Battle (Trumpet) Royale

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! I’m very curious about family traditions and any interesting side dishes people had, so let me know what you all did this year.

Last year, Max and I were in Prague during Thanksgiving. We had moved there a couple months before and I was bewildered with the idea of making everything on my own, but we managed. We lugged a 15 lb turkey halfway across the city from the English butcher shop that catered to Americans and Brits, but it turned out great. I was particularly proud of our homemade stuffing, because I’d never made my own croutons before!

In spite of that, this year it was a relief that my parents were cooking all the important dishes. My father made the 20 lb turkey, the stuffing, yam fries, and roasted Brussels sprouts. My mother baked a chocolate pecan pie, an apple pie, and a lemon curd pie. She also made a mashed pumpkin side dish and took care of the cranberry sauce. Friends of ours brought a roasted root vegetable medley, wine, a pumpkin pie and the genuine feeling that we had a lot to be grateful for.

Well, those are all pretty traditional Thanksgiving dishes, and they have all earned their place at the spread. But I decided to make something based purely on aesthetics that you wouldn’t expect at a Thanksgiving table.

Martha Stewart’s Fungus Tart! Once I saw the picture, I was intrigued!

I thought it was so gorgeous, that I didn’t really care if it tasted good or not! I also didn’t care that she considered this a “Halloween” dish.

This tart is designed to be be reminiscent of a botanical print, and I think it does a lovely job. Doesn’t it look like an edible version of the picture below right?

Of course, as soon as I started to plan this out, I realized it wasn’t going to be as easy as I had hoped. For one, Trumpet Royale mushrooms, which are the big ones you see in Martha’s recipe, are hard to find! During a last minute shopping run to Dean and Deluca for all the things my mother needed, I discovered that not only is Dean and Deluca WILDLY overpriced ($.95 per lemon, for instance) but that they never stocked Trumpet Royales.

This meant an exciting trip alllll the way to the Bowery to be rescued by Whole Foods. They had the mushrooms I was looking for in abundance.

While I was on the Bowery, I also went into all of the big restaurant supply stores that they have up there. Some of them have great bargains on cookware! But unfortunately NONE OF THEM had a rectangular tart pan like the one Martha’s recipe calls for! I even checked out Williams Sonoma, but no luck. Oh well, circular tart pan it was.

As soon as got home, I also realized that because I was going to be using a circular pan, the volume of my tart was different. I know this is dorky, but I decided to do the calculation…

Martha Stewart’s pan: 8 x 11 inches, probably 1 inch high: 88 cubic inches

My circular tart pan: 10 inch diameter, 1 inch high: 78.5 cubic inches

To be honest, I didn’t actually adjust the recipe at all, and besides from having a lot of leftover crust that is still sitting in my refrigerator, it didn’t seem like a bulky recipe. In fact, I would say that if anything you could use more mushrooms and than recipe calls for–she specifies 5 shiitake mushrooms for the filling, but I wanted to finish off the bag I bought so I used 7.

If you have the time, I would recommend making your own crust from this Pate Brisee (pronounced pat brizzAY) recipe:

Combine in a food processor: 2 1/2 cups flour, 2 sticks of cold butter, sliced about 1/2 inch thick, a couple pinches of salt and 1/4-1/2 cup ice water. Don’t over process or it will get too tough. I ended up using closer to a half cup of water. After you process this (for no more than a minute, really), gather it into a ball, cut it in half, and wrap the pieces with cling film and put in the refrigerator for at least a half hour.

To save yourself a substantial amount of time/trouble, you could probably use a store-bought crust. In the summer I bake a lot of pies and I use this:  I love Pillsbury pie crusts and it makes baking a real snap. I’ve used them for chicken pot pie, too, and found that they complimented a savory pie just fine. It will save you a lot of time to buy this premade crust, but it probably won’t be exactly the same as if you made a TART crust on your own. Tart crusts are a little more cookie like than pie crusts, but honestly the time you save will probably be worth the texture difference.

Here is Martha’s recipe, below. In bold I have put my modifications/time saving tips.

Keep in mind you will need a food processor. You might be able to do this with a blender, but really you are better off with a food processor. Also keep in mind that this recipe literally takes HOURS.

Martha Stewart Fungus Tart: serves 6-8, or, if it’s Thanksgiving, 10-12

  • 1 disk Pate Brisee Or Pillsbury rolled pie crust
  • All-purpose flour, for surface
  • 7 large shiitake mushrooms, stems trimmed I used 9! I SCOFF AT YOU, MARTHA
  • 2 spring onions or scallions I used 3 because mine seemed small.
  • 1 Trumpet Royale mushroom I got a few of these and found them to be super tasty. The extra I just sauteed with the shiitakes
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 fennel bulb, chopped, fronds reserved
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (1/2 ounce)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper I used black pepper because I didn’t have white pepper. You can see that my tart is a little bit speckled because of this (and the nutmeg) but I don’t think it is a drawback.

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with a rack in middle, and another just below it. Turn out pate brisee onto a lightly floured surface. Roll out dough into a 10-by-13-inch rectangle, about 1/4 inch thick. Press dough into bottom and up sides of an 8-by-11-inch rectangular tart pan with a removable bottom. Using a paring knife, trim excess dough from sides. Transfer to freezer, and chill for 20 minutes. I did this ahead of time and actually just froze the pate brisee solid. Be very very careful with your removable bottom pan! It’s easy to forget to HOLD IT BY THE SIDES!
  2. Prick bottom of tart shell all over with a fork, line with parchment paper, and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake on middle rack until edges are just beginning to turn golden brown, about 25 minutes. Remove parchment and pie weights. Bake until bottom of tart shell is golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool completely before filling. Because mine was frozen solid, it probably took more like 35 minutes to get golden brown. But the plus side was that YOU DON’T NEED PIE WEIGHTS! When you have a frozen crust, for some reason it doesn’t do that awful bubbly thing. Probably even with 20 minutes in the freezer the pie weights are unnecessary.
  3. Meanwhile, slice 2 shiitake mushrooms, 1 scallion, and the Trumpet Royale mushroom 1/4 inch thick. Transfer sliced mushrooms and scallion to a baking sheet; drizzle with oil and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Roast on bottom rack until golden brown and tender, 20 to 25 minutes. I changed her words here to say “scallion” because I was so confused about needing an onion that wasn’t in the ingredient list!
  4. Chop remaining scallion (white part only). Heat butter in medium high-sided skillet over medium heat. Cook scallion and chopped fennel, stirring frequently, until onion starts to caramelize, about 15 minutes; season with salt. Chop remaining 5 shiitake mushrooms, and add to skillet. Cook until mushrooms release their juice and the mixture is soft and caramelized, 5 to 7 minutes. Let cool. Puree mixture in a food processor until smooth; transfer to a bowl. Chop the fennel into pretty small cubes if you can, or it will take forever to get tender. As it is this stage took a long time. I was so ready to go to bed!
  5. Puree cream cheese, sour cream, Parmesan, egg, nutmeg, pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a clean food processor until smooth. Spread fennel-mushroom puree over bottom of tart shell. Gently spread cream cheese filling over top of puree, making sure they don’t blend together. Arrange roasted mushrooms and scallion on top, and scatter a few fennel fronds over tart. Transfer tart pan HOLDING THE SIDES to a baking sheet, and bake until filling is set and crust is slightly puffed but not golden, 22 to 24 minutes. Let cool. Remember to put the fennel fronds on! I had mine saved in a plastic bag in the fridge and forgot until it was pretty much too late (I put them on anyway but they didn’t really sink in, the tart had already set). Also, the 22-24 creepily specific minutes is pretty over specific. I found that a few extra minutes didn’t ruin anything.
Okay, so I know you’ve been dying to see the results! Voila!
you are so jealous
This was so beautiful! As I said, I wasn’t that concerned with how it tasted–however I think it was quite good. I heard that it was “very rich” several times, but there was only a tiny sliver leftover. If you shy away from “rich” things, consider using no-fat or low-fat cream cheese and sour cream and cutting the parmesan down.
I’m really very glad I made this, in spite of how much work it was. If you are entertaining a bunch of vegetarians, this might be a good thing to make too (as long as you don’t end up eating all of it yourself!) However, if you are already going through a lot of effort to make a meal, this might be something that makes you pull out all your hair and go screaming through the streets.
An added bonus: I found out that Trumpet Royale mushrooms are great. They’re a lot cheaper than porcini mushrooms, but have a similar taste, if not a little more mild. I’m excited to start using them for more things!
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