When I developed the original version of this recipe for a Gourmet column on mushrooms in the mid-eighties, porcini and enoki mushrooms were considered very exotic; the white button mushroom was still king. These days you see all sorts of once exotic mushrooms in the supermarket—portobello, shiitake, chanterelle, etc.—and they don’t cost nearly as much as they used to.
I am wild about mushrooms of all kinds and encourage you to substitute your favorites for the ones I’ve built into this recipe—although you might want to keep in the dried porcini. Dried porcini boast the most extraordinarily concentrated flavor, as does the juice in which you’ve resuscitated them. The enoki mushrooms are in the recipe mostly just for crunch and flair—they look so pretty baked on top of the tart—and the white button mushrooms play the role of mushroom helper, a cheap mushroom filler. Make your own pie crust or pick one up at the supermarket.
This tart makes a very nice vegetarian centerpiece for a Saturday lunch or brunch. Round it out with a salad of some kind.
Serves 6 as a main course, 8 as an appetizer
1 recipe Basic Pie Pastry Dough
1 ounce dried porcini
1/2 cup dry Madeira
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 pound cultivated white mushrooms, finely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried
1/4 pound cream cheese
1/2 cup whole milk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
One 3 1/2-ounce package enoki mushrooms, ends removed
Fresh lemon juice for brushing mushrooms
Roll the dough into an 1/8-inch-thick round on a lightly floured surface and fit it into a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Cut off excess dough from the edges and prick the bottom lightly with a fork. Chill for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line the tart shell with foil, fill with pie weights, dried beans, or rice, and bake in the lower third of the oven for 20 minutes. Carefully remove the weights and foil. Return the shell to the oven, and bake for 10 minutes more or until light golden. Cool in the pan on a wire rack.
Combine the porcini, Madeira, and 1/2 cup cold water in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, cover, and remove from the heat. Set aside until the porcini are softened, about 30 minutes. Drain, reserving the liquid. Strain the liquid through a fine-mesh strainer lined with a double thickness of rinsed and squeezed cheesecloth. Rinse the porcini to remove any grit and chop fine.
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the cultivated mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, until the liquid the mushrooms give off has evaporated, about 15 minutes. Add the porcini, thyme, and strained liquid. Continue cooking over medium-high heat until all the liquid has evaporated. Stir in the cream cheese and season with salt and pepper. Pour into a large bowl and set aside to cool.
Turn on the oven to 350°F. Beat the milk and eggs in a small bowl until blended, then stir into the mushroom mixture. Pour into the tart shell and bake until slightly set in the center, about 20 minutes. (The filling will still be wobbly.) Arrange the enoki in a ring decoratively over the top of the filling and brush with lemon juice. Bake for 15 minutes longer or until firm and set in the center. Cool the tart on a wire rack for 10 minutes before serving.