Look at the amazing colours in the trees and on the ground as the leaves are falling. It is quite possibly my favourite season.
I really enjoy going for a long walk and observe the nature getting ready for Winter while I take photos.
It is getting quite chilly but I find it quite rewarding that after one of those long walks in the cold, I can come back home and tuck in a delicious seasonal meal: a beautiful wild mushrooms or butternut squash risotto, a hot boeuf carottes (beef and carrots stew) or a warm dessert made with apples or pears.
I had brought back some Comté cheese with me and I really wanted to use it in a recipe. I find this cheese quite adapted to the season because of its nutty flavour.
Comté is a wonderful cheese for gratins, croque-monsieurs or just on its own. I use it quite often actually as I realised I could find it easily in Dublin.
I decided to also use mushrooms as they are perfectly in season. I have never been to a cueillette des champignons (mushroom picking) but I am sure some delicious wild mushrooms would be perfect for this recipe. I used white mushrooms but brown ones are nice too and easy to find. The ones I got are Irish as I buy as much as I possibly can Irish products (I find it a bit silly to buy something that comes from the other side of the world when it is produced here also; I was a bit worried when I found some New Zealand apples in a shop recently...).
And to make the whole recipe a lovely earthy, nutty and Autumnal dish, I made a thyme crust to blend the flavours well.
The mushroom and Comté tarlets are really nice for a brunch or as a starter with a little side of salad.
Ingredients (for 6 to 8 tartlets, depending on the size - the molds used here have 10cm diameter, so I made 6 tartlets)
Thyme shortcrust dough*
- 200g sifted gluten free flour (the blend I use contains rice, potato, tapioca, maize and buckwheat flours, nothing else added), plus extra flour for rolling the dough.
- 100g chilled diced unsalted butter
- 50ml cold water
- 2 tbsp dried thyme
- pinch of salt
For the filling**
- 400g sliced mushrooms
- 100ml fresh cream
- 2 finely chopped garlic cloves
- 10g unsalted butter
- 60g shaved Comté cheese
- pepper (for seasoning)
1. Let's start with making the dough! It needs to rest for at least one hour in the fridge before use so it is better to make it in advance.
Put the gluten free flour, the butter and salt in a large bowl. Mix with your fingers until you get a fine crumb (if you are lucky enough to have a food processor, you can do that with it; I do not so fingers it is!).
Add the dry thyme and mix together. Make a well in the centre and pour in the water. Knead the ingredients together quickly, form a ball and wrap it in clingfilm. Leave to rest in the fridge.
2. After one hour, take the dough out. Throw a handful of gluten free flour on a large flat surface. Knead the dough gently with the heel of your hand. Roll it out (it is a delicate pastry, do not be too abrupt). It should be 2 or 3mm thick.
Cut circles that are slightly bigger than the tartlets molds, and line in the molds. Push the sides out lightly with your fingers and remove the excess on top. Gently prick the bottom of the dough with a fork.
Leave in the fridge while you make the mushroom part.
3. Preheat the oven to 200ºC.
Put a large frying pan over a medium heat and place the butter in it.
When the butter sizzles, add the garlic and the sliced mushrooms and saute them for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the cream and stir, leave for 2 to 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the pepper, stir well.
Let it cool down for 5 to 10 minutes (if you were to put it straight on the dough, it would melt it a bit if it is too hot).
Take your molds with the dough in it out of the fridge.
Divide the mushrooms between the tartlets, then add the Comté cheese on top.
Put on the middle shelf of the oven and let it bake for 20 minutes.
When it is ready, leave it to cool down for a couple of minutes and unmold delicately.
Serve with a nice watercress salad for example.
* If you have some dough left, you can freeze it or use it for a small vegetable crumble.
** You probably noticed I only use salt in the dough in this recipe. That is because I prefer to let the salt already included in the cheese do its job with the mushrooms.