That’s the way the pastry crumbles

Dinner:  October 29, 2007

I love making savory tarts in the spring and fall months, when mushrooms and leafy greens are at their best. As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t make my own pastry because of lack of a food processor and the tiny amount of workspace we’ve got in our current kitchen, but I generally have good luck with a few favorite store-bought brands. Well, my luck gave out last night – actually, it’s probably less the fault of the pie shells and more the fact that I didn’t let them thaw enough. I opened the package, pulled the first crust out of its little aluminum tin to roll it out a bit on my floured board, and it immediately shattered. It was so brittle there was no hope of saving it, and since I was already getting a late start on dinner after a very slow commute home, I said to heck with it and decided to place my filling into the second, intact shell. Not quite what I had in mind, but it would have to do.

That filling was a couple of sliced shallots, a quarter pound of chanterelles, and about four big handfuls of chopped Swiss chard, seasoned with salt and sautéed in a bit of olive oil, all of it bound with 3 beaten eggs, 1/4 cup of crème fraiche, a cup of finely grated Gruyere cheese, salt, black pepper and a half teaspoon of Colman’s mustard powder. I spread the sautéed vegetable mixture in the bottom of the pie shell, poured the egg mixture on top, and added an additional 1/2 cup of grated Gruyere to the top of the tart before placing it into a 400 degree oven for 25 minutes.

I have to say that even though the tart didn’t look exactly as I had hoped it would (i.e., not something that could have just as easily come out of a box), it was darned tasty. I have really grown to love the addition of a little bit of dry mustard to creamy or custardy dishes because the bite it provides really seems to make the flavors in the dish pop, and in this instance it highlighted the earthy mushrooms and chard beautifully. All in all, this was a good meal that came together quickly, and was easy to put together after a long, hectic workday – I guess I can’t really ask for more than that.

9 thoughts on “That’s the way the pastry crumbles

  1. Max Criden says:

    The dish looks wonderful; that gruyere seems an inspired choice. I’ll have to try this out sometime!

  2. Well, Jennifer, this looks lovely and makes me want to try something similar. A quick question for you: If the pie shell had not shattered, how would you have proceeded? What kind of pan would you have used, for instance?

  3. Jennifer Hess says:

    Thanks, everyone!

    Terry, with respect to the pie shells, for a tart like this that has the custardy binder, I usually roll out the pie shell a bit on a floured board then put it into one of those fluted tart pans with the removable bottom. If I’m doing a less soupy tart (like roasted veggies or summer tomatoes), I’ll either press the pastry into a sheet pan or do a sort of rustic galette-type tart with the edges folded over.

  4. Daisy says:

    Thanks again for the inspiration. I made a commitment this summer to get more veggies in my diet and was looking for recipes to keep that commitment through the fall and winter months. Last night, I made my own version of this mushroom and swiss chard tart and it was delicious. Can’t wait to have some of the leftovers for lunch this afternoon. Your blog is definitely one of my go-to sites for recipe ideas. Thanks!

  5. Margo Morgan says:

    it doesn’t really take much space or any tools other than a pastry cutter to whip up a crust.

  6. Jennifer Hess says:

    Hi Margo – well, at the time this post was written, we really had NO counter space – I’m talking a workspace of about a square foot! And while we (mostly my husband) did take a few stabs at pastry making, our old kitchen just wasn’t the best environment for it. Now that we’ve moved, though, all bets are off. 🙂

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