This is going to be the start of a love affair between me and tarts. I just bought some mini tart pans, and they are so cute! (Sorry guys.) I’m pretty excited, and plan to make lots of tarts this winter, from savory to sweet. I broke in my tartlet molds with a delicious recipe from La Tartine Gourmande: Recipes for an Inspired Life. All of the recipes in this book are French-inspired and gluten-free. While I happily eat gluten – though still not a ton – I am equally as happy to find recipes that are grain and/or gluten-free. These tarts are a great substitute for anyone who can’t tolerate traditional flour, but don’t want to give up savory comfort foods.The recipe uses four 4 1/2-inch tartlet molds. I could only find 4-inch molds, so my batch yielded 7 tarts rather than the 4 according to the book. It’s a sweet rice, quinoa, and amaranth flour crust; pricey, but yummy. I think the most important thing to remember with gluten-free baking is to really stick to the recipe, or the dough, batter, etc can easily come out wrong. A lot of people recommend using a kitchen scale to weigh, rather than measure out in cups, your ingredients, as it is more accurate. I still just use cups, and this came out fine.
You’ll want to make the dough for the crust with time for at least an hour for it to rest in the fridge. You could also make it the day before.
Sweet rice, quinoa, and amaranth tart crust
- 1/2 cup (80g; 2 3/4 oz) sweet rice flour
- 1/2 cup (60 g; 2 oz) quinoa flour
- 1/2 cup (70 g; 2 1/2 oz) amaranth flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons xantham gum
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 7 tablespoons (100 g; 3 1/2 oz) unsalted butter, chilled and diced
- 1 small egg
- 4 tablespoons cold (ice) water, or more if needed
In a medium bowl, combine the flours, xantham gum, and sea salt. (You can use a stand mixer or beater if you have it, but I actually just used my hands.) Add the butter and mix on medium speed until crumbles form. Add the egg; mix again. Gradually add the water, a tablespoon at a time, and continue mixing until the dough detaches from the bowl and forms a ball. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least one hour before using. If you refrigerate it overnight, take it out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before using.
Mushroom & potato tartlets
- Sweet rice, quinoa, and amaranth crust
- 4 small or 2 medium red potatoes. (I used 2 small Peter Wilcox potatoes, which are purple on the outside and golden inside, and a 2″ Jerusalem Artichoke. Pretty much any soft, thin-skinned potato and mild potato-like vegetable would work.)
- 14 oz (400 g) mixed fresh mushrooms (I used local Shady Oak Organics oyster mushrooms and shiitake. I also have no idea how almost a pound of mushrooms could go into these tarts; I only ended up using half a pound, so no need to spend extra money on a full pound if you don’t plan to pile these super high!)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
- 1 small leek, white part only, diced
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- Sea salt and pepper (and to my friend Dan who uses coriander as frequently as S&P, why not throw a bit of that in too, if you have it?)
- a handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- 2 small eggs
- 4 tablespoons creme fraiche. (I used heavy cream instead; just what I had on hand.)
- Little bit of tasty cheese to crumble on top, such as: chevre, manchego, sharp cheddar, blue cheese, etc. It definitely needs the cheese. I made it without, and while still good, it lacked a bit of oomph that could only be made up through the addition of cheese, herbs, or a balsamic drizzle perhaps.
Roll and cut the dough to fit inside the tart molds. Arrange the dough inside each mold and using a fork, make small holes at the bottom. Prebake for 10 minutes at 350F: to do this, cover the dough with parchment paper, and top it with pie weights or something that will weigh it down, like dry rice or beans. Once you’re done prebaking, remove the weights, rice, etc and parchment paper.
Steam the potatoes (and Jerusalem artichoke if you’re using that, too) until cooked through, 15-20 minutes. Peels them and cut into 1/4 inch slices when they’re cool enough to handle.
To clean the mushrooms, just wipe them with a lightly damp kitchen towel to remove any dirt; don’t rinse them as this will damage the mushroom and is unnecessary. Then slice them up!
Heat the butter over medium heat in a frying pan, then add the leek and shallot to saute for 2-3 minutes, stirring, but not browning. Add the garlic and continue cooking for another minute. Add the slice mushrooms, seasoning them with salt and pepper (and coriander if you’re so inclined). Cook for 5-6 minutes, occasionally stirring, until the mushies are soft and the liquid is evaporated. Transfer to a bowl and mix with half of the chopped parsley.
In a separate bowl, beat the eggs with creme fraiche or heavy cream. Add salt, pepper, and the remaining parsley.
Divide the egg batter among each mini-tart, place the potato and Jerusalem artichoke slices on top, and bake for 10 minutes at 350F. Remove from the oven and top with the mushrooms and cheese, then bake for another 15 minutes.
These are great warm balanced with a plate of greens, or on their own. Just a mental note: if you plan to have these as leftovers, they taste MUCH better warmed up in a toaster oven than the microwave. Like anything that really needs an oven heat rather than microwave heat, these get a bit less exciting warmed up in the microwave.
And there you have it, super cute snacks, appetizers, or a meal!
P.S. I can’t help but mention this, because I’m over the moon excited and will use all the exclamation points I want!!!!!! In April, I’m taking a trip to Berkeley to intern in the Chez Panisse kitchen for a few days!!! It’s honestly a dream come true. I’ve wanted to visit the restaurant for years, and occasionally thought about how cool it would be to eat at the restaurant, let alone step foot in or work in the kitchen, but never really entertained the thought of actually interning there. Now it’s happening!!! I have a lot to do to prepare. Over the next few months, I’ll be working to sharpen my knife skills and overall work to be more confident in the kitchen, as I get ready for this ridiculously wonderful opportunity!! Stay tuned! : ) : ) : )