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Fennel, Mushroom, and Roquefort Tart

I was in the mood for a savory, vegetable tart. I’d made, in the past, a Stilton and fennel tart, but that wasn’t quite right. And I have an old Williams-Sonoma recipe for a mushroom galette, but that wasn’t quite right either. So, I thought I’d mix and match, which turned out to be a good idea. Usually, I’d make a rough puff pastry, but I found this recipe for a savory tart crust on Smitten Kitchen, and it was different enough from my usual crust that I gave it a whirl.  In the end, the tart is a rich, savory, fulfilling main course.

Ingredients

1 small fennel bulb, stems removed, quartered and thinly sliced
1 small leek, white part only, quartered, thinly sliced and washed
8 oz. white button mushrooms or crimini mushrooms, wiped and sliced thin
6 oz. fresh wild mushrooms, wiped and sliced thin (I used oyster, but anything that looks good, or a mix, will do)
1/2 tsp dried sage
4 tbsp unsalted butter
4 oz. Roquefort cheese
2 eggs
1/4 cup whole milk
Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste.
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Tart crust, either store bought, or homemade

Equipment

9″ two-piece tart pan. Line the bottom with a round of parchment cut to fit.

Crust

If you’re using a Store-bought crust, preheat the oven to 350 degrees, gently place the crust in the tart pan, pressing it down into the edge, trim, then chill for 30 minutes. Place the pan on a cookie sheet, line the crust with foil, fill with beans or pie weights and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and weights, return the crust and bake for another 5-7 minutes, until the crust is light golden. Remove to a cooling rack.

If you’re making a crust from scratch, it doesn’t need to be blind baked. assemble the crust, line the tart pan, and tuck the crust in the fridge while you work on the filling.

Filling

In a 12″ cast iron skillet or saute pan, melt 2 tbsp of butter over medium low heat. Add the fennel and leek and cook, stirring frequently, until the fennel is soft, 20 minutes or so. Scrape the fennel and leek into a bowl, wipe the pan clean. Return the pan to the heat, add the remaining 2 tbsp of butter and add the mushrooms, stirring, until the mushrooms give up their liquid. Add the sage, a generous grinding of pepper, and a pinch of salt. Continue cooking until the liquid in the pan is gone, another 7-10 minutes. Scrape the mushrooms into the bowl with the fennel and leek, stir to combine.

Beat the eggs and milk together until combined.

Assembling the Tart

Take the tart crust from the fridge. Spread the filling evenly over the crust, pressing it gently flat but not compacting it. Crumble the Roquefort and scatter it over the mushrooms. Take the egg-milk mixture and pour evenly over the filling, top with the Parmesan cheese, and another few grinds of pepper.

Bake at 350 until well browned and fragrant, 30 minutes.  Remove to a cooling rack and cool until just lukewarm. Remove the tart from the tart pan, serve warm.

 

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Rosemary Sweet Potato Rolls

I had one sweet potato kicking around the pantry. I could have simply roasted it and eaten it, but, instead, decided to chase down a sweet potato roll recipe. The original is here, but I made some alterations, cutting out sugar and altering the glaze a bit. These look funny, since I cooked them in a cast iron frying pan. If you want nice looking, even rolls, cook them in a 9 x 13 baking pan.

Rolls

1/2 cup water (I used the water from boiling the sweet potato) 100-110 degrees
1/4 cup whole milk, 100-110 degrees
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp yeast
2 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp salt
6 tbsp butter, melted and cooled to lukewarm
2-1/2 tsp fresh rosemary, or 1 tbsp dried, minced
1 cup mashed sweet potato (putting it through a potato ricer or food mill will give you better results)
4-1/2 to 5 cups all purpose, unbleached flour.

Glaze

3 tbsp butter, melted
2 tbsp honey
2 tsp fresh rosemary, or 1 tbsp dried rosemary, minced
coarse sea salt

Mix the water, milk, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl let proof until frothy, 10 minutes or so. Add in the eggs and beat, then add the salt, butter, and rosemary, beat again. Add in the sweet potato and beat until well mixed. Add two cups of flour and mix until incorporated. Add two more cups and mix until incorporated. If you’re doing this by hand, you will, at this point, have to abandon your spoon and get your hands dirty, kneading the flour in. If the dough feels slack or sticky, gradually add the remaining flour. Otherwise, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until the dough feels smooth and slightly tacky, about ten minutes. Place in a covered container and let rise until doubled in size, roughly an hour.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 16 equal pieces. Shape your rolls and place them in a parchment-lined 9 x 13″ baking pan (you can oil it lightly, but I found this unnecessary). Cover the pan and let the rolls rise again, 45 minutes or so. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Make the glaze: Stir the butter, honey, and rosemary together. Brush the tops of the rolls with the glaze. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops are browned. Remove from the oven and brush once again with the glaze, scatter coarse sea salt over the rolls. Serve warm.

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Maple Shortbread Cookies

Sugaring season starts in mid-February in Vermont, and lasts until the trees bud. Showing up with a plate of these maple shortbread cookies to a “Sugar on Snow” dinner isn’t a bad idea. The maple isn’t overpowering, and the cookies aren’t overly sweet. If you don’t want to bother rolling them out and using a cookie cutter, you can always form the dough into a log, chill it, and slice rounds. But, really, making maple-leaf shaped cookies is half the fun.

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 egg yolk
3 cups all-purpose flour

In a stand mixer, beat the butter until it is light and airy. Add the sugar, beat until incorporated, then add the syrup and egg yolk. With the mixer on low, gradually add the flour, mixing until the dough is just combined. Shape the dough into a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate it for at least an hour (overnight is better).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two cookie sheets with parchment. Divide the dough in half, keeping one half in the fridge. Roll the other half out to 1/8″ thick, and cut with a cookie cutter. Save the dough scraps, put them back in the fridge as you roll out and cut the second half of the dough. Continue rolling and cutting until the scraps are all used up. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes, until the edges are slightly browned (the cookies may look undercooked in the middle, this is fine. They’ll firm up on the cooling rack). Depending on the size of your cookie cutter, this will make approximately 24 cookies.