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Time flies, it’s March, and we Avid Bakers are rising to our monthly challenge: a savory pastry from King Arthur Flour: Mushroom Cheddar Tarts. For me, a welcome change after all those holidays sweets (some sticky meringues are still uneaten!)
Like many other reviewers, I halved the recipe, since there was no big party to supply. Also, the best of all husbands left me to my fate, eating everything I bake by myself (to the detriment of my waistline), while braving a 29-hour flight and a rickety bus to visit Cambodia and Angkor Vat.
|Exploring ruins instead of helping me eat – I’m left alone with my tarts!|
I used my recently purchased mini-muffin pan (a bargain from HomeGoods, my home-away-from-home). Fellow bakers made regular muffin sized tarts with half the dough, but needed the whole amount of filling. For my tiny bite sized tarts half the filling was enough.
For the Hi-Maize Natural fiber in KA’s recipe I used the more interesting natural fiber, contained in Einkorn flour, and Parmesan cheese instead of cheddar cheese powder. Otherwise I followed the recipe.
|Don’t be intimidated by a crumbly dough – it will come together|
Except for one thing: “Cook’s Illustrated’s” secret weapon for a foolproof pie crust.
Instead of adding more (gluten enhancing) water to keep the crumbly dough from falling apart, I used Vodka!
The little tarts turned out really nice, and, left to the task of eating them alone, I “forced” myself to dine on half of the batch – a great sacrifice!
Next time (and there will be a next time!) I might try them with another vegetable, leek or tiny broccoli florets. And perhaps some fresh herbs, too.
MUSHROOM CHEDDAR TARTS (adapted from King Arthur Flour)
(24 mini tarts)
113 g/1 stick cold butter, cubed
120 g/1 cup all-purpose flour
34 g/1/4 cup Einkorn flour
28 g/1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/16 tsp. cayenne pepper
43 g/3/8 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 cup ice water
1-2 tbsp. Vodka (doesn’t taste, but moistens the dough without enhancing gluten formation)
57 g/1/2 cup diced mushrooms
1/2 medium red bell pepper, diced
1/2 tbsp. butter
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
3/8 cup milk or half-and-half (I used half-and-half)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1/8 tsp. dried thyme
28 g/1/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese, finely shredded
|A food processor makes cutting in the butter a cinch|
For the crust: combine dry ingredients in a food processor. Add butter and pulse until an unevenly crumbly mixture forms (with pea sized butter pieces.)
|Vodka – secret ingredient for a foolproof pie crust|
Transfer mixture to a bowl, sprinkle with cheddar and water, and, using a rubber spatula, mix and press, until dough is cohesive; add 1-2 tablespoons Vodka, if necessary (more water makes the dough less tender!)
|The dough will be crumbly and have a marbled look from the butter pieces|
Pat dough into a disk, wrap in plastic foil, and chill for at least 30 minutes.
For the filling: saute mushrooms and red pepper in butter until the water is evaporated and vegetables are browned. Set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, salt, pepper, and thyme. Preheat the oven to 400°F/200ºC.
|Using a 2 1/2-inch cookie cutter, cut rounds|
Roll dough into a 10″ x 13″/25 x 33 cm rectangle, and, using a round (2 1/2″/6 cm) cookie cutter, cut 24 rounds for mini-muffin pans (re-roll dough pieces, there will not be much leftovers.)
|A tamper is a great tool for fitting the rounds in the mini muffin cups|
Fit rounds into cups of mini muffin pan (using a tamper helps!)
Place 1 teaspoon each of sauteed mushroom mixture and shredded cheese into each cup. Then fill with egg mixture (about 2 teaspoons).
|Ready for the oven!|
Bake tarts for 18 – 22 minutes, until they are golden, and the crust browned.
Allow tarts to rest for 10 minutes before removing them from the pan.
Serve warm. (Or refrigerate and reheat for 10 minutes in a 375°F/190ºC oven.)
|Great for a party buffet, or just for Sunday brunch|
If you would like to participate in our monthly baking challenge, here is the link to the Avid Bakers.