I don’t think there’s anyone who doesn’t love a pie! Pies are not only delicious to eat but it’s also wonderful to cook them for your loved ones. Sweet pies are just heavenly topped with cream or ice cream but the savoury ones are bursting with flavour too. Pies topped with mashed potato or with another layer of shortcrust pastry are just so satisfying. Not to mention tarts, quiches, turnovers, samosas and even pies made from pasta are all rich and comforting.
The tarte Tatin is named after the Tatin sisters who invented it and served it in their hotel as it’s signature dish. When you think of a tarte Tatin, one immediately thinks of the classic apple tart. But they are wonderful with other fruits as well. I have used a savoury version to highlight the manifold delights of this superb French classic. You can use any vegetable that you want or currently have in your pantry. I had a lot of mushrooms and decided to use it with caramelized onions. I used fresh button mushrooms and some dried shitake ones as well. The sweetness of the onions combined with the spices was perfect!
To speed things up, I cooked the mushrooms and onions in separate pans at the same time. I served this tart with a simple yoghurt dressing. Just mix Greek yoghurt with some crushed garlic, chopped fresh coriander/mint and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Puff pastry tastes great in this recipe as opposed to the traditional shortcrust pastry. Readymade puff pastry is very quick and easy. If you have unexpected guests and want to showcase your cooking skills, this dish will definitely do it.
PREP: 30 minutes COOK TIME: 60 minutes SERVES: 4-6
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp olive oil
500 g onions, sliced
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp dark brown sugar
400 g button mushrooms
4-5 dried shitake mushrooms
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp cumin powder
Salt to taste
250 g readymade frozen puff pastry
Wipe the button mushrooms gently with a clean, damp cloth. Cut them into slices and set aside.
Place the dried mushrooms in a small bowl. Heat 2 cups of water to boiling point and pour over the mushrooms. Cover with plastic wrap to stop the heat from escaping. Soak for 20 minutes.
While the mushrooms are soaking, heat a large heavy based frying pan and add 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in it. Add the onions and saute for about 20-30 minutes until very soft and translucent. Stir in the salt and pepper and keep stirring for another 5 minutes until the onions are golden and caramelized. Set aside.
Make the mushroom filling separately. Strain the dried mushrooms and preserve the water. It tastes wonderful in soups and even to just cook your rice or vegetables in. Chop the mushrooms. Heat the remaining butter and oil in another frying pan and add the button mushrooms and dried mushrooms. Saute for about 5-10 minutes until they soften and add the red chilli powder, salt and cumin powder. Mix well and cook until they are completely done. Mix the caramelized onions into the mushroom mixture. Cool completely.
Preheat the oven to 200C. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured work surface to a thickness of about 3 mm. Cut a circle that is slightly bigger than the diameter of the frying pan that you are going to use. Place the onion-mushroom mixture on the frying pan and lay the pastry over it, tucking the edges snugly over the filling, down around the inside of the pan. Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and golden. Remove from the oven and cool for about 5 minutes. Carefully invert the tart on to a serving plate or wooden board. Garnish with chopped fresh coriander and serve hot.