Meat-Free Monday: Earthy Falvours

Wild Mush­room Tart with Wal­nut Short­crust Pastry



I got the recipe for the wal­nut pastry from a Gor­don Ram­say recipe in which he makes a goats cheese and mush­room tart. My sis­ters are for ever com­plain­ing about me using goats cheese, for some reason they do not like goats cheese, so I decided that I would swap the goats cheese for cream cheese and Parmesan. I was a little con­cerned (less for tex­ture and more for fla­vour) with swap­ping the goats cheese for cream cheese and Parmesan. Goats cheese com­bines beau­ti­fully with wild mush­rooms, their com­mon denom­in­ator of an earthy fla­vour com­pli­ments each other without over-powering. Together with the wal­nut pastry a per­fectly har­mo­ni­ous orches­tra of, earthy fla­vours is cre­ated My chal­lenge would be to make a tart that if not equal in har­mony, but in deliciousness .



To make my tart a little more inter­est­ing, and I sup­pose to mimic an earthy-like fla­vour, I decided that I would use rose­mary, lemon juice and nut­meg to fla­vour the tart. Rose­mary is a won­der­ful aro­matic, earthy herb that works beau­ti­fully with wal­nuts and when used in a cream-based filling its power­ful fla­vour becomes a beau­ti­ful del­ic­ate, subtle fra­grance. The nut­meg adds another level of t fra­grance and a nutty, earthy fla­vour. The lemon juice cuts through the rich cheese and cream and brings the tart to life.



The wal­nut pastry works bril­liantly with the the wild mush­rooms, but you can, if you like, use plain short­crust instead. The pastry is deli­cious, how­ever I found it quite dif­fi­cult to work with – it was very short and crumbled very eas­ily. I served the tart with a side salad and found the cherry toma­toes and olives in the salad paired beau­ti­fully with the fla­vours in the tart. This tart is best served straight from the oven, how­ever (and I cringe as I write this) they do re-heat quite well in a microwave.

p.s. Please excuse the sac­ri­le­gious cooking/re-heating pastry faux pas.

Wild Mush­room Tart  with Wal­nut Short­crust Pastry:



For the wal­nut pastry


200g plain flour, sifted

100g finely ground walnuts

Pinch fine sea salt

100g cold unsalted but­ter, diced

1 medium egg, lightly beaten

1–2 tbsp whole milk, to bind


For the filling


25g unsalted butter

2 gar­lic clove, finely chopped

1 small to medium onion, finely chopped

300g mixed fresh wild mush­rooms
, sliced

table­spoon of chopped fresh rosemary

½ to 1 tea­spoon of nut­meg (depend­ing on your taste)

juice of half a lemon

zest of a whole lemon

2 large free-range eggs

200 g cream cheese

¼ cup of grated Parmesan

125 ml double cream

salt and pep­per,  to taste




To make the pastry, put the flour, wal­nuts and salt into a food pro­cessor and pulse for a few seconds. Add the cold diced but­ter and whiz until it resembles bread­crumbs. Tip in the egg, and pulse until the mix­ture comes together to form a dough (add a little milk if neces­sary). Tip the dough on to a floured sur­face and knead gently. Wrap in cling film and chill for 30 minutes.

Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured sur­face to about the thick­ness of a R5 coin, then use it to line a 23cm tart tin with a remov­able base. Press the pastry into the edge of the tin and leave a little excess hanging over the edge. Chill for at least another 30 minutes.

Mean­while, pre­pare the filling. Melt the but­ter in a fry­ing pan, add the gar­lic and onion and sauté for 3–5 minutes, until they begin to soften. Add the rose­mary , nut­meg and mush­rooms and some salt and pep­per, and fry over a high heat for 4–5 minutes until any mois­ture they release has been cooked off. Sir in the lemon juice and zest, remove from the heat and leave to cool.

4. Pre­heat the oven to 190C. Line the pastry with foil and fill with bak­ing beans. Blind bake for 15–20 minutes 
until the sides are lightly golden. Remove the foil and beans and return to the oven for 5 minutes more until the base is golden and cooked. Remove the pastry case from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Using a sharp knife, trim off the excess pastry to the rim. Reduce the oven to 170C.

5. Place the eggs, cream cheese, Parmesan and cream in a bowl and beat together until smooth. Sea­son well and pour the mix­ture over the base of the tart. Top with the sautéed mush­rooms and onion and bake for 20–25 minutes until the filling is just set and the top is golden. Remove the tart from the oven and leave to cool for a few minutes before unmould­ing. Serve with a side salad.


  1. This sounds won­der­ful! I love mushrooms!


    Comment by Pinkpolkadot on June 27, 2011 at 8:24 am

  2. Won­der­ful pho­tos — again! I look for­ward to try­ing this.
    I like the idea of reheat­ing pastry suc­cess­fully (even if it sounds sac­ri­le­gious) as it is not always pos­sible without pastry going too crisp or soggy.


    Comment by Maryon on June 29, 2011 at 12:57 am