inch (23cm) circle in the center of the pastry. Spread the leek and cream mixture evenly over the almond mixture. Then spread the mushrooms evenly over the leek mixture.
Fold the pastry up over the edges of the filling, using the bottom sheet of parchment paper to help lift and fold the pastry into place. You will need to pleat the pastry every few inches so it lays down flat all the way around the tart. Pinch or patch any spots that tear open. The center of the filling will remain uncovered. Arrange a few sprigs of fresh thyme in the center of the tart, if desired. (Leave the bottom piece of parchment paper in place while you bake the pie.)
Whisk together the egg yolk and teaspoon of water, then brush that all over the pastry.
Bake for ~45 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown at the edges. Let cool 5 minutes before cutting, and serve warm.
Cut into 6 or 8 pieces.
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