My Individual Potato and Mushroom Tortes were inspired by a recent lunch I had at The Lynn on Bryant in Minneapolis. I have visited this new, little restaurant twice in the past week (Oh-so-good!) If you live in the Twin Cities, or if you are visiting, you must go. First time there, I had a breakfast of soft boiled eggs and toast batons. And most recently for lunch, I ordered The Lynn's Potato and Mushroom Torte.
I'm a stickler when it comes to pastry crust -- there are so many bad crusts out there! But everything about this "torte", from the crust to the filling, was perfect. Perfect enough for me to come back home to my own kitchen and start recreating the lunch I had just eaten.
I baked four individual tortes in 3 3/4-inch tart pans, but a single 9- to 10-inch tart pan can be substituted. NOTE: The only change, if using a larger tart pan, would be to increase the mushroom filling by 1 1/2 times the amount -- 12-ounces of cremini mushrooms instead of the 8-ounces I used to fill the four individual tortes. Adjust amount of other ingredients in the filling accordingly.
Each torte has a rich, buttery double crust with a layer of mashed Yukon Gold potatoes -- made with a healthy combination of olive oil and buttermilk -- and a disk of goat cheese pressed into the center. The final layer of finely-minced, sherry mushrooms is topped off by another round of flaky pastry.
And there is nothing I would change in my version of this delicious vegetarian torte. The little, individual servings would be spectacular on a spring luncheon or brunch menu. I made all of the components the day before baking, making assembly the day of much less time-consuming.
• 2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 10 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cubed
• 1 large egg, beaten to break-up yolk
• Ice water, if needed
For the Mushroom Filling:
• Extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 large shallot, finely chopped
• 8-ounces cremini mushrooms, finely diced ( see NOTE above)
• 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
• Dry sherry
• Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
For the Potato Filling:
• 1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes
• Extra-virgin olive oil
• Kosher Salt
• 4 disks of goat cheese, sliced 1/2-inch-thick (6 disks if making one large torte)
• Extra virgin olive oil (I used Nicholas Alziari Nicoise Olive Oil. Any olive oil with a mild, buttery flavor would work well here)
• Kosher salt
• 1 egg, lightly beaten
TO MAKE the CRUST:
1. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the flour and salt briefly. Add the cubed butter and pulse, in short bursts, until the size of small peas. Add the egg and pulse. If the dough does not start to come together, add ice water while pulsing, one teaspoon at a time. (I added 3 teaspoons of ice water to my dough before the dough started to come together.) Do not over-process.
2. Transfer the dough to a large sheet of plastic wrap, flatten into a large disc, wrap completely in plastic and place in refrigerator to chill at least 2 hours.
TO MAKE the MUSHROOM FILLING:
1. Drizzle olive oil onto a skillet and warm over medium heat. Add the shallots and mushrooms; cook, while stirring occasionally, until the shallots are translucent and the mushrooms begin to soften.
2. Stir the dried thyme into the mixture, then add a generous splash (to your liking) of the dry sherry. Continue to cook and stir over medium-low heat until most of the moisture has evaporated. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper and remove from the heat. Transfer to a container, and when it has cooled, place container in refrigerator until assembly.
TO MAKE the POTATO FILLING:
1. Place the potatoes in a pot of cold water and bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat to medium and simmer until tender. Drain. When cool enough to handle, peel the potatoes and return to the pot.
2. Over low heat, gently mash the potatoes and add a good drizzle of olive oil, then buttermilk to achieve a somewhat creamy consistency. Add salt to taste.
3. Transfer the mashed potatoes to a container and cool to room temperature; store in refrigerator until assembly.
PREHEAT OVEN to 425˚F
1. Divide the dough into eight wedges (If making one large torte, divide dough into two pieces). Roll one wedge in-between two pieces of plastic wrap or waxed paper, lightly dusting the dough on both sides with flour. Roll dough into a disk 1/8-inch thick. Transfer dough to a tart pan and gently press into the pan. Do not stretch the dough. Using the rolling pin, trim the dough along the top edge of the tart tin. Place tin in refrigerator to keep cold and continue to line the remaining tart tins with dough.
2. In a small bowl, gently whisk an egg. Set aside.
3. Take the chilled mashed potatoes and fill each tart shell half full (see photo). You will not need all of the mashed potatoes. Press a disk of goat cheese into the center of each mashed potato filling. Divide the reserved mushroom mixture evenly between the tart tins and gently spread to cover the mashed potatoes. Sprinkle each torte with a little kosher salt, then drizzle each with about 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil.
4. Roll the remaining wedges of pastry dough to top the tortes. Using a drinking straw, stamp a little hole in the center of the rolled dough (or use a sharp knife to make a couple of small slits once the top dough has been placed over the filling). This will allow steam to escape while baking. Brush the top edge of the dough in the tart pans using the reserved beaten egg. Place the rolled dough on top, centering the small stamped hole. Gently press the dough against the egg-brushed edge of pastry in the tart pan and using the rolling pin, trim the torte of the excess pastry dough.
5. Place the tortes on a jelly-roll pan and slide onto the middle shelf of the pre-heated oven. Bake for approximately 35 minutes or until the dough is golden. Remove from oven and transfer tortes to a rack. Allow to cool briefly, then unmold and serve with a green salad.
* I ate a left-over, refrigerated Potato and Mushroom Torte, out-of-hand this morning for breakfast... and it was still delicious!
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