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Vegetarian and Vegan Wild Mushroom Tart

Updated on October 11, 2011
We made this tart for Halloween!
We made this tart for Halloween!

Time for Mushrooms and Funghi in Limousin

It is late October, the weather has been wonderfully sunny, it is warm, and then the rain came, lightly, and the mushrooms began to sprout. They cover the lawns of our chambres d'hotes, the road sides, the paths and, above all, the fields; this is Agaricus Campestris - the Field Mushroom. In England these were commonly found in the countryside, but modern agriculture, pollution, herbicides and fertilisers are to blame for their scarcity. Not so in Limousin the hidden heartland of France. Once famously 'behind the times' Limousin now finds itself at the forefront of new, work-with-nature farming methods. Here you will find meadows full of wild flowers in spring, roads edged with primroses and purple orchids, ponds lined with yellow flag iris, lakes and rivers full of fish, woodlands alive with animals, insects and birds. This is why we chose to live in Limousin.

You will need

  • 1 1/2 lbs of mushrooms
  • 2 onions
  • 1 or 2 tomatoes (optional)
  • One rounded tablespoon plain flour
  • An ounce of butter, margarine or a tablespoon of oil, plus oil for frying
  • about 1/2 pint of stock
  • salt and pepper
  • a little soy sauce, Pineau, sherry or similar (omit salt if using soy sauce)
  • Ready made pastry

This tart is suitable for vegetarians and vegans. Simply use margarine instead of butter.

Prepare and sauté the mushrooms

Remove the stalks and cut off the base if it is woody or has soil on it. peel only if the mushroom is old and the skin looks thick or untidy. Otherwise wipe the mushrooms with kitchen towel to clean. Don't wash in water.

Then chop the mushrooms roughly, put a little oil in a saucepan, and fry the mushrooms for a few minutes, add salt and pepper, stir and fry gently for about 5 minutes. If the mushrooms produce liquid, strain it off and use as stock.

Fry the onions
Fry the onions
Add the stock a little at a time
Add the stock a little at a time

Fry the onions

Gently fry the onions in a frying pan with an ounce of butter, margarine or a table spoon of oil until soft. Remove from the heat and stir in the flour. Then add the stock a table spoon at a time, stirring carefully in between, to produce a smooth texture. As the mixture becomes more liquid, more of the stock can be added at a time.

Then, gently reheat the mixture, stirring all the time until it thickens. Add a splash of Pineau or sherry, or a teaspoon of soy sauce.

Mix in the mushrooms

Stir the mushrooms into the mixture. Line a flan dish with the pastry. You can blind bake in the oven at as mark 6 for five to ten minutes until just firm; I didn't do this but sometimes the pastry can be a little soggy! Add the mushroom mixture. You can top with slices of tomato if you wish. You can use any left over pastry on the top of the tarte. See below.

Decorate with tomatoes
Decorate with tomatoes
top with swirl of pastry or strips arranged to form a lattice
top with swirl of pastry or strips arranged to form a lattice

The finished pie

Being thrifty and definitely on the rustic side, and always in a rush, I have used up the trimmings from the pastry by putting them on top in the form of a swirl, however, with a little imagination, you could decorate it more effectively! I made this for a halloween party, so, how about rolling out the pastry and cutting out a bat or two? Or making a scary face for children? You could cut out little hearts or stars, or just cut into strips to form a traditional lattice.

For a fall harvest festival how about crafting a few ears of corn. Of course you could always add a pastry mushroom or two!

Learn more about identifying mushrooms and fungi

Mushrooms like the sheep field but beware!
Mushrooms like the sheep field but beware!

A word of warning

Here at Les Trois Chenes guest house, we are surrounded by woodland and pastures and the sheep fields are liberally scattered with lovely pink and white mushrooms. However, just a word of warning if you gather mushrooms from fields where sheep have grazed. Don't eat these raw and make sure you cook the mushrooms well, as there is a danger of picking up liver flukes - nasty little parasites!

Our three star gite has three en-suite bedrooms and can accommodate 7 adults
Our three star gite has three en-suite bedrooms and can accommodate 7 adults | Source
Limousin is lovely in the autumn
Limousin is lovely in the autumn

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