GCC: Menu 4 - Wild Mushroom Tartlets

After last weeks difficulties with the Empanadas, I was a bit worried going in with the Gutsy Cook menu.  First it involved making another dough for the tarts, Hollandaise sauce (A first for me) and my cooking schedule this past weekend sort of exploded all over the place, up till late saturday I was not even sure I was going to be able to make them at all.

But, once I’m committed to something, its hard for me to say no.

So, I started with a bit of research about dough that gets used for the tartles and found that the recipe in the Kitchen Bible is pretty standard to everything that is out there.  In fact it was the same recipe in 5 different cookbooks that I use to cross-reference.

Relief flow through me.  This was going to be a piece of cake.

And it was.

The dough is pretty easy, if you use your handy food processor, which forever and ever will be my go to for making pie crust, tart dough and anything that involves the words “until it resembles coarse bread crumbs”.  Because, I’m sorry, but I don’t think making this by hand I will get to the point of feeling it resemble coarse nothing.

So, into the food processor it went and 3 minutes later it was in the refrigerator taking a chill.  The dough was a complete success, rolling it out and placing in the tart baking shells went smoothly and no swearing was heard from the kitchen.

I was crossing my finger that this was going to be the theme - EASY.

The mushrooms filling was came together pretty fast as well.  I went the route of using a package that had a wild mushroom medley, so I had a bit of everything - Crimini, Shiitake, Oyster and baby bella.  Pretty good mix if you ask me.  I had a bag of dry porcini mushrooms, which the original recipe called for, so I was set.

By the way, since I love to give you guys bits of tips and ramdom information here is one:

Early greeks and Romans were among the first to cultivate mushrooms and enjoy them in the wide array of dishes.  In fact Fungi were so highly prized in early Roman times that no mere servant was allowed to cook them.  Aristocrats prepare their own mushrooms dishes in special silver vessels called boleteria, which is a derivative of Bolutus, which means a genus of Fungus.  Guest could tell where they stood in their host esteem by the number and variety of mushrooms dishes served to them.  

Also, did you know that Mushrooms can be used for dyeing wool and other natural fibers? Yep, the chromophores of mushroom dyes are organic compounds and produce strong and vivid colors, and all colors of the spectrum can be achieved with mushroom dyes. Before the invention of synthetic, dyes mushrooms were the source of many textile dyes.

So as you can see the mushroom is not just for cooking.

I personally love them and I cook with them often, I try to incorporate them into everything, glad to know that if I’m ever in the need to make my own textile I can use them for that too.

Back to the recipe for the filling.  

I stayed pretty close to the cooking method, but of course, like in any savory cooking, it hard not to put your own spin into it, so I did do the following things a bit differently:

Used about 2 tablespoon of dry white wine when I was cooking the mushrooms, as well as added about 1 tablespoon of the left over liquid from when I reconstituted the dried porcini.  I also added some fresh herbs - chopped thyme and rosemary - what can I say, I have both of those herbs growing on my kitchen window, I can not help myself and NOT add them to anything that’s on the stove.

I then incorporated them into the cream cheese and put everything aside till the next day.

Because, I needed all my concentration for another first for me.

The recipe called for the tartle to be topped with Hollandaise sauce.


I have made mayonaise from scratch, Béchamel,  but Hollandaise? Never.  That is why brunch exist people! So you can go to the restaurant and have those egg benedict and have some else worry about putting a creamy sauce on top of those poached eggs.

But, once more I talked myself that this was going to be a piece of cake - I was learning to make one of the five sauces in the French haute cuisine mother sauce repertoire, I was INVINCIBLE, in my ZONE, I could do this, I needed to do this! 

I was nuts!

The Kitchen Bible has 3 different versions of the Hollandaise.  One seems to be the “long” route and the other two a bit quicker.  I actually took all three and just to make sure I was not going to make a mess of it, I refer to two other cookbooks in my library.

I wanted all the BASES COVERED.

All of them called for white wine vinegar in order to acidifying the egg yolks to aid in the formation of their emulsion.  I, of course, covered my bases so well, that I DID NOT HAVE WHITE WINE VINEGAR.  So, I got creative and used dry white wine and 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar - there my own homemade white wine vinegar.  I also wanted to give it a flavor kick, so I used crushed pepper corns and shallots when I was reducing the wine and vinegar.  The rest I follow the instructions, by warming the eggs over a pot full of simmering water until they reached a thick, creamy light texture.  Then, once this is done and you do the happy dance around your kitchen, you slowly start to add the melted butter until everything becomes shiny and buttery.  You finish off seasoning it with salt, white pepper and for a kick, a bit of lemon juice.

Once you congratulations yourself in crossing off this off your kitchen bucket list, you pour it on top of the filled mushroom tarts and cook in the oven for 10 minutes, until they take a golden glow.  And you served them lukewarm.

The feedback was very posititive on these:

Tom: “I really like them, the creamy mushroom filling with the smooth Hollandaise sauce pairs off nicely - who knew?  And you should be proud, the sauce will kick ass in any brunch”

My mother: “I like them too, this will be great as quick appetizers in a party, you make them bite size, in mini pans - watch total hit”.

She is right, as soon as I took a bite, I did imagine them as the perfect party bite.  You can make them well ahead and then finish them off on the day of the party by topping them with the Hollandaise and serving them lukewarm.

At this point I did regret of passing by the second choice in the menu - the Vanilla Custards.  Because after we finished eating them, we all wanted something sweet.

But, there is always tomorrow.

Don’t forget to check out the other Gutsy Cooks to see what was their take on this week’s menu choice.