Recipe Wednesday: Tarts and More Tarts

(Sorry this is late.  Last night, I got hijacked by a sudden and inexplicable urge to deep-clean my fridge.  Three hours later….)

So a couple of weekends ago, I went to–essentially–a medieval food symposium.  Friends of mine were cooking the various meals for the event, and I helped with the evening feast on Saturday.

Since I provided some of the recipes used for three of the meals, I wanted to take pictures of the finished products so I could add them to my cookbook.  In other words, I created more food porn.

There were a lot of dishes, and a lot of pictures, and I spent a fair amount of time trying to figure out how to organize them.  I finally decided to order them by type of dish, and to start with the tarts (since they were very photogenic).

Saturday’s lunch included two tarts I’ve made in the past, but which were made by my friend Gwen Cat (M. Cat Grasse) this time around.  They turned out very pretty:

Mushroom Cheese Tart

Mushroom Cheese Tart

 This used to be one of my favorite mushroom recipes ever, back when I could still eat mushrooms.  Here’s the recipe:

Mushroom Tarts

Mushrooms of one night are the best, and are small and red inside, closed above: and they should be peeled, then wash in hot water and parboil; if you wish to put them in pastry, add oil, cheese and powdered spices.

Item, put them between two dishes over the coals, and add a little salt, cheese and powdered spices. You can find them at the end of May and in June.
–Le Menagier de Paris, 1393

2 pounds fresh mushrooms
1 pound grated soft white cheese, such as muenster, mozzarella, or provolone
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon Poudre Fort (or a mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and black pepper)
Pinch of salt
Pastry for two pies

Wash and de-stem mushrooms.  Chop them coarsely and put them in a microwave-safe bowl.  Cook for 3 – 4 minutes on high.  Drain liquid.  (The original recipe says to parboil them, but I find this to be an easier method of slightly cooking the mushrooms.)

Stir in cheese, olive oil, and seasonings.  Set aside.

Place pie crust in 8” or 9” pie pans and flute edges.  Fill crusts with mushroom mixture, but do not overfill.  This mixture doesn’t cook down much.  Cook in a 400 degree F oven for 20-25 minutes, or until lightly browned on top.

Can be served hot or cold.  Makes two pies.

Notes:  These are always popular with mushroom lovers.  They freeze well and taste good either hot or cold (though I prefer them hot).

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Next, there were Brie Tarts:

Brie Tart

Brie Tart

These turned out extraordinarily well, cooked just right.  Here’s the recipe:

Tart de Bry (Brie Tart)

TART DE BRY. XX.VIII. VI.
Take a Crust ynche depe in a trape. take zolkes of Ayren rawe & chese ruayn & medle it & þe zolkes togyder. and do þerto powdour gyngur. sugur. safroun. and salt. do it in a trape, bake it and serue it forth.
–Forme of Cury

Or in modern English:

Take a crust inch deep in a trap, take raw yolks of eggs and cheese ruayn and mix it and the yolks together, and do thereto powder ginger, sugar, safffron and salt, do it in a trap, bake it and serve it forth.

I’ve seen a number of possible definitions of the word “ruayn,” in reference to the cheese used in the recipe.  The recipe is clearly called “Tart de bry,” but the word ruayn (according to goodcookery.com) refers to a cheese made in the autumn, which would be more solid than Brie.  But I’ve always just used Brie.

1/2 pound Brie cheese (bring to room temperature)
8-10 egg yolks , lightly beaten
1/8 teaspoon ginger, powdered
1 tablespoon sugar
1 pinch saffron
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 pie crust, 8-inch, uncooked

Cut or tear cheese into pieces about an inch square and combine with remaining ingredients (except pie crust).  Pour into pie crust and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until set and lightly browned on top.

Notes:  In order to keep costs down, I usually substitute 3-4 whole eggs for egg yolks in this recipe.  Using just the yolks yields a richer-tasting pie.

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Finally, from the Saturday night feast, as prepared by my friend John Newton, we have Spinach Tarts:

Spinach Tarts

Tarte of Spennedge

Tarte of Spennedge

Tarte of Spennedge
Boyle your Egges and your Creame togither, and then put them into a bowle, and then boyle your Spinnedge, and when they are boyled, take them out of the water and straine them into your stuffe before you strain your Creame, boyle your stuffe and then straine them all againe, and season them with suger and salt.

Good Huswife’s Jewell, Thomas Dawson, 1597

3 eggs
3/4 cup cream
1 1/2 cups spinach, cooked
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 pie shell, 8-inch, uncooked

Mix the eggs and cream together in a small saucepan.  Heat gently over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture begins to thicken.  Remove from heat.  Rinse the cooked spinach and drain, squeezing out as much liquid as possible.  Chop the spinach small and add to the custard mixture.  Beat together, stirring in salt and sugar.  Pour into prepared pie shell and bake at 425 degrees F for 25-30 minutes, or until set.

Note that the only seasonings called for are sugar and salt.  These freeze well and re-heat well.

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Next week, I think I’ll showcase some vegetable dishes.  Stay tuned!

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About sheilamcclune

Aspiring author, sharing the tidbits I've learned along the way.
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4 Responses to Recipe Wednesday: Tarts and More Tarts

  1. D. E. Atwood says:

    And now I’m hungry. And looking at these as all things that both I and Chick can eat, and thus I am saving this post in my Recipe tag on delicious because yeah. I want to cook.

    And clean out my fridge, but I can’t blame that one on you. :) That one’s been begging me to be done for a while and I think is getting attacked this weekend while everyone else is out of the house!

    • I’m pretty sure that if my house were a restaurant, the health department would have closed us down based on just the state of that refrigerator. But it’s much better now. Still don’t know what to do with all the butter, though….

      • D. E. Atwood says:

        You have lots of butter? Freeze it… it keeps forever that way. Or bake some lovely brown butter sugar cookies. Mm. It’s been a while since I’ve baked those. Not that I can actually EAT them, but I could bring them into work…

      • Yeah, for whatever reason, when I cleaned out the fridge, I found about nine pounds of butter. Some of that’s definitely going into the freezer, so when holiday baking time comes around, I’ll have a good supply available.

        Since I’m currently watching my calories, I’m not terribly inclined to bake cookies I shouldn’t be eating…. :)

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