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Tuesday dinner with eat. live. travel. write.

By Ann | November 6, 2012

Something always goes wrong when I make pâte brisée  — either the dough is too wet (and it sticks), or too dry (and it cracks), or it shrinks in its pan when I blind bake it, and I find myself frustrated, sweaty, starving and ready to beat my oven with my French rolling pin. So when Mardi Michels from the lovely blog eat. live. travel. write. proposed a rustic mushroom tart for Tuesday dinner, I was skeptical.

Mardi, however, is a very persuasive lady. “I’ve been inspired by my recent trip to France to start making a lot more things I used to consider scary from scratch, like bread or pastry,” she says. “Pastry isn’t scary and it just tastes so much better than store bought.”

A blogger, Food Network Canada contributor, full-time French teacher to elementary school boys (and more), Mardi knows a lot about making complicated things simple. As part of her job, she runs a biweekly cooking class for boys aged nine to twelve, called Les Petits Chefs. When I found out these boys had made  their own pastry and savory tarts, I knew I had to try it, too.


“One myth about pastry is that it takes time — yet I’ve found a dough that works for me (for both sweet and savoury tarts or galettes) — even on a weeknight,” says Mardi. “Since it takes just a couple of minutes to whip up the pastry, then it sits for 30 minutes in the fridge, you have plenty of time to prepare the filling while it rests. Then, if you choose to make smaller tartelettes instead of one big galette or tart, they only take about 30 minutes to cook.

“A Tuesday night at my house, if we’re lucky, doesn’t involve any sort of event outside the house. Mondays and Wednesdays for me are cooking club nights so I tend to get home later, then spend a while editing pictures and writing up the sessions for my blog and the school blog. Tuesdays are a night I try not to plan much if I can help it so I do try to make something half-decent for dinner (towards the end of the week, our dinners can deteriorate a little as energy wanes!). Honestly, on the weekend days I spent most of my day on my feet cooking, photographing so on those days I am more than happy to eat something simple for dinner.

“I am loving rustic galettes right now –  simple enough for everyday but elegant enough that you can serve them to company. So versatile too in terms of the filling.  I even taught a version to my Petits Chefs boys’ cooking club with great success! If 9-12 year-olds can make pastry, well, anyone can! A favorite for the fall right now would be this rustic mushroom quiche.”


Rustic mushroom quiche
From Mardi Michels

Note from Ann: I was skeptical about the “ease” of pastry, so I timed myself while making it. It took 13 minutes 36 seconds to make the dough by hand, and just over 5 minutes to roll it out. Unfortunately, my quiche cooked a bit unevenly, perhaps because of a patchy oven, or maybe because I used a ceramic dish instead of metal pie tin. Next time I might line a tart pan with the dough, blind bake, and then fill the shell.

For the pastry:
1 1/2 cups flour
4 tablespoons cornmeal
pinch of salt
125 grams (1 stick) cold butter, cut into cubes
1 medium egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons ice water

For the filling:
3 cups mixed fresh mushrooms (I used baby bella and shiitake)
4 tablespoons olive oil (I used one)
2 teaspoons dried herbes de Provence (or thyme)
Salt and pepper

To assemble:
5 eggs, lightly whisked (I used three)
1 egg beaten for egg wash

For the pastry:
1. Sift the flour into a large bowl.
2. Add the cornmeal and salt and mix lightly with your fingers.
3. Add the cubed butter and, using your fingers, lightly rub in the butter to the flour/ cornmeal/ salt until is resembles breadcrumbs with some pieces the size of small peas.
4. Make a well in the middle of the flour mix and add the egg.
5. Mix the flour into the wet ingredients until it just starts to come together.
6. Add the water and incorporate until the dough just comes together. The dough should be firm enough to form a ball – it might be a little crumbly but press the dough into a disk and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes minimum.

For the mushrooms:
1. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat.
2. Add the mushrooms and herbes de Provence and saute until they have significantly reduced in volume (there should be around 1.5 cups once they are cooked).
3. Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat. Set aside.

1. Pre-heat oven to 350˚F.
2. Remove the dough from the fridge and roll between parchment or wax paper or onto a lightly floured surface until it’s about 12-13 inches in diameter.
3. Carefully place the pastry disk on a sheet of parchment if it already isn’t and place in a 10 inch pie tin. The parchment will stick out beyond the tin edges, that’s ok. The pie tin is just to make sure the quiche holds a circular shape!
4. Scatter the mushrooms over the centre of the pastry, leaving about 2-3 inches at the edge.
5. Fold the uncovered edges of dough up and around the filling, working your way around the quiche. You’ll end up with pleated edges that are a little rough and you might need to trim some uneven parts to ensure you don’t end up with a thick area of just crust.
6. Pour the beaten eggs over the mushrooms, making sure it does not “escape the pastry”.
7. Brush the edges of the quiche with a little egg wash.
8. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until the pastry is golden and the inside is set.

(Top four photos courtesy of Mardi Michels.)

Topics: Tuesday dinner | 19 Comments »

19 Responses to “Tuesday dinner with eat. live. travel. write.”

  1. Mardi (eat. live. travel. write.) Says:
    November 6th, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    Thank you so much for featuring me in your Tuesday Dinner series. I am glad that the pastry worked out for you and here’s the thing, the more you work at it the easier it is… (kinda like macarons which I NEARLY sent in as my Tuesday dinner…!)

  2. Lil Says:
    November 6th, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    Delicious! Any tips on how to substitute the recipe to make a tart that is gluten free? Recently starting to delve into gluten free baking as a friend is coeliac.

  3. Chez Loulou Says:
    November 6th, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    Great idea! I finally started making my own pâte brisée and was pleasantly surprised at how quick and easy it was to put together. Mushrooms are all over the markets right now and I imagine this would be wonderful with some cheese added as well…

  4. Sara Says:
    November 6th, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    This looks wonderful! I too share a certain love/hate with pâte brisée. I usually stick with an unfussy olive oil crust from Clotilde at Chocolate & Zucchini, which never fails. But, if les Petits Chefs can do it … Thanks for the inspiration to give it another go!

  5. katy Says:
    November 6th, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    I love the thought of having this for dinner–maybe even tonight (that is, if I can bring myself to stop checking the polls). I’m often afraid of making pastry by hand, but each time I force myself to do it, I’m thrilled with the results (even if it shrinks, I patch it up).

    Also, I appreciated the precision in this post, especially the fact that you timed yourself, Ann!

  6. Betty Says:
    November 6th, 2012 at 6:06 pm

    Thank you so much for this recipe. I love smaller quiches & have bought a few at the grocery. Since they are tres chere, I have been saving the tins to experiment. Now I have a perfect recipe to begin. Serendipity I believe.

  7. Voie de Vie Says:
    November 6th, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    And yet another recipe to try – those mushrooms look darn good!

  8. Lindsey Says:
    November 6th, 2012 at 10:36 pm

    This is like my dream meal! And good on Mardi for ‘whipping up’ the dough after work. I’m never that motivated but if Mardi can do all that she does (and super well!) and include time for a meal that’s fresh right from the start, I think I can too. Glad you gave the dough a try, Ann!

  9. CK Says:
    November 7th, 2012 at 12:22 am

    Mushroom tarts are a real favorite at this time of year — especially when accompanied by a nice glass of wine. What wine would pair best with this recipe do you think?

  10. Emma Says:
    November 7th, 2012 at 12:52 am

    Delicious and well done Ann! And you’ve found my weak spot, mushrooms and pastry. Also how wonderful that young fellows are being taught how to cook.

    It’s only in the last couple of years I’ve started making my own pastry and now I find it hard to go back to store bought although I still find it a bit challenging.

    And I find galettes quite forgiving, my pies and tarts tend to look messy but galettes always look wonderful.

  11. thyme (sarah) Says:
    November 7th, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    I think when we cook, we are so self-critical. Once I put a “creation” down on the table, I go through this long list of “I’m not sure about this…”, or “I think this could have come out better…”. Everyone rolls their eyes and says, “Mom, it is delicious.” I made a rustic mushroom galette just recently. I had the exact same thoughts about the dough. I, too, wish I had more time to play around with many dough recipes to find just that ONE recipe. I have my favs for: cornbread, brioche, cinnamon rolls…but don’t have my fav for: pie crust, galette crust, biscuits, etc.

  12. Ann Says:
    November 7th, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    Mardi — Thank you so much for sharing your recipe and — even more — for giving me the confidence to whip up pastry!

    Lil — I know there is a gluten-free flour substitute called Cup4Cup, but I don’t know if it’s available in France. Also, stay tuned — I’m going to be writing about two gluten-free recipes in the next weeks.

    Chez Loulou — Yum, some cheese and maybe a bit of cream in the egg to make a tender custard…

    Sara — I love Chocolate & Zucchini’s olive oil crust, too! So easy to make and I feel so virtuous when I eat it. I made this pâte brisée similarly, mixing all the ingredients by hand (literally) in a bowl. It made it surprisingly simple.

    Katy — I think it’s the messiness of pastry that intimidates me the most. I hate having sticky, floury hands. But Mardi’s method cuts down on dishes — and there’s no food processor to wash!

  13. Ann Says:
    November 7th, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    Betty — Yes! Quiche is really easy to make at home and, as Mardi says, it’s a great way to use up those lingering bits of veg or cheese. Let me know how it goes!

    Voie de Vie — I have to admit, I miss French mushrooms, especially fresh cèpes and buttery girolles. But the fresh shiitake were really meaty and flavorful, too — just different!

    Lindsey — I know, Mardi is seriously impressive and inspiring. And she’s right — pastry DOES get easier with practice. By the next time I see you, I’ll be whipping up pâte brisée in five minutes flat ;)

    Emma — Les Petits Chefs is a fantastic program, isn’t it? I love that these young boys are becoming comfortable in the kitchen. Pastry IS challenging, but good for you for persevering. I hope to see some of your galettes soon over on your blog!

    Thyme (Sarah) — Oh, I hear you, sister! I’ve actually started biting my tongue when I start criticizing my own cooking, and thinking of Julia Child who always said “never apologize.” As for pastry, I’m starting to learn what kind I prefer… I think I like a little whole wheat flour, but more experimentation is necessary.. . of COURSE! :)

  14. Shannon Says:
    November 7th, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    I don’t think I’ve ever in my life begun a sentence with “when I make pate brisee” because I am scared to death of the stuff. However, Ann and Mardi–between the two of you, I’m inspired. That mushroom tart is absolutely lovely and I am intrigued by the cornmeal in the recipe. My sense of humor seems to run in the 9-12-year-old boy range…so maybe this is the recipe for me :). Thank you both for such a wonderful post!

  15. Ann Says:
    November 8th, 2012 at 9:36 pm

    Shannon, the cornmeal gives a nice crunch. And if you can make caramel and use a candy thermometer (scary!) I KNOW you can conquer pastry!

  16. Shut Up and Cook Says:
    November 9th, 2012 at 5:20 am

    This looks beautiful!

    The Silver Palette has a pretty fool proof pate brisee that I like. It’s the Good Times cookbook. Let me know if you don’t have it and I’ll send it your way…or it might already be on my blog. I’ll go hunting!

  17. Sweet Freak Says:
    November 12th, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    Yum! I’m not a big mushroom person, but I love the look and sensibility of Mardi’s rustic tarts and quiche. Merci, Mardi!

  18. Ann Says:
    November 13th, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    Shut Up and Cook — If it’s not too late, I’d love to check out your pâte brisée recipe! I feel an entire post about the stuff coming on.

    Sweet Freak — Mardi is the rustic tart goddess — and a macaron goddess, too!

  19. Andi Says:
    December 1st, 2012 at 1:47 am

    I have never thought of quiche as a quick thing to make for dinner, but it really looks like you can make it real quick!

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