Friday, January 15, 2010

Seductive Leek and Mushroom Tart

You might as well serve this alluring tart in the boudoir.
My savory seductress here elicited actual moans from my dinner guests. I kid you not. They were moaning. Who knew sautéed leeks and shitakes, rich gruyere, fresh marjoram and a kiss of marsala, all nestled in a buttery crust would make for such exciting foreplay. So what if there was no cuddling afterwards. I’ll take what I can get.

Whether you're a virgin or you like it rough, this crust is easily doable. It's meant to be rustic, so you can't really screw it up. If you do misbehave, you can quickly make amends with a little massaging. For years I used the dreaded ‘C’ word (Crisco), but then I wised up to the evils of hydrogenated oil and switched to butter. I also cut the flour and fat together by hand with two knives but recently switched to the food processor. It's surprisingly easy this way. Last time I used another of Martha Stewart's Pâte Brisée crust recipes that called for some cornmeal, so I have included that option.

I looked at a lot of different recipes before striking out on my own with the filling, and let me tell you, this tart is no prude. She's open to anything. I've used both cremini and shitake shrooms, but this time I was monogamous with shitakes. I also mixed cheeses like swiss and asiago which have a nice bite, but for this one, I used all gruyere. Feel free to pick thyme over marjoram, a combination of both, or the herbs of your choice. Don't be afraid to get down-and-root-vegetable dirty. Your orgy dinner party will be better than adult cable.


Both the Pâte Brisée recipe and the Cornmeal Pâte Brisée recipe are from Martha Stewart. While my photos show the all-flour one, I think I prefer the cornmeal version. Try them both and decide for yourself.

Pâte Brisée

Pâte brisee is the French version of classic pie or tart pastry. Pressing the dough into a disc rather than shaping it into a ball allows it to chill faster. This will also make the dough easier to roll out, and if you freeze it, it will thaw more quickly.

Makes 1 double-crust or 2 single-crust 9- to 10-inch pies

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (for Cornmeal Pâte Brisée, replace ½ cup flour with ½ cup cornmeal)

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces

1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water

In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, salt, and sugar. Add butter, and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, 8 to 10 seconds.

With machine running, add ice water in a slow, steady stream through feed tube. Pulse until dough holds together without being wet or sticky; be careful not to process more than 30 seconds. To test, squeeze a small amount together: If it is crumbly, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time.

Divide dough into two equal balls. Flatten each ball into a disc and wrap in plastic. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill at least 1 hour. Dough may be stored, frozen, up to 1 month.


1 TBSP butter

1 TBSP olive oil

2 leeks

½ an onion

8 - 10 good-size shitake or crimini mushrooms (or a combination of both)

¾ cup gruyere cheese

Handful of fresh marjoram or thyme (or a combination of both; can use dried if you don’t have fresh, but use less than if using fresh)

Salt, to taste

Pepper, to taste

2 - 3 TBSP marsala wine (or more if you need it)

Preheat oven to 425º.

Sauté leeks and onions in butter and olive oil until slightly golden. Add shrooms, herbs, salt and pepper (if you can’t fit the shrooms in the pan, sauté in a separate batch, and be sure to add the wine). When leeks, onions and shrooms are soft and caramelized, deglaze pan with marsala wine.

Roll out the dough on a piece of parchment paper. Place parchment paper and dough on a baking sheet. Put all of the cheese on the dough except a small handful. Add the rest of ingredients. Fold over dough in rustic tart fashion, and then put the remaining cheese on top. You can add an egg wash for color if you like.

Bake at 425º for 10 minutes, then reduce oven to 350º for 20-30 min or until crust is golden and filling is bubbly. Let cool at least 10 minutes.

Makes 4 main course servings.


  1. that tart looks like it's about to take over the world.

    which would be great!

  2. that tart looks like the yummiest thing ive never eaten!

  3. With this delectable dish you've stimulated my imagination on a multitude of levels. I am inspired to whip it together - or a variation thereof - for a significant other in my life.