Nigel Slater's Mushroom and Dill Tart is savoury right down to the Parmesan baked into its crust
Turn to it when you’re in the mood to bake from scratch and delight someone — even if that someone is you
“If I make a tart for you, you will know I love you,” writes Nigel Slater in A Cook’s Book. The recipe below comes from a chapter in the cookbook dedicated entirely to tarts. It’s a savoury one, from its mushroom, dill, and Parmesan filling, to the cheese baked right into its crust. Turn to it when you’re in the mood to bake from scratch, and when you want to delight someone — even if that someone is you.
Mushroom and Dill Tart
By Nigel Slater
For the pastry:
- 90 g butter
- 150 g plain flour
- 1 egg yolk
- 40 g Parmesan, finely grated
For the filling:
- 400 mL double cream
- 10 cm piece of Parmesan rind
- 300 g small mushrooms
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 15 g dill
- 3 large eggs
You will need a 22 cm tart tin with a removable base.
Cut the butter into cubes and rub it into the flour with your fingertips until it resembles coarse, fresh breadcrumbs. Mix in the egg yolk, lightly beaten, and the Parmesan, bringing the ingredients together into a firm ball of dough, adding a tablespoon or two of cold water if necessary. You can do this in seconds using a food processor.
Tip the dough onto a lightly floured board and knead for thirty seconds or so (no longer), shaping it into a ball as you go. Wrap in cling film or baking parchment and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
While the dough chills, make the filling. Pour the cream into a medium-sized saucepan, add the Parmesan rind and bring to the boil. Watch carefully, removing the cream from the heat immediately when it starts to boil, then cover with a lid and set aside. Cut the mushrooms into small pieces. In a small frying pan, warm the oil then fry the mushrooms for 4–5 minutes, until slightly sticky. Chop the dill, fronds and thin stalks, toss with the mushrooms and set aside.
Remove the dough from the fridge and tenderly roll into a disc large enough to line the tart tin. Press the pastry into the corners, patching it where necessary. Make certain there are no tears or holes. Chill for another 20 minutes, allowing the pastry to relax. Set the oven at 190°C and place an upturned baking sheet on the middle shelf to heat up.
Tuck a sheet of baking parchment or foil in the tart tin, fill with baking beans and slide into the preheated oven on top of the warm baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes, then carefully remove the foil and beans and return to the oven for a further 5 minutes until dry to the touch. Lower the heat to 180°C. Break the eggs into a bowl and beat gently, then add the cream (removing the Parmesan rind). Season with salt and pepper, add the fried mushrooms, then spoon into the tart tin and bake for 25 minutes until lightly set, the pastry golden.
Yield: Serves 6
Excerpted from A Cook's Book by Nigel Slater. Copyright © 2021 Nigel Slater. Published by HarperCollins Canada. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.