When Brian and I had our class two weeks ago at Stone Turtle in Maine, one of the students was an active writer. Kathy Gunst is a fabulous cookbook author, with books of her own and co-authorship of the Stonewall Kitchen cookbooks. She appears on NPR on the Here and Now show from WBUR in Boston and heard on 65 stations across the county. And her website, www.kathygunst.com, is strikingly beautiful and filled with resources and ideas.
Kathy’s next book, Notes from a Maine Kitchen, will be published in September. If you can’t wait, and if you have spring ramps to enjoy, then here is the perfect preview. This tart will make you proud. Ordinarily , a tart should serve 6-8, but Kathy says 4-6. One taste will explain the difference.
Ramp and Mushroom Tart by Kathy Gunst
If you can find wild spring morels this French-style tart bursts with the flavors of the spring woods. Or use crimini mushrooms or your favorite variety of wild mushroom. Serve with a salad of spring greens and a lightly sparkling white wine.
For the Pastry:
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- a pinch salt
- 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, chilled, and cut into small pieces
- 1/3 cup ice cold water
For the tart:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large Vidalia onion, thinly sliced
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 8 1/2 ounces ramps, ends trimmed, and skin removed from the white bulb, with the bulb
- and greens chopped
- 7 ounces morels or crimini mushrooms, or wild local spring mushrooms, ends trimmed
- and thickly sliced
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup grated Gruyere cheese
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
In the container of a food processor whirl the flour and salt. Add the butter and pulse about 15 times, or until the butter is the size of coarse cornmeal. With the motor running add enough cold water until the dough just begins to come together and pull away from the sides of the machine. Remove the dough and place in plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour.
Make the filling in a large skillet. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil over low heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, for 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the ramps and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Add the remaining oil and the mushrooms and cook another 5 minutes, stirring once or twice. Remove from the heat and let cool.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, with a pinch of salt and pepper. Whisk in the cream and then stir in the two cheeses.
Remove the pastry from the refrigerator. Working on a well floured surface roll out the dough to fit an 11 X 8 inch rectangular tart pan or 9-inch round tart pan with a removable bottom. Trim the excess pastry off the edges and discard. Poke a few holes in the bottom and sides of the pastry with the tines of a fork. Chill.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Place the crust in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven. Raise the oven temperature to 400 degrees.
Pour the cooled ramp mixture into the egg mixture, stirring well. Place the filling in the prepared pastry and bake on the middle shelf for 30 minutes. Reduce the heat to 325 degrees and continue baking for another 20 minutes, or until the filling turns a light golden brown, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry. Let cool for a few minutes and then cut into serving pieces. Serve hot or at room temperature.
Excerpted from Notes from a Maine Kitchen by Kathy Gunst, to be published in September 2011 (Down East Books).