Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Three cheese, mushroom and saucisson sec puff pastry tart

For many of us in charge of cooking for the holiday table, these days are anything but calm and relaxing. For some, they are filled with anxiety and frustration because, let’s not kid ourselves, having to cook for a large number of people is not a piece of cake no matter how experienced you are. And if you are a perfectionist? Well, then you really are screwed.

Being kind to yourself and letting go of the stress and the need to be perfect is key to enjoying the fruit of your labors. Besides, you are not doing this only for your guests, but for yourself too! And believe me, your guests are there for you, not for your food.

For me, the secret to surviving these frantic, crazy days of celebrations and dinner parties is to cook easy, tried and tested dishes that you know will satisfy your guests and that will not keep you captive in the kitchen for hours. One such dish is a savory puff pastry tart.

This one with three different kinds of cheeses, mushrooms and saucisson sec is really delicious. Earthy, sweet, salty, spicy, creamy, crisp and buttery, with flaky and crispy puff pastry, spicy and salty salami, rich and slightly tangy crème fraîche, earthy mushrooms with deep, umami flavor, and with each cheese —mild Brie, creamy Gruyère and intense Grana Padano— giving its own character to the tart creating an exquisite combination of flavors and textures.

I wish you all a Happy and Healthy New Year, with lots of tasty adventures.

Three cheese, mushroom and saucisson sec puff pastry tart

I used a variety of mushrooms (shiitake, chestnut, chanterelles, white and brown shimeji) because I enjoy the different textures and flavors they give the tart but you could use any kind of fresh mushrooms you can find.

You can use any other dry-cured pork salami if you can’t find saucisson sec with pepper (French dry-cured pork sausage).

For those of you living in Greece, you can substitute if you want the Gruyère with Greek Graviera, and the Grana Padano with Greek Kefoltyri. The flavors are not exactly the same but they are close.

Yield: 1 tart / 6-8 pieces

1 homemade or store-bought puff pastry sheet (about 270 g), trimmed to a 37 x 25 cm rectangle
1 red onion (about 100 g), sliced thinly
1 garlic clove, mashed
2 Tbsp olive oil
50 g Gruyère, finely grated
50 g Grana Padano, finely grated
125 ml crème fraîche, full-fat
1 medium-sized egg
Freshly ground black pepper
250 g assorted fresh mushrooms
Grated lemon zest, from 1 small lemon
3 fresh thyme sprigs, leaves picked
7-8 slices saucisson sec with pepper (or any other salami you prefer)

1 small egg, lightly beaten with a fork, for glazing the pastry

20 g Brie, cut into small pieces

A little olive oil, for drizzling on top of the tart
3-4 fresh thyme sprigs, to garnish

Special equipment: baking sheet, baking paper, pastry brush

In a small frying pan heat 1 Tbsp of the olive oil and sauté the onions over low heat, stirring frequently, until they are very soft, for about 8 minutes. One minute before they are done, add the garlic. Remove from the heat and leave to cool in the pan.

Place your trimmed puff pastry rectangle (37 x 25 cm) on a large piece of baking paper that is set on top of a baking sheet. Using a knife, lightly score a 3 cm frame around the pastry, being careful not to cut all the way down, and place it in the fridge.

In a large bowl, add the cooled onions and garlic, the grated Gruyère and Grana Padano, the crème fraîche, the medium-sized egg and a little black pepper and mix well with a spoon to combine. Place the mixture in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up.

Preheat your oven to 200°C.

Slice the mushrooms (if you’re using enoki and shimeji, you don’t need to slice them because they are very small) and add them to a large bowl together with 1 Tbsp of the olive oil, the grated lemon zest, the picked leaves from 3 fresh thyme sprigs, a little salt and black pepper. Toss well to mix.

Take the puff pastry and the cheese-egg-crème fraîche mixture out of the fridge and spread the cheese mixture evenly inside the frame of the pastry. Top with ¾ of the mushroom mixture (keep the rest ¼ of the mushrooms in the bowl) making sure to spread them around the pastry evenly. In between the mushrooms tuck in the saucisson slices.

Return the pastry in the fridge, for 10 minutes.

Note: I do this in order for the puff pastry to be super chilled before it goes in the oven to ensure that it puffs up correctly. Room temperature puff pastry doesn’t puff up as well as a very chilled one.

Brush the frame of the pastry with the beaten egg and place the baking sheet on the middle rack of the preheated oven. Bake the tart for about 30 minutes. After the initial 15 minutes of baking, scatter the rest of the mushroom mixture on top of the tart. Five minutes before the tart is ready, scatter the Brie pieces around the top of the tart.

The tart is done when the pastry has puffed up and has taken on a golden color, the filling has cooked and the cheeses have melted evenly.

Note: The reason I add some of the mushrooms after the tart has been baking for 15 minutes is because the filling puffs up and some of the mushrooms get buried inside it. By adding some of the mushrooms later, firstly you achieve different textures and secondly the mushrooms remain visible and your tart is more visually appealing.

Remove the tart from the oven, drizzle with some olive oil and garnish with 3-4 thyme sprigs.
Serve the tart immediately cut into pieces.


  1. Always inspiring, Magda. I just took a glance at your homemade puff pastry post as well and it's nice to know that the results I was getting along the way fell in line with your lovely photos.

    1. Thanks Tracy. Good luck with your puff pastry!

  2. Such a wonderful combination of flavors, Magda! Hope your 2016 started off well! xo

  3. Oh Magda, this tart looks like a piece of abstract art. A masterpiece. I cannot wait to give it a try. Καλή Χρονιά!

    1. Thank you so much! Καλή Χρονιά κι ό,τι επιθυμείς!