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Swiss Mushroom Tart: A Savory Alpine Delight

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Switzerland, renowned for its breathtaking landscapes and rich cultural heritage, also boasts a diverse culinary tradition that blends local ingredients with influences from neighboring countries. Swiss cuisine is celebrated for its hearty and flavorful dishes, often featuring fresh produce and artisanal cheeses. Among these culinary delights is the Swiss Mushroom Tart, a savory pastry that showcases the earthy flavors of mushrooms and the richness of Swiss cheese, offering a taste of Alpine comfort and culinary finesse.

Background and Origin

Mushroom tarts have a long history across Europe, with each region adding its unique twist to this versatile dish. In Switzerland, the Swiss Mushroom Tart, known locally as “Pilzfladen,” is a popular savory treat enjoyed throughout the country, particularly during the cooler months when mushrooms are abundant. This tart embodies Swiss culinary craftsmanship, using locally sourced mushrooms and a buttery pastry crust to create a dish that is both comforting and sophisticated.

Ingredients

The ingredients for Swiss Mushroom Tart typically include:

For the Pastry Crust:

  • All-Purpose Flour: 1 1/4 cups.
  • Butter: 1/2 cup (cold and diced).
  • Cold Water: 2-3 tablespoons.
  • Salt: A pinch.

For the Filling:

  • Mushrooms: 1 lb (about 450g) of mixed mushrooms (such as cremini, button, or porcini), thinly sliced.
  • Onion: 1 medium onion, finely chopped.
  • Garlic: 2 cloves of garlic, minced.
  • Cheese: 1 cup of grated Swiss cheese (such as Gruyère or Emmental).
  • Fresh Herbs: 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh herbs (such as thyme, parsley, or rosemary).
  • Olive Oil: 2 tablespoons.
  • Salt and Pepper: To taste.
  • Egg: 1 large egg, beaten (for egg wash).

Recipe

Step 1: Prepare the Pastry Crust

  1. Mix Ingredients: In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. Add the diced cold butter and rub it into the flour using your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  2. Add Water: Gradually add cold water, one tablespoon at a time, mixing gently until the dough comes together. Be careful not to overwork the dough. Form it into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat Oven: Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Step 2: Prepare the Filling

  1. Sauté Mushrooms and Onions: In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onion and minced garlic, cooking until softened and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add the sliced mushrooms and cook until they release their juices and become tender, about 8-10 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, and chopped fresh herbs. Remove from heat and set aside.

Step 3: Assemble and Bake the Tart

  1. Roll Out Pastry: On a lightly floured surface, roll out the chilled pastry dough into a circle about 12 inches (30 cm) in diameter. Transfer the rolled-out dough onto the prepared baking sheet.
  2. Add Filling: Spread the sautéed mushroom mixture evenly over the pastry dough, leaving a border of about 1 inch (2.5 cm) around the edges. Sprinkle the grated Swiss cheese over the mushrooms.
  3. Fold and Finish: Gently fold the edges of the pastry over the filling, pleating as necessary to create a rustic border. Brush the edges of the pastry with beaten egg to create a golden crust.
  4. Bake: Transfer the tart to the preheated oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown and crisp.

Step 4: Serve

  1. Cool and Garnish: Remove from the oven and let the Swiss Mushroom Tart cool slightly on a wire rack. Garnish with additional fresh herbs if desired.
  2. Slice and Enjoy: Serve warm as a main dish or slice into smaller portions for a delightful appetizer. Pair with a crisp green salad dressed with vinaigrette or enjoy on its own.

Serving Suggestions

  • Variations: Experiment with different types of mushrooms or add caramelized onions for added sweetness and depth of flavor.
  • Accompaniments: Serve Swiss Mushroom Tart alongside a glass of Swiss white wine or herbal tea for a comforting meal.

Conclusion

Swiss Mushroom Tart offers a delicious blend of savory mushrooms, aromatic herbs, and creamy Swiss cheese encased in a buttery pastry crust, showcasing the richness and elegance of Swiss culinary tradition. Whether enjoyed as a comforting dinner or served as an impressive appetizer, this tart captures the essence of Alpine comfort and culinary finesse. Embrace the robust flavors and warmth of Swiss Mushroom Tart and savor each bite as a tribute to Switzerland’s dedication to quality ingredients and timeless culinary techniques.

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Written by Robert Zelesky

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