Whole Mushroom and Ham Tart
The inspiration for this savoury tart came from a gorgeous Auckland café called Little and Friday, which sadly is no more than a welcome daydream when I’m in Dunedin. So when I venture to the humid north a trip to Little and Friday is always on the cards. My first true love was the dizzyingly cheesy caramelised onion and feta tart, which is encased in a buttery-soft, wonderfully crumbly pastry that melts in your mouth. I’ve since branched out to the rural French classic Quiche Lorraine, which is equally tantalising. Don’t even get me started on the cakes. Oh, the cakes! Meticulously decorated hazelnut and chocolate Baci cakes stand alongside a mind-boggling selection of other sweet treats. Little and Friday’s donuts are famed, their cone-shaped lamingtons defy the rectangular prism convention, and their coffee is hot and strong. On my last visit my eating companion wisely selected a galette generously covered with whole roast tomatoes still on the vine! A galette is a rustic tart, with some recipes calling for sour cream or butter in the pastry dough. Because I get very busy doing important things like eating pineapple lumps in bed, I’ve opted for store-bought pastry sheets. Working with the idea of keeping vegetables whole, I’ve switched tomatoes for wide portobello mushrooms. Shaved ham adds smokiness and omits the need for salt.
Ingredients1 pre-rolled flaky puff pastry sheet, defrosted
8 large portobello mushrooms
8 cloves garlic, whole and unpeeled
3 tbs olive oil
3 tsp dried sweet basil
1/2 tsp rock salt, or regular salt
3 tbs onion marmalade / relish
200g shaved ham, preferably unbroken pieces
3/4 cup grated edam / a sharper cheddar / crumbled feta
Method01 | Preheat the oven to 200°C. Place the mushrooms in a baking dish stem-side up. Place a clove of garlic on each mushroom. Cover with the olive oil, rock salt, and dried sweet basil (dried thyme or oregano would also work well). Bake for 10 — 15 minutes, or until soft and juicy.
02 | Lay a sheet of greaseproof baking paper on a large oven tray and place the pastry on it. Fold all four edges inwards, pressing down to eliminate air bubbles, to create a 3cm frame around the outside.
03 | Spread the onion marmalade over the pastry. Layer the shaved ham on top, folding each piece like an accordion, and repeat to cover the entire sheet of pastry except the edges.
04 | Carefully transfer the mushrooms onto the tart, keeping the garlic in place. Sprinkle the cheese on top. If you place it in clusters beside the mushrooms, it will melt into heavenly pools of cheese. Mmmm.
05 | Bake the tart for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown and puffed up around the edges. Gently squeeze the now-soft garlic from its case onto each of the mushrooms. Allow to cool slightly before slicing.
Photo Courtesy James Stringer