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Oyster Mushroom, Thyme and Chevre Tarts

Oyster Mushroom, Thyme and Chevre Tarts

6 (7-in.) rounds cut from thawed (or house-made) puff pastry dough
1 lb. oyster mushroom stems (reserve flowery caps for garnish)
3 minced shallots
3 oz. unsalted butter
fine sea salt, to taste
3 oz. heavy cream
15 sprigs fresh thyme
egg wash (1 beaten egg and a splash of water)
6 oz. fresh chevre, crumbled
extra virgin olive oil, as needed

1. Preheat oven to 450°F, with a baking stone in place.

2. Take the pastry dough and a parchment-lined baking sheet and form the disks into 5” flan rings, “settling” the dough into the corners of the rings. Working from the outside in, roll the overlapping dough until you can press the roll into the side of the flan ring, creating a thicker outer crust with a thin bottom. Chill until ready to use.

3. Separate the stems from the mushroom tops. Finely chop the stems. Mince the shallots and then sweat them in butter over medium heat. Once the shallots are soft and translucent, add the chopped mushrooms stems to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms brown a bit and all the liquid has evaporated. Season to taste with salt. Turn off the heat and stir in the cream. Coarsely chop 12 sprigs of thyme and add to the mixture. Set aside to cool.

4. Once the mixture is cool, assemble the tarts. Egg wash the rim of the pastry crust and put about 2 oz. of the mushroom mixture in the bottom of the chilled pastry circles, spreading it evenly.

5. Add 1 oz. crumbled chevre in the very center, leaving a ½” border of mushrooms visible. Toss the tops of the mushrooms lightly in olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt. Place these in the center of each tart on top of the goat cheese.

6. Bake tarts directly on baking stone. After about 10 minutes, the pastry dough will start to puff and may need to be pricked with the tip of a knife or a wooden skewer to release steam. Otherwise, the tart will keep expanding and blow up; you may need to prick it a few times at various points.

7. Rotate the stone and bake for another 10 minutes. Move to middle rack and bake 20 minutes, until golden brown and mushrooms have cooked down a bit.

8. Remover from oven and remove rings. Strip remaining 3 thyme sprigs of their leaves and sprinkle evenly over the tops of the tarts. Can be served at room temperature.

Recipe and Photo (credit: Baking By Hand: Make the Best Artisanal Breads and Pastries Better Without a Mixer by Andy & Jackie King, 2013, Page Street Publishing Co.)

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